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What are some common and trade names for stevia sweeteners?
Enliten®, PureVia™, > Rebaudioside A/Reb A, Rebaudiside B, Rebaudioside C, Rebaudioside D, Rebiana, Stevia, Steviacane®, Steviol Glycosides, Stevioside, Stevia Extract In The Raw™, SweetLeaf®
What is rebaudioside A?
Rebaudioside A is a sweet tasting steviol glycoside purified from the leaves of the stevia plant.
What is stevia?
Stevia is a plant of the Chrysanthemum family, the leaves of which have been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years. Extracts from the stevia leaf have been available as dietary supplements in the U.S. since the mid-1990's and many contain a mixture of both sweet and non-sweet components of the stevia leaf.
What is the difference between stevia, rebaudioside A and steviol glycosides?
The term stevia typically refers to a crude preparation (powder or liquid) of dried stevia leaves. It may contain a mixture of many substances, only some of which are sweet. Steviol glycosides can be isolated and purified from the leaves of the stevia plant and can be used as a sugar substitute to sweeten foods and beverages and used as tabletop sweeteners. Rebaudioside A is one of the steviol glycosides purified from the leaf of the stevia plant. Other steviol glycosides include stevioside, rebaudiosides B, C, D, F, steviolbioside, rubusoside, and dulcoside A.
What is natural?
Although there is no clear definition of “natural,” some consumers prefer ingredients derived from natural sources that undergo minimal processing and that are not altered during production. New products with natural claims such as stevia sweeteners give consumers more products from which to choose.
Are foods labeled "natural" better or more healthful?
Not necessarily. Since there is no clear definition or labeling requirement, the primary difference between foods labeled "natural" and foods that do not bear this claim is preference.
In what types of foods are stevia sweeteners used?
Stevia sweeteners can be used as a sugar substitute in foods such as desserts, sauces, yogurt, pickled foods, breads and confections.
How many calories do stevia sweeteners contain?
Steviol glycosides have zero calories. Stevia-based tabletop sweeteners can have zero or minimal calories per serving, depending upon the other food ingredients with which they are combined. For example, some stevia sweeteners may be mixed with sugar as a bulking agent and these stevia sweeteners will contain some calories.
How are stevia sweeteners helpful in weight control?
As a sugar substitute with zero calories, stevia sweeteners can help reduce or replace calories in foods and beverages and offer low and no calorie alternatives for people looking to lose and control weight. Consuming beverages and foods with stevia sweeteners as part of a healthful diet and lifestyle, including regular physical activity, can assist with weight control and weight loss.
How are stevia sweeteners metabolized?
Based on studies conducted in the past several years, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has concluded that stevia sweeteners are metabolized by a common pathway. This begins in the gut where the steviol glycosides are broken down to steviol. Steviol is excreted in the urine as steviol glucuronide and the metabolized components of steviol glycosides essentially leave the body and there is no accumulation.
What is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status?
In order for a new food or beverage ingredient to enter the U.S. food supply, the ingredient must either be a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved food additive or GRAS. The quality and quantity of scientific evidence required for a substance to achieve GRAS status are the same as for FDA food additive approval. For GRAS, however, there is a general knowledge requirement and acceptance of that knowledge by qualified scientists. Publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal is the mechanism normally used to establish that the necessary scientific information is generally available.
How has the safety of stevia sweeteners been established?
Studies of stevia sweeteners clearly support the safety of these ingredients. Further, clinical studies show that stevia sweeteners meeting purity criteria established by JECFA have no effect on either blood pressure or blood glucose response, indicating stevia sweeteners are safe for use by persons with diabetes. In December 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated it has no questions regarding the conclusion of expert panels that rebaudioside A is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use as a general purpose sweetener. To date, FDA has stated that it has no questions in response to three separate stevia sweetener GRAS notifications.
What is the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)?
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) defines Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) as "An estimate of the amount of a substance in food or drinking water, expressed on a body-weight basis, that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable risk (standard human = 60 kg). The ADI is listed in units of mg [milligram] per kg [kilogram] of body weight." Consuming more than the ADI does not mean an effect will occur because the ADI includes a wide margin of safety above what is deemed the "No Observed Effect Level." JECFA has assigned an ADI of four mg/kg bw for steviol glycosides, expressed as steviol.
How are stevia sweeteners useful for people with diabetes?
Research has shown that stevia sweeteners do not affect blood glucose levels or interfere with insulin. With zero calories, stevia sweeteners offer people with diabetes greater variety and flexibility in budgeting total calorie intake and assisting with weight management.
Are there any known allergies to stevia sweeteners?
There are no known allergies to stevia sweeteners.
Can stevia sweeteners be used in cooking and baking?
Stevia sweeteners provide an excellent alternative and sugar substitute when sweetening foods such as cereal, yogurt and fruit. Some recipes allow for cooking and baking with these sweeteners, however appropriate usage levels vary according to the stevia sweetener that is used. For best results, follow the directions outlined by the manufacturer.