Stevia, A Natural Sugar
Stevia comes from a plant that originated in
South America and was used by the locals as a sweetener for mate
tea. In the 1960ís, Japan banned many
because the government felt they were unsafe for long-term human
Stevia was introduced there in 1970 and has now
become one of the largest selling natural
sugar substitutes in Japan.
Japan has done extensive safety studies on this sweetener and has
found that is it safe for human consumption.
Humans have safely used Stevia for a very
long time compared with most other sugar substitutes and
artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, many products made
with this sweetener have a
slight licorice aftertaste, which some people find unpleasant.
Luckily, there is now a version that has been taste corrected so
that it has no strong after-taste.
Is Stevia Safe?
The FDA has approved stevia as a food
supplement/additive but not as a sweetener. This seems to be a
political issue with the FDA because companies producing
sugar substitutes feel stevia will compete with their
Because no one company or organization is willing to
put up the millions of dollars it would cost to get approval from
the FDA, this great sugar substitute is not approved in the US even
though it has been approved by many other countries and has been
safely used for many years. A few of the countries that have
approved stevia include: Japan, China, Germany, Israel and