I’ve been watching my use of artificial sweeteners for about 3-5 years now. When I stumbled upon an alternative called Stevia, I decided to do research on it. Being purely natural, and not being invented in the last 10 years, I decided to give it a shot. This was 3 years ago, and I still use it for nearly everything.
Stevia is a white powder substance that is made by taking the leaves of the S Rebaudiana (and many others, depending on where it’s from) after being cooked down and ground out. (to put it blunty) It’s a very sweet smelling powder, and only requires approximately 1/40th of the amount of sugar used. There are upsides to Stevia that go beyond simply being an alternative to sugar, sucrolose, aspertame, etc. Stevia has been found to cause an enhanced glucose tolerance, increased insulin sensitivity, along with improving metabolic functions in certain ways to help stave off obesity. While never the end-all-be-all of remedies, there are no silver bullets to such a thing aside from the obvious.
The FDA has never ran tests on it’s own accord on Stevia since they are paid by manufacturers to perform these tests. This for the longest time meant that it was not legal to sell Stevia in the United States. However, later on a change was made through coersion of the FDA to give Stevia the status of “dietary supplement” since no FDA testing is performed on such products.
Coca-cola and Pepsi now have a stake in the Stevia market, with Truvia & PureVia. The FDA allowed Rubiana (the extract of Stevia) for these products, however still do not allow the full use of the Stevia plant.
Since Stevia has become more widely accepted, more stores are starting to house the wares for the informed consumers. Lately, walking into Fresh & Easy marketplace in my area, I found Stevia sold beside every other alternative to sugar. The difference in this was that it was marketed as Stevia, and not a brandname to hide it. This is a huge step, and perhaps will make life easier for myself in the future to get it without spending large amounts of money.