Stevia: What is Wrong With This Picture

by kellycolby

SteviaStevia is a hot topic in the industry. Some people are in love, some people (like the FDA, corporations, and some wellness experts) say it is dangerous. I usually find the truth somewhere in between. Stevia won’t be the only natural sweetener discussed on this blog.

I was excited when Stevia first came out. A plant that is super sweet, not classified as sugar, that does not cause sugar imbalances or weight gain? Sign me up!

It took me awhile to get used to the taste of Stevia. My body just seemed opposed to it. The leaves picked straight off the plant did not seem to affect me in the same way, so I thought that was curious.

We are a society that is obsessed with sugar. Sugar is addictive and is hidden in just about everything nowadays. Unfortunately, sugar makes us age very fast and throws our hormones out of whack, even in small dosages. The older we become, the more sugar negatively affects us.

I regularly talk to my clients about kicking their sugar habit. Many say they still need their sweet treat every day. That small sweet treat is doing more damage than they realize. Many switched to Stevia and interestingly, their bodies didn’t react like they should when off of sugar. I did some research and found a few interesting positions on Stevia. There have been some studies that show that larger amounts of Stevia can be mutagenic. I am protective over my DNA. I think our DNA has been messed with and altered enough. There were also studies pointing to reproductive problems related to Stevia consumption.

The FDA has been the center of controversy around Stevia. People have said the FDA is only preventing something great from being on the market for economic and political reasons. I do not have any thoughts on the politics of this subject, however, seeing what I have in my clinic over the past few years, I am not onboard with Stevia being a suitable sugar replacement.

I do support using Stevia in the natural plant form; meaning a leaf picked off the bush and eaten. The problem happens with most sugars, from cane to honey, once refined the chemical action completely changes and something benign or beneficial becomes dangerous to the body. The powder form of Stevia is highly altered, processed and devoid of nutrition. Stevia contains bulking agents which can include toxic excipients. People are not using Stevia to move away from sugars, they are using Stevia as a crutch. Because they consider Stevia natural, they consume large doses which has a negative impact on the body.

If your body is craving sugar, you may have an overgrowth of Candida in your body or your cravings may simply be your body needing more fruit. Our body was designed as a tropical body. No matter where we live or how the climate has changed, there is still that need deeply imprinted on our cells passed down from our human beginnings. Eating adequate amounts of fresh fruit will often stop the cravings for sugar.

Stay tuned for more pros and cons of healthy sweeteners widely used in the wellness and raw food communities.

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{ 10 comments }

Jim M. May 31, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Really decent post… I love it. Keep ‘em coming… :)

Andrew April 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I know I use Stevia sometimes. I know that it’s supposed to be “Padded” with some other things (Like Inulin and Chromine), but isn’t the padding good for your digestion anyways?

I definitely agree that the FDA has had political and economic reasons for saying bad things about Stevia. Whether or not it is good or “bad” for you, their motives are definitely in question.

kellycolby April 9, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Hi Andrew.

Yes, some of the paddings are good. My criticism is not of the plant Stevia but it is of the manufacturing process and the overuse/misuse that goes on across the board with the majority of products we use and love. This blog is about awareness and teaching people to make informed choices and know as many facts as possible. I chose Stevia because it is so popular, but is also misused by many people because it is a natural sweetener.

Here is what I have learned. Some of the manufacuters of the machines that the herbal/food companies use are sometimes the problem. not the manufacturers themselves. In order to package many herbals and other products, the machines (not the herbal manufacturers) require minute amounts of toxic excipients to help the product flow through the machine.

You’d think trace amounts of anything wouldn’t be bad, but used in large quantities or over long periods of time, this is actually more dangerous to the body than one giant acute exposure. With one large dose, your body will naturally purge, small quantities do not produce this reaction and build up and break down the body.

The FDA only requires manufacturers to supply ingredients over a certain %. So in truth, what you are eating, drinking, or ingesting may sometimes contain hundreds of more ingredients than what is listed on the label. I’m not saying your brand of Stevia has hundreds of non-disclosed ingredients. What I am saying is that we have to be careful what we put in our bodies and the amounts we use.

Because something is “natural”, in this day and age, may not mean it is safe. Health and wellness is not about what you eat or put into your body but about how much you eat or put into your body.

