Stevia Extract side effects, health benefit, dosage, liquid, powder, packets - Cooking with Stevia extract products - safety, risk, danger, allergy

April 6 2014

Extracts of the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant are used to sweeten food and beverages in South America, Japan and China with no know side effects. Stevia is has become a major source of high-potency sweetener for the growing natural food market. Although it can be helpful to anyone, there are certain groups who are more likely to benefit from its remarkable sweetening potential. These include diabetic patients, those interested in decreasing caloric intake, and children.

The plant
Native to South America, the stevia plant is a bush that can grow from a foot to 4 feet tall. A white crystalline compound (stevioside) found in the leaf of the plant is a natural herbal sweetener with no calories and is over 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar.

Health benefit of stevia products
In the small dosages normally ingested by the average consumer, stevia is not likely to have much of an effect, positive or negative, on health. Stevia contains high levels of sweetening glycosides including stevioside which, in lab studies, have been found to possess antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Purchase Liquid Stevia Extract  that has no calories

Liquid supplement
Stevia extract 140 mg per milliiter
     Stevia rebaudiana (20:1)

Purchase Liquid
Stevia extract. You will also find powder, packets, chewing gum, and lime flavored drink packets, and other products.




Safety of stevia, side effects, danger, risk
An article on the newswire says, "Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., co-author of The Stevia Cookbook, considers the sweetener safe. He says he has used it in his tea every day for more than a decade without any health problems. He is puzzled, however, by the timing of the FDA’s approval. “When natural foods companies petitioned the FDA to allow stevia to be called a sweetener, they were denied,” Sahelian recalled. “But somehow, when Coke and Pepsi petitioned the FDA, then it was okay for stevia to be called a sweetener.” Nevertheless, he said that the decision may have a profound effect on the entire food and beverage industry: “I attended a natural products expo and based on what I saw—the number of companies that are working with stevia, the companies that are likely to put stevia in their nutrition bars, smoothies, drink and food—this will be huge.” He added that stevia should also be popular among diabetics, who will be especially eager to replace artificial sweeteners with a natural alternative."

Composition and substances in the plant, herb, leaf
The components responsible for the sweet properties of the plant are glycosides of steviol, primary stevioside (ent-13-hydroxykaur-16-en-18-oic acid), which is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sucrose and rebaudiosides A and C. Rebaudioside A, or Reb A, is the second most abundant component of Stevia rebaudiana leaf. Steviol and isosteviol are metabolic components of stevioside.

Stevia extracts available over the counter
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration declared the herb stevia safe for use in foods and beverages, clearing a path for Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and other companies to market it in a variety of products. There are many different companies that sell stevia extracts. Here is an example of some of the products.

PureVia is PepsiCo's brand of Reb A sweetener, supplied by Pure Circle. Pepsi has introduced PureVia to its SoBe drinks and an orange juice called Trop50.
Reb A is made by Pure Circle company.
Rebiana is the trade name for a zero-calorie sweetener containing mainly rebaudioside A.
SweetLeaf has its own brand of stevia extract in packets and dissolving tablets.
Truvia is the consumer brand for Rebiana marketed by Cargill and developed jointly with The Coca-Cola Company. Coke is using stevia (under the name Truvia) in its Odwalla juice line and several flavors of Vitamin Water, along with Sprite Green.

Truvia is supposed to be made from stevia and it's said to have no aftertaste. But the word "made" is what has me nervous. My concern is that because there is some manufacture involved, there may be some harmful side effects. I'm wondering what your take on it is.
   We have not seen significant human studies with Truvia itself, but stevia is a safe sweetener.

Q. I recently got a newsletter regarding the new "natural" zero-calorie sweetener. Can you comment on this? "Both Truvia and PureVia are extracts of stevia leaves. Stevia leaves have been used for centuries by other cultures, particularly in South America, to sweeten beverages. But until recently, nobody has been using a purified concentrated extract of the leaves, which is known as stevia or stevioside. The Coke and Pepsi people rushed Truvia and PureVia through FDA approval, but many health advocacy organizations, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest, have voiced concerns that there are not significant studies to back up the extracts’ safety. Morever, some of the studies that have been published on stevia extracts are a little scary. For example, a recent study by Brazilian researchers found that adding stevia extracts to the drinking water of lab rats caused DNA breakage in cells in the animals' blood, liver, spleen, and brain. (Food Chem Toxical, 2007; 45: 662) DNA damage may increase cancer risk. Until significantly more studies are published that prove definitely that stevia is safe, we recommend that you stick to a zero-calorie sweetener that has been repeatedly proven to be safe."
   A. We disagree. the small amounts of stevia extracts do not appear to cause any problems and are safer than sugar. A person should have a moderate intake, and as long as small to moderate amounts are used, we have no reason to suspect any health issues. See Stevioside Safety studies and research.

