Stevia, An Alternative To Aspartame

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by herblady, Oct 22, 2002.

  1. herblady

    herblady New Member

    this is for the information of those who want to stay away from the poisonous aspertame. i use it and am very happy with it. the source was the happy hippy.


    The Sweet Secret of Stevia
    The original intention of this article was simply to inform people about stevia, a great natural sweetener that I've recently become a fan of. It has neither calories nor carbohydrates, is suitable for diabetics, and doesn't cause tooth decay. Information about something that can deliver all of that makes enough of a story in itself, but a little research into the history of stevia uncovered quite a bit of intrigue that I wasn't aware of when I first chose this topic. In the name of keeping the public ignorant about stevia businesses have been raided, books have been destroyed, and laws have been created making it illegal to tell consumers that a product is sweetened with stevia. What is this herb and why don't the powers that be want you to know about it?

    Stevia rebaudiana is an herb that has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay both as a sweetener and as medicine. It was "discovered" by Dr. Moises Santiago Bertoni, the director of the College of Agriculture in Asuncion, who was exploring the jungles of Paraguay. He first heard of the herb in 1887, and encountered a live plant for the first time in 1903. He later said of this herb, "the sweetening power of kaa he-e [the native name for the stevia plant] is so superior to sugar that there is no need to wait for the results of analyses and cultures to affirm its economic advantage...the simplest test proves it."

    In 1908 the first stevia crop was harvested, and plantations began to spring up. In a memo written in the 1920s, American Trade Commissioner George S. Brady said he was "desirous of seeing it placed before any American companies liable to be interested, as it is very probable that it will be of great commercial importance." If its "commercial importance" was so great, why did stevia never catch on? A 1913 memo from the official public scientific laboratory in Hamburg, Germany may hold a clue where it states, "specimens received are of the well-known plant which alarmed sugar producers some years ago."

    In 1960s Japan, there was a popular movement against adding chemicals such as artificial sweeteners to food. Manufacturers there were on the lookout for a natural alternative to sugar, and stevia was introduced to the Japanese market in 1970. It is currently used in many products there (including cola, desserts, and gum) and makes up 40% of the Japanese sweetener market.

    Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar in its natural state, and much more so when processed. Its medicinal uses include regulating blood sugar, preventing hypertension, treatment of skin disorders, and prevention of tooth decay. Other studies show that it is a natural antibacterial and antiviral agent as well. Stevia is actually good for you! On top of that, it is calorie and carbohydrate free. Stevia is a great sweetener choice for diabetics, those watching their weight, and anyone interested in maintaining their health. So why haven't most people heard of it?

    In the late 1980s an "anonymous firm" lodged a "trade complaint" with the FDA about stevia when it started to surface in the United States. One company using stevia was the Celestial Seasonings herbal tea company. They were ordered by the FDA to stop producing tea "adulterated" with stevia. Traditional Medicinals, another tea company, had their inventory of stevia teas confiscated during an unexpected FDA raid and were told the tea would be burned.

    Why did the government treat stevia like a controlled substance? FDA documents call stevia a "dangerous food additive" even though the safety of stevia has been widely tested for many years by scientists in Japan. The FDA will not reveal who made the "trade complaint" (despite the Freedom of Information Act) though many suspect that it was the makers of the artificial sweetener Aspartame (aka "Nutrasweet") trying to fend off competition, as the artificial sweetener is very profitable. Was the government protecting the health of its citizens or that of big business?

    If that isn't bizarre enough, the FDA also ordered a Texas-based distributor of stevia supplements to destroy three books on the subject. They were told that an inspector would be coming to oversee the destruction of these materials! This spurred outrage from the media, the ACLU, and members of the public who heard about the attempted censorship and the FDA decided not to go through with it. The FDA was willing to violate the first amendment (with a good old fashioned book burning) to keep stevia under wraps!


    An interesting contrast: while no one in Japan has complained about any stevia related health problems for the past thirty years, over 75% of food additive related complaints in the US are about Aspartame, which is supposedly safe.


