Stevia’s Coming into Her Own!
Its has been interesting to watch the evolution of Stevia, a type of non-caloric sweetener that has been used for centuries in Paraguay and is widely used in countries such at Brazil, Canada, China and Japan. Stevia comes from a plant that you can actually grow if you want to – the leaves are incredibly sweet and can be thrown right into a smoothie.
I’ve been using it for years (it was approved by the FDA to be used as a supplement in 1995). It always amazed me that the FDA had not approved it for the use IN food products, like yogurts, cookies, and drinks, yet they approved known carcinogenic synthetic sweeteners to be pumped into all sorts of drinks and foods.
I knew something would change when Cargill (Coke) and Pepsi got ahold of stevia. I already talked about their stevia products here. With each now owning its own version of the sweetener, the pressure was on the FDA to label it as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) so it could be used in drinks and such.
In December, 2008, the FDA finally approved stevia’s GRAS status and we are now finally seeing stevia sweetened products come to market. The cost of stevia is higher than sugar and corn syrup, so the movement has been slow. But, hopefully we will see more products with stevia, giving consumers more choices.
What products are currently sweetened with stevia?
- Vitamin Water Zero
- Vitamin Water 10
- Sobe Life
- Auquafina Plus 10
- Sprite Green
- Silk Mint Chocolate Soy Milk (just came out for a limited time)