The Stevia Controversy
Stevia – Is it Healthy or Not?
There has been a lot of controversy about stevia in recent years. After being banned for many years in the USA, the FDA allowed it back on our shelves in the early 1990’s. I remember the excitement in the alternative health field when the ban was lifted. Finally, a healthy sweetener was allowed back into our food chain. I even wrote an article for a local magazine about the return of this “natural” sweetener. Now, 20 years later I wonder if the FDA was doing us a favor?
The Truth About Stevia
First, let me say that I use organic powdered stevia. I would rather eat a jar of raw honey or pound of dates every day to satisfy my sweet tooth but the sugar content in honey or dates is simply too high to eat them with abandon. (Well, if I am being truthful, I would rather eat a pound of chocolate every day) So, I rely on stevia. I do have nagging doubts about it though. Is it really ok? I mean, it is a white powder. The stevia plant is green and well, it is a plant. How natural is this white powder I am eating? Has it ever been eaten in such a concentration before?
About 18 months ago I ordered some raw, organic stevia powder online. It tasted just like it looked – green. Have you ever wanted to sweeten your tea or coffee with a green superfood such as barley or spirulina? Probably not. Even though it was sweet, it didn’t taste very good in beverages or baked items. It sat in a bag for over a year in my fridge until I finally threw it out.
I researched stevia on the internet. Like pretty well every type of food out there, some people react to it. I didn’t find anything severe, however. Stevia has been available for almost 2 decades now and there does not appear to be any serious side effects. My conclusion is that it is probably ok.
Make Your Own Stevia Extract
Rather than rely on a manufactured product, grow your own stevia. Though I haven’t done it personally, it doesn’t appear to be difficult. You can make your own organic stevia extract for a lot less money and you will know exactly what is in it . Here is a link to a site that can help you: grow your own sweetener
“Sugarless Sugar” a Great Sugar Alternative
Recently, I started using Sugarless Sugar by a company called NOW Foods. I really like this product. It is the only sugar alternative that I have used that really can be switched 1 to 1 for sugar. It does contain organic stevia as well as some other ingredients making it a good substitute for people who want a low glycemic sweetener. There are no GMO ingredients either.
Now, I am off to find a stevia plant and grow some stevia!