Companies that sell stevia extract products
Green Leaf Fields has 90 percent rebaudioside A or Reb-A. This company is based out of Kauai, Hawaii.
PureCircle may be the worlds largest, or one of the largest stevia plant producers. PureCircle supplies both Coca-Cola and Pepsi companies with stevia extracts. The company has stevia plantations in China, Kenya and Paraguay, and Vietnam.
    On 2010 PureCircle South America SA (PCSA) and the Cooperativa Colonias Unidas signed a contract for the production and supply of stevia leaves. The event was held at the Cooperative headquarters in Obligado and attended by managers and executives from both companies. Both PCSA and the Cooperative are forging a strong commitment to develop the production of proprietary varieties of high-quality stevia, to meet the growing international demand for the all-natural, zero-calorie, stevia-based sweetener. The opening of and access to large markets such as the USA, France, Australia, Switzerland and Mexico, has increased the need for major development in the supply of dry leaves.

Commonly asked questions
Where are stevia extract products sold? Are they similar?
     Stevia products are sold in health food stores, on the internet, and in some grocery stores. There are dozens of companies that market stevia and consumers notice distinct differences between these products depending on how the stevia plant was grown, how it was processed, how the active ingredients were extracted, and a number of other factors. If you did not like your first stevia product, don't give up. Another product may convince you of the wonderful properties of this plant as a natural no calorie sweetener.

Which stevia products are the best quality and taste the best?
     A clear stevia liquid offered on the Advance Physician Formulas web site has a great taste. You may wish to buy several stevia products in the form of liquid, packets, and powder and find out for yourself which one suits you best. For the purposes of sweetening tea, coffee or lemonade, liquid works great. But some people prefer powder.

Can stevia or stevioside be used in cooking and baking? Are there books that explain how to use stevia in cooking?
     There are quite a number of books regarding the benefits of stevia and how to use it in cooking, one book is called The Stevia Cookbook.

Is it true that stevia use can influence reproduction?
     There is no evidence in humans that stevia has a negative effect on reproduction or causes genetic defects or problems with pregnancy.

How much stevia may be safely consumed per day?
     Human studies are not available to determine how many milligrams or grams of stevia can be consumed safely each day. However, rather than worrying about the specific amounts, as long as you are reasonable in your intake of stevia products there is little or nothing to worry about.

How much dried stevia liquid should be used for sweetening purposes?
     Depends on the product being used. There are dozens of different stevia products on the market and each one has a different potency. As a general rule, three or four drops of clear stevia liquid is enough to sweeten an herbal tea.

Are the sugar moieties of stevia safe for diabetics?
     Stevia extract can be used safely by diabetics.

How stable are stevia extracts?
     A stevia leaf can stay sweet decades after being picked and dried, therefore, the substances in stevia are quite stable. The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill, Inc. are working on the stevia derived extract rebaudioside A. A high purity rebaudioside A is being called rebiana. Testing has shown that rebiana is very stable.

Stevia and blood pressure
Does stevia influence blood pressure, is it safe for those with hypertension?
     Studies thus far are not consistent and show stevia either has no effect on blood pressure or has a mild effect, particularly since the amounts used are so small.

The hemodynamic effects of rebaudioside A in healthy adults with normal and low-normal blood pressure.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;
This randomized, double-blind trial evaluated the hemodynamic effects of 4weeks consumption of 1000mg/day rebaudioside A vs. placebo in 100 individuals with normal and low-normal systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Subjects were predominantly female (76%, rebaudioside A and 82%, placebo) with a mean age of approximately 41 (range 18-73) years. At baseline, mean resting, seated SBP/DBP was 110/70mmHg and 110/71mmHg for the rebaudioside A and placebo groups, respectively. Compared with placebo, rebaudioside A did not significantly alter resting, seated SBP, DBP, mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR) or 24-h ambulatory blood pressures responses. These results indicate that consumption of as much as 1000mg/day of rebaudioside A produced no clinically important changes in blood pressure in healthy adults with normal and low-normal blood pressure.

