Free Stevia: wie gesund ist Stevia? > als Nahrungsergänzungsmittel

Environmental Nutrition, Feb 2000, page 8:

Natural, Low-Calorie Stevia: How Sweet It Is

Just a pinch of stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) on your tongue will more than explain why this plant is called sweet leaf or sweet herb. Native to Paraguay and now cultivated largely in Mexico, Canada and China, stevia is accepted as a low-calorie sweetener in several countries. In the U.S., however, stevia can only be sold as a dietary supplement. It sweetened herbal teas until the Food and Drug Association banned its import in 1991 as an unapproved food additive. Despite petitions requesting approval, the FDA maintains it has not received persuasive enough evidence to demonstrate stevia´s safety.

What lt Might Do: The Guarani Indians of Paraguay reportedly used stevia leaves to sweeten mate (a bitter-tasting beverage) and to treat diabetes and high blood pressure. In Japan, stevia extract is a common ingredient in soda, candy, gum, ice cream, picles and baked goods. Claims that stevia helps regulate blood sugar have not been validated.

How lt Works: Stevioside is the primary compound that gives stevia its sweet taste. It is about 300 times sweeter than table sugar. Seven other sweet compounds, including rebaudioside, have also been isolated from stevia.

If You Take: liquid and powdered stevia extracts of differing sweetness are available in health food stores and can be added in small amounts to cereals, yogurt, fruit salads, coffee and tea. Stevia stands up to heat and can be used in recipes (follow directions on package). A slight licorice flavor can leave a bitter aftertaste if too much is used.

Caution: there are no reported adverse effects from stevia in over 25 years of use in Japan and the vast majority of studies deem it safe. A handful cite kidney demage in animals at extremely high level.

EN Weights In : lf you are looking for an alternative to controversial sweeteners or a natural sweetener that won't add calories, raise blood sugar or cause cavities, try stevia. Because of uncertainty over its long-term safety, moderations is called for (as it is with most sweeteners), especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

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