Organic stevia as a sugar substitute
With diabetes at an all time high in the United States, many people have been turning to alternatives to sugar to try and curb this epidemic. There are sweeteners like Splenda but it often gets negative press because long term effects of consuming sucralose are still unknown. Some studies have shown that mice who consumed sucralose experienced a decrease in beneficial fecal bacteria that aids digestion. Organic stevia is another sugar substitute that has been around for a while but is it any better than Splenda? Let’s find out.
First of all, what is Stevia? Stevia is a plant that has been used as an herb and a sweetener for centuries by South Americans. The plant is native to the Americas but it is Japan that consumes the most Stevia out of any other country. Japan introduced stevia as an alternative sweetener over thirty years ago and it now takes up 40% of the market for sweeteners.
While organic stevia seems like a great alternative to Splenda, there is still controversy surrounding it. In 1991, the FDA labled stevia as an unsafe food additive but many speculate that the FDA caved to pressure from the sugar industry. In 1995, the FDA reversed its ruling and allowed the import and sale of stevia after it was labeled as a food supplement. There is no conclusive evidence that stevia has any negative effects on human consumption, much like Splenda, though stevia has been used for centuries.
Stevia may well take off in popularity if it is more widely accepted like in Japan. The European Union has blocked stevia because there isn’t enough research to show that its safe.