I appreciate you taking the time to read and submit your comments. These always help me learn by other people sharing their knowledge. Comments help give me new insight, give my readers a well rounded look at something, and are always food for thought. Keep commenting!

yoda March 26, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Stevia is not dangerous. It seems to be a fact that the FDA sees certain corporations as clients and do not care as much as people think about the health of the public. Employees of the FDA who have tried to stand up to the corruption were and I am sure are intimidated. This comes from the testimony of an employee of the FDA (who probably is not an employee now). The approval or diaspproval of the FDA means nothing. He even mentions that there are products on the market that should never have been approved.
As far as stevia is concerned, you need to realize that “stevia products” are not equal and to put all powdered,refined stevia in one category shows ignorance as to the differences between the products. Most so-called stevia products are processed using ethanol, methanol, sovents, alcohols, or a combo of them which may result in a weird taste and then maltodextrin, dextose, sugar alcohols, or a combo of them are added and in at least a few products in very high concentrations. For example, Truvia is 99.1% erythritol, PurVia is 99.2% erythritol and isomalotose, Stevia in the Raw (according to them) evidently contains maltodextrin and dextrose, however, perhaps as much as 95.8% (which is what they wouldn’t tell you), and Sun Crystals may be as much as 96.5% table sugar. Therefore, if anyone has any reactions to these products, it is probably due to the additives, NOT due to any possible trace of stevia extract. Those studies done that have been mentioned here, as far as I know, were done on animals. The greatest attestation to stevia’s safety is the fact that it has been used for over 1500 years and large quantities by countries around the world (not JUST Japan) over long periods of time by hundreds of millions of people (humans not animals)–both adults and children– without reporting of any adverse reaction ever documented. Anyone who is honest with themselves must admit that that’s extraordinary, and to try to refute that due a few studies on animals that some say may not be reliable due to possible problems with studies , in my opinion somewhat egocentric.
The key is to find a REAL stevia product without the additives like I listed. Personally, I use SweetLeaf brand of stevia. It is the only one that uses only pure water during extraction, so more nutrients may be retained durig processing and contains none of the additives listed– no sugar alcohols or any form of sugar. They do add inulin fiber to their powder which is digestive aid. It retains all three of stevia’s natural 0 calorie, 0 carb, 0 glycemic index properties, which at least most do not.
The stevia leaf contains 100 different nutrients. I understand the pure dark liquid concentrate form retains at least the most nutrients (if not all) that can be purchased at a store or online. However, I can pretty much assure you that pure stevia without the additives, whether in liquid OR in powder form at the VERY LEAST WILL NOT harm you, if anything it will do your body good!

kellycolby March 26, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Yoda,
Great information that you provided, thank you! I agree with what you said. Pure stevia is NOT bad for you. Just like you pointed out, many companies will put other elements in with their Stevia or use solvents/chemicals in the separation of the molecules to produce their product. Even machine separating something can have a detrimental effect. And therein lies the problem with most healthy foods these days, unless they are raw, the processing/extractions and add-ons will change something from benign or healthy to unhealthy.

Very few products on the market for anything are completely pure. Yes, you can find them, but it will take time and effort.

I do not count something bad or good according to what the FDA says. I’ve been in this business too long to think there is not more going on than what meets the eye. For this article, I was pointing out different sides of the story to educate people.

Dr Bob Marshall teaches on FDA labeling and what manufacturers can hide in consumables. It was very eye opening. Toxic tag-alongs and excepients are not always listed on the labeling.

Overusing and abusing anything, including Stevia, can have detrimental effects. Large amounts of water can be bad. Large amounts of grapes can be bad. The whole idea is not to overuse or overconsume anything, because this is where the problems occur. Our bodies were not designed to consume large amounts of anything.

Loved the information you added. Thanks again!

Online Stock Trading March 25, 2010 at 11:49 AM

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Savannaha March 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Awesome blog!

I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess I‘ll just have to keep checking yours out.
LOL!

kellycolby May 21, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Thank you.

kellycolby May 21, 2010 at 10:35 AM

You’re welcome. Thanks for commenting.

kellycolby May 21, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Sony,

You never know. Some people are really sensitive to processing and additives.

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