    In 1995 the FDA reversed their decision to ban stevia, but only halfway. Stevia can now be sold as a "nutritional supplement" but not as a sweetener in the United States. This is also the case in the European Union, and the World Health Organization is pressuring other countries to follow suit. Essentially, this means you can find it at many stores in the vitamin department, but the label can't tell you what the product is actually for. As absurd as this is, the good news is that stevia is available for those who know about it. It is generally carried in health food stores and there are many retailers online as well. Stevia is available in several forms, including concentrated powders and liquid extracts. Read labels to see what other ingredients you are getting, as some contain fillers and/or alcohol. I generally use stevia in its natural form, either fresh, dried, or powdered.

    Like other natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup, stevia has its own special flavor and does not taste exactly like sugar. You may not like the way it tastes in coffee, but find it great with tea. Unlike artificial sweeteners, it doesn't break down with heat, so you can learn to cook with it too.

    I hope you find stevia to be as wonderful of an herb as I do, and that the FDA comes to its senses soon!






  2. herblady

    herblady New Member

    this is for the information of those who want to stay away from the poisonous aspertame. i use it and am very happy with it. the source was the happy hippy.


    The Sweet Secret of Stevia
    The original intention of this article was simply to inform people about stevia, a great natural sweetener that I've recently become a fan of. It has neither calories nor carbohydrates, is suitable for diabetics, and doesn't cause tooth decay. Information about something that can deliver all of that makes enough of a story in itself, but a little research into the history of stevia uncovered quite a bit of intrigue that I wasn't aware of when I first chose this topic. In the name of keeping the public ignorant about stevia businesses have been raided, books have been destroyed, and laws have been created making it illegal to tell consumers that a product is sweetened with stevia. What is this herb and why don't the powers that be want you to know about it?

    Stevia rebaudiana is an herb that has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay both as a sweetener and as medicine. It was "discovered" by Dr. Moises Santiago Bertoni, the director of the College of Agriculture in Asuncion, who was exploring the jungles of Paraguay. He first heard of the herb in 1887, and encountered a live plant for the first time in 1903. He later said of this herb, "the sweetening power of kaa he-e [the native name for the stevia plant] is so superior to sugar that there is no need to wait for the results of analyses and cultures to affirm its economic advantage...the simplest test proves it."

    In 1908 the first stevia crop was harvested, and plantations began to spring up. In a memo written in the 1920s, American Trade Commissioner George S. Brady said he was "desirous of seeing it placed before any American companies liable to be interested, as it is very probable that it will be of great commercial importance." If its "commercial importance" was so great, why did stevia never catch on? A 1913 memo from the official public scientific laboratory in Hamburg, Germany may hold a clue where it states, "specimens received are of the well-known plant which alarmed sugar producers some years ago."

    In 1960s Japan, there was a popular movement against adding chemicals such as artificial sweeteners to food. Manufacturers there were on the lookout for a natural alternative to sugar, and stevia was introduced to the Japanese market in 1970. It is currently used in many products there (including cola, desserts, and gum) and makes up 40% of the Japanese sweetener market.

    Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar in its natural state, and much more so when processed. Its medicinal uses include regulating blood sugar, preventing hypertension, treatment of skin disorders, and prevention of tooth decay. Other studies show that it is a natural antibacterial and antiviral agent as well. Stevia is actually good for you! On top of that, it is calorie and carbohydrate free. Stevia is a great sweetener choice for diabetics, those watching their weight, and anyone interested in maintaining their health. So why haven't most people heard of it?

    In the late 1980s an "anonymous firm" lodged a "trade complaint" with the FDA about stevia when it started to surface in the United States. One company using stevia was the Celestial Seasonings herbal tea company. They were ordered by the FDA to stop producing tea "adulterated" with stevia. Traditional Medicinals, another tea company, had their inventory of stevia teas confiscated during an unexpected FDA raid and were told the tea would be burned.

    Why did the government treat stevia like a controlled substance? FDA documents call stevia a "dangerous food additive" even though the safety of stevia has been widely tested for many years by scientists in Japan. The FDA will not reveal who made the "trade complaint" (despite the Freedom of Information Act) though many suspect that it was the makers of the artificial sweetener Aspartame (aka "Nutrasweet") trying to fend off competition, as the artificial sweetener is very profitable. Was the government protecting the health of its citizens or that of big business?

