Stevia is a natural sugar substitute that comes from a plant called Stevia rebaudiana. It is a South American shrub that has a long history of being used as a natural sweetener. The Guarani people in Paraguay and Japan have been using stevia leaves as a healthy sugar substitute for centuries in herbal tea and even medicines. Now, Stevia is grown around the world, including India, near the foothills of the Himalayas. Despite usage dating back to centuries, concerns have been raised regarding the consumption of Stevia. Stevia is a 100% natural sweetener and has been found to be completely safe for everyone by the leading scientific regulatory authorities, including Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) around the world. Let’s discuss the stevia safety profile in detail:
The World Health Organisation's Joint Experts Committee on Food Additives has approved an acceptable daily intake of steviol glycosides of up to 4 mg/kg of body weight.
In the United States, high-purity stevia glycoside extracts have been generally recognized as safe since 2008 as per Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The European Food Safety Authority also approved stevia additives in 2011.
In November 2015, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allowed the usage of steviol glycosides as a sweetener in food products. Overall, stevia is considered safe for consumption as a sweetener in over 130 countries.
Stevia safety profile for different groups of people:
For Diabetics: Stevia is 100% safe for diabetics. Many studies have shown that Stevia does not contribute calories or carbohydrates to the diet. It has no impact on blood glucose levels and its consumption does not invoke an insulin response either. This means people with diabetes can enjoy food items with Stevia as a sweetener without any worry.
The 2018 American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes state that, “The use of non-nutritive sweeteners may have the potential to reduce overall calorie and carbohydrate intake if substituted for caloric (sugar) sweeteners and without compensation by intake of additional calories from other food sources. Non-nutritive sweeteners are generally safe to use within the defined acceptable daily intake levels.”
For Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women: Stevia is totally safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. There is no published report or study showing the negative effects of stevia on pregnant or breastfeeding women. After many reviews by major food authorities, including JECFA, EFSA, FSSAI, and FDA, stevia sweeteners have been deemed safe for the general population.
For Children: Yes, stevia consumption is safe for children. It even has several benefits for children as discussed above.
Stevia is a natural sweetener which has several benefits. It is a great substitute for sugar and artificial sweeteners without any long-term side effects. It is 100% safe to be consumed by everyone. Stevia has been granted GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) status since 2008 and many health and food agencies across the globe have acknowledged its safety profile. So, what are you waiting for? Switch to Stevia right away!
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