I’ve always been a fan of stevia. Back in 1997, a friend introduced me to it and I’ve been using it in my diet ever since.  Stevia has been enjoying a great consumer demand lately, which has both good and bad effects.  The good news is that many more people are benefitting from stevia’s numerous health virtues.  It truly is one of the healthiest sweeteners around, with no calories, no effect on blood sugar levels, and no negative health effects.  Numerous studies have even shown that it reduces high blood sugar, making it completely safe for diabetics.

All of this goodness is the reason I’ve always used stevia in my Dee’s Natural muffins home recipe.  Back in 2006, when I wanted to produce the muffins commercially, stevia had not yet received its GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status by the U.S. FDA.  So I had to use white grape juice instead.

That was then, this is now…

In 2008 Wisdom Naturals Brands was the first company to obtain GRAS affirmation for their Sweet Leaf Stevia® Sweetener, and it is now available for food manufacturers to use in ready-to-eat products.  They are also the only company that extracts the sweet compounds (called glycosides) from stevia leaves in a completely natural way, using only a cool water process and absolutely no chemicals (many other companies extract the glycosides using alcohols).  Finally, I’ve been able to officially produce my commercial muffins the way I’ve always wanted to–using Sweet Leaf Stevia® as my preferred sweetener.

If you’ve heard negative information about stevia, such as contraceptive concerns, growth stunting, or cancer causing activity, please know that those few studies were either flawed in their protocol or their results have not been able to be reproduced.1  The inability to reproduce data using the same protocol indicates that the findings are not sound, or that more studies are needed to validate the findings.  More recent studies have established the safety of stevia. 2,3   In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies of stevia extracts conducted on animals and humans, and concluded that “stevioside and rebaudioside A are not genotoxic in petri dishes or in animals.4  The WHO also found no evidence of carcinogenic activity from the use of stevia. The report also noted that not only is stevia safe to consume, it has also shown some evidence of signficiant health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and improving diabetes, although more studies are needed to determine proper dosage.

The WHO’s Joint Experts Committee on Food Additives has approved an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of steviol glycosides of up to 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which is the amount of stevia that is considered safe for an individual to consume daily over the course of a lifetime.5 This translates into 12 mg/kg body weight per day of steviol glycosides, which are the sweet tasting components of stevia leaf extract used in foods and beverages. This means that a 150-pound  person can safely consume 816 mg of stevia leaf extract every day over his or her lifetime without any adverse health effect. To put this amount into perspective, the amount of stevia leaf extract in Vitamin Water Zero Glow sold by The Coca-Cola Company in the U.S. is 60 mg per twelve fluid ounce serving.  Furthermore, iIf one were to replace all added sugars in the typical American Diet (131 grams) with an equivalent amount of stevia extracts to give the food the same sweetness, less than 436 mg of steviol glycosides would be required, which is well below the established Acceptable Daily Intake.

The type of stevia that we used in Dee’s Naturals Muffins is a dry extract.  In my home use, I personally prefer to use the liquid extracts.  Some people have asked how green stevia leaves are made into clear extracts and white powders.  The answer comes from Jim May himself, the founder of Wisdom Naturals and SweetLeaf Stevia:

The stevia herb is green because, like all green plants, it contains chlorophyll. The stevia leaves are soaked in cool water and over a period of soaking time, all the nutrients are extracted. They then use a series of filters of various molecular pores (sizes) which can extract various compounds and separate them. They end up with the four most desirable stevia glycosides, the sweet compounds in the leaves.   When they are separated, the remaining product is a white powder because the chlorophyll has been removed. No bleaches or chemicals ever touch the product.  The powder is then blended with inulin, a natural plant fiber from chicory root.

When you see this type of stevia listed as an ingredient on a food product, it will say “Stevia” or “Stevia Powder.”  This is not to be confused with other stevia derivatives called “Rebiana”, which is a manipulated stevia compound that is produced through a chemical reaction with only one of the stevia glycosides.  Rebiana is not true stevia, even though that is what the public has been led to believe.  Rebiana is part of the sweeteners called Truvia and Purevia, which are not healthy sweeteners in my book.

Sources:

1. http://www.stevia.net/safety.htm

2. Goyal, S. K.; Samsher; Goyal, R. K. (Feb 2010). “Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review”. Int J Food Sci Nutr 61 (1): 1–10. doi:10.3109/09637480903193049. PMID 19961353.

3. Ulbricht, C.; Isaac, R.; Milkin, T.; Poole, E. A.; Rusie, E. et al. (Apr 2010). “An evidence-based systematic review of stevia by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration”. Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem 8 (2): 113–27. PMID 20370653.

4. Benford, D. J.; DiNovi, M., Schlatter, J. (2006). “Safety Evaluation of Certain Food Additives: Steviol Glycosides” (PDF). WHO Food Additives Series (World Health Organization Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)) 54: 140.

5. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on food additives, Sixty-ninth Meeting. World Health Organization. 4 July 2008.

 

19 Comments
  1. Hello great website! Does running a blog such as this require a great deal of work?
    I have no expertise in programming however I was hoping to
    start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you have any recommendations
    or tips for new blog owners please share. I know
    this is off topic but I just needed to ask. Cheers!

  2. Hi my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, great
    written and include approximately all significant infos. I
    would like to look more posts like this .

  3. I visited many web pages but the audio quality for audio songs current at this site
    is really fabulous.

  4. What i do not realize is in reality how you are now not really much
    more smartly-preferred than you may be now.

    You are very intelligent. You recognize therefore considerably in relation to
    this topic, produced me for my part believe it from so many various angles.

    Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved until it’s one thing
    to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs great.
    All the time care for it up!

  5. Asking questions are in fact pleasant thing if you
    are not understanding anything entirely, however this post offers nice understanding yet.

  6. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your blog.

    You have some really great articles and I feel I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please blast me an email if interested. Kudos!

  7. Hola! I’ve been reading your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you
    a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

  8. Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue regarding this piece of writing here at this webpage, I have read all that, so at
    this time me also commenting here.

  9. If you are going for best contents like I do, just visit this site
    all the time for the reason that it presents quality contents, thanks

  10. I just like the valuable information you supply for your articles.

    I’ll bookmark your blog and check once more right here frequently.
    I’m rather certain I’ll be informed many new stuff proper right here!

    Good luck for the following!

  11. This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  12. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog based upon on the same topics you discuss and
    would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  13. Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and
    I’m impressed! Very helpful information particularly the ultimate section :
    ) I deal with such information much. I used to be looking for this particular information for
    a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.