In the News
Vitamins & Minerals
A: Stevia is a plant-based sweetener, obtained from a shrub native to Paraguay and a member of the chrysanthemum family. It reportedly has no negative effects on general health or organ function. It does not affect blood pressure, has no effect on blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, and has no adverse effects on reproductive health or the health of children.
As with all herbal extracts, products may vary widely, particularly as there are more than 200 varieties of the stevia plant. The makers of one of the new products (Truvia™) claim their proprietary process for isolating rebiana, the extract from the mother plant results in a superior sweetener without the aftertaste common to many stevia products. Still, the sweetener tastes best when added to citrus drinks; a winning cola formulation sweetened with rebiana has yet to be discovered.
During the extraction and isolation process of rebiana, the product has to survive a multitude of processes to arrive at its final form as a natural sweetener. So while rebiana may be considered by some to be a cut above wholly artificial sweeteners, whether it will be fully embraced by all as a natural sweetener remains to be seen.
Food for thought
When thinking about sugar alternatives, consider these points.
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