    If that isn't bizarre enough, the FDA also ordered a Texas-based distributor of stevia supplements to destroy three books on the subject. They were told that an inspector would be coming to oversee the destruction of these materials! This spurred outrage from the media, the ACLU, and members of the public who heard about the attempted censorship and the FDA decided not to go through with it. The FDA was willing to violate the first amendment (with a good old fashioned book burning) to keep stevia under wraps!


    An interesting contrast: while no one in Japan has complained about any stevia related health problems for the past thirty years, over 75% of food additive related complaints in the US are about Aspartame, which is supposedly safe.


    In 1995 the FDA reversed their decision to ban stevia, but only halfway. Stevia can now be sold as a "nutritional supplement" but not as a sweetener in the United States. This is also the case in the European Union, and the World Health Organization is pressuring other countries to follow suit. Essentially, this means you can find it at many stores in the vitamin department, but the label can't tell you what the product is actually for. As absurd as this is, the good news is that stevia is available for those who know about it. It is generally carried in health food stores and there are many retailers online as well. Stevia is available in several forms, including concentrated powders and liquid extracts. Read labels to see what other ingredients you are getting, as some contain fillers and/or alcohol. I generally use stevia in its natural form, either fresh, dried, or powdered.

    Like other natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup, stevia has its own special flavor and does not taste exactly like sugar. You may not like the way it tastes in coffee, but find it great with tea. Unlike artificial sweeteners, it doesn't break down with heat, so you can learn to cook with it too.

    I hope you find stevia to be as wonderful of an herb as I do, and that the FDA comes to its senses soon!






  3. lilwren

    lilwren New Member

    Having to deal with chronic candida I can't have sugar and stevia was a godsend for me! It's great! It does take a while to get used to the taste, but it is so much safer than the alternatives - aspartame & splenda!

    Rice syrup is also pretty dandy!

    love,

    Sharon L
  4. sofy

    sofy New Member

    On the surface stevia sounds real good but in truth it does not have a long documented history of safety. I have no idea what is the root cause of all my troubles and choose not to add any thing I dont need. I do without. Want something sweet, try sweet potato, fresh fruit, frozen blueberries or grapes are like little popcicles. It you just gotta have a sweetener try concentrated apple juice. Natural and herbal does not necessarily mean safe.
  5. Copper2002

    Copper2002 New Member

    >>>>On the surface stevia sounds real good but in truth it does not have a long documented history of safety.<<<<

    Thanks, sofy. I too am in favor of stevia use. Do you have information that you can share showing specifics that make you skeptical about it? So far, the only negatives i've encountered were put out thru one gov. agency or another, but nothing reported to back their statements. I'd be real interested to read fact based info to back their claim.

    Thanks,
    Copper
    Let Miracles Replace all Grievances
  6. Copper2002

    Copper2002 New Member

    thanx for sharing, herblady!

    Copper
  7. sofy

    sofy New Member

    I have no more info about stevia than you. The herbal people say its is ok, the gov. people say be careful. Who knows, I sure don't. I do know I am fading away to nothingness and I am not going to use anything I don't need if there is a question. I don't need something just because it tastes sweet.
    Favorite sweet= plain cocoa mixed with water and almond butter, dip in fresh fruit of season. I'm using apples now, strawberries were great while they lasted. Tastes bitter until you add the fruit. MMMMMMM good!!!!
  8. herblady

    herblady New Member

    i just read a neat use for it. actually two. the first is as an acne treatment. just put some of the concentrate on a pimple and it will clear it up. it is also good for oral health, less cavities, use in water as a mouthwash everyday. the article said it helps also to keep from getting colds. cool, huh? cindi
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Thanks for this info. Stevia is a powerful antioxidant which has just been discovered lately. It is a plant which produces sweetness the same as sugar beets and sugar cane. The difference is that Stevia does not cause the insulin overload in the body the way sugars do.

    It does taste different from sugar and takes a little getting used to.

    Love, Mikie
  10. herblady

    herblady New Member

    it doesn't taste funny to me and i'm now using it as a mouthwash. hopefully it will keep away colds. can't hurt to try. cindi
  11. queenbee69

    queenbee69 New Member

    cindi....when i made my post this morning, i wasnt passing any judgement on your advice. I was simply voicing my opinion. Please do not take it any other way. Thanks...queenbee69