Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FDA Approves Two Stevia-based Sweeteners

At a glance this may look like good news, but here is the inside scoop on the implications. The FDA has approved two new Stevia-based sweeteners developed by Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo. TruVia and Purevia were both approved by the government agency and labeled 'generally recognized as safe'. What they will not tell you though is that these sweeteners do not use the whole Stevia plant, both products use rebiana, an extract from the stevia plant. No one has consumed just the active ingredient rebaudioside A for any length of time to be able to tell what might happen and what the side effects are. On the other hand, this can't be as deadly as aspartame.

So while this is good news for those seeking a more natural sweetener, it really is just the tip of the iceberg. At the end of 2007 the FDA declared natural Stevia as an 'unsafe food additive', so why would they all of the sudden change their mind? Because what got approved is not the natural Stevia sweetener but an alternative derived from Stevia that is, of course, produced by two huge corporations and already has marketing labels (can you smell the money?)

If you are addicted to all things sweetened with aspartame and want to make a 'healthy' move to Stevia, I would advise solving the addiction to everything sweet problem first. The rate at which Americans consume both naturally and artificially sweetened products is mind boggling to me.


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