Efficacy and tolerability of oral stevioside in patients with mild essential hypertension: a two-year, randomized, placebo-controlled study.
Clin Ther. 2003.
Stevioside, a natural glycoside isolated from the plant Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, has been used as a commercial sweetening agent in Japan and Brazil for >20 years. Previous animal and human studies have indicated that stevioside has an antihypertensive effect. This study was undertaken to investigate the long-term (2-year) efficacy and tolerability of stevioside in patients with mild essential hypertension. In this 2-year study in Chinese patients with mild hypertension, oral stevioside significantly decreased SBP and DBP compared with placebo. QOL was improved, and no significant adverse effects were noted.

Stevia and kidney disease
I have kidney disease – 1.9 creatinine blood level, 36 GFR, since the removal of my other kidney in June 2008. My kidney function is improving at a slow rate. I enjoy Zevia, a cola with stevia, but keep hearing it may be harmful to my kidney. I like to drink about 32 ounces of Zevia after I run, 2 times a week. Dr. Sahelian, on his website, states to a person with kidney disease that stevia is safe. But studies with rates with high dosages of stevia indicate nephrotoxicity.
     We are not aware of stevia extract use causing kidney damage in humans and have not seen such long term studies with high dosages of stevia extract regarding renal effects being published.

Safety of stevia extract, risk, allergy, danger
As of April 2009, there is no indication in humans that reasonable amount of stevia extract use cause any harm to the body. No allergy reports have been mentioned in scientific publications.

A critical review of the genetic toxicity of steviol and steviol glycosides.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2008.
 Stevioside and steviol have been subjected to extensive genetic testing. The majority of the findings show no evidence of genotoxic activity. Neither stevioside nor its aglycone steviol have been shown to react directly with DNA or demonstrate genotoxic damage in assays relevant to human risk. The mutagenic activity of steviol and some of its derivatives, exhibited in strain TM677, was not reproduced in the same bacteria having normal DNA repair processes. The single positive in vivo study measuring single-strand DNA breaks in Wistar rat tissues by stevioside, was not confirmed in experiments in mice and appears to be measuring processes other than direct DNA damage. Neither stevioside nor steviol-induced clastogenic effects at extremely high dose levels in vivo. Application of a Weight-of-Evidence approach to assess the genetic toxicology database concludes that stevia extract substances do not pose a risk of genetic damage following human consumption.

Stevia extract ingestion and metabolism
Pharmacokinetics of stevia extracts rebaudioside A and stevioside after single oral doses in healthy men.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2008.
This randomized, double-blind, cross-over study assessed the comparative pharmacokinetics of stevia extracts steviol and steviol glucuronide following single oral doses of rebaudioside A and stevioside in healthy adult male subjects. Steviol glucuronide appeared in the plasma of all subjects after administration of rebaudioside A or stevioside, with median tmax values of 12.0 and 8.00h post-dose, respectively. Steviol glucuronide was eliminated from the plasma, with similar t1/2 values of approximately 14h for both compounds. Administration of rebaudioside A resulted in a significantly (approximately 22%) lower steviol glucuronide geometric mean Cmax value (1472ng/mL) than administration of stevioside (1886ng/mL). The geometric mean AUC0-t value for steviol glucuronide after administration of rebaudioside A (30,788ngh/mL) was approximately 10% lower than after administration of stevioside. Steviol glucuronide was excreted primarily in the urine of the subjects during the 72h collection period, accounting for 59% and 62% of the rebaudioside A and stevioside doses, respectively. No steviol glucuronide was detected in feces. Pharmacokinetic analysis indicated that stevia extract rebaudioside A and stevioside underwent similar metabolic and elimination pathways in humans with steviol glucuronide excreted primarily in the urine and steviol in the feces. No safety concerns were noted as determined by reporting of adverse events, laboratory assessments of safety or vital signs.

Marketing and use
As of 2014, natural sweeteners made from extract of the stevia plant have taken about 10 per cent of the US consumer market for table-top sugar substitutes, only nine months after being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The rapid growth of products produced by Cargill and Merisant underlines the potential for natural sweeteners in a market that could amount to $700m in five years, according to a report by New York-based analysts at Rabobank. Cargill’s Truvia and Merisant’s PureVia natural sweetener brands are made with rebaudioside-A (Reb-A), an extract of the stevia plant that was approved for public consumption by the US FDA in 2009. Cargill, the agrobusiness conglomerate, developed Truvia in a joint venture with Coca-Cola, the soft drinks company, but decided to expand beyond its traditional food ingredients business to sell the sweetener directly to ­consumers. PureVia was developed by Merisant with PepsiCo in partnership with Pure­Circle, an AIM-listed processor that is the world’s largest processor of stevia.