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About the dangers of stevia: is stevia safe?

What is there to say about the dangers of stevia? This is probably the toughest page of them all to write, because frankly, there aren't many - if any at all! That said, there are still some stubborn myths and rumors going around, which I will clear up for you here. Frankly, you might be better off having a look at the benefits of stevia, and weighing up your own decision.

 

Clearly, the problem is the troubled relationship between stevia and the FDA. Over the years, a lot of effort has gone into keeping stevia off the shelves, due to pressure from billion dollar industries that produce sugar - they don't call it white gold for nothing, folks! 

Fortunately though, the tides are slowly starting to change. More and more people are coming in contact with the stevia sweetener; they are raving about it and that's getting harder and harder to ignore. Both the USA and Europe are finally warming up to the idea of opening up the market to stevia. With stevia products gradually making their way onto the shelves, everyone has high expectations!

 Here are some of the rumored potential dangers of stevia, proposed by various authorities, accompanied by the current evidence to refute those charges. Recently EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has found stevia completely safe on all accounts, and approved the use of the sweet leaf sweetener:
   

  • Myth #1: Stevia causes impotence

dangers of steviaVarious experiments have been conducted, administering stevia to rats and hamsters in extreme doses, ever since the 1960's, because of the tales of indegenous South American women using stevia as a natural contraceptive. Several studies have confirmed that even with doses up to 500 times the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI), small rodents did not show any harmful effects on their fertility or the healthy development of their offspring. In fact, there was no significant difference between both groups of rodents (those who were administered stevia and those who weren't). Inquiries among South American natives did not support the theory that they used stevia as a contraceptive, and there is no evidence that suggests otherwise.

  • Myth #2: Stevia causes cancer

Japanese studies on small rodents have taught us that there was no difference to be found between groups that were given stevioside and groups that weren't. The tissue and organs of these animals was inspected after testing, and no evidence was found to support that stevia might be carcinogenic. On the contrary! Ironically, Paraguayan natives have been using sweet leaf successfully to cure breast tumors and kidney damage!

 

Most of the studies that claim to prove otherwise, were eventually refuted because of suspicions of meddling from the FDA and supposed funding for a number of studies by producers of aspartame. Seems they were trying to cover up the dangers of aspartame and to keep stevia off the market at the same time. 

 

Some scientists have openly expressed their dismay over the fact that the FDA has lifted their findings out of context in order to thwart the selling of stevia. Pretty harsh, when you consider that artificial sweeteners mixed with chlorine, such as sucralose - which you may know as Splenda - are backed without long-term evidence to support their safety, despite the countless Splenda side effects that are being reported.

For each study that supports dangers of stevia, there is another one to refute it. The FDA claims there is not enough evidence to support the safety of stevia in humans. Yet the best evidence of stevia being safe, is that native South American populations have been using the herb for centuries, and the people of Japan have been using stevioside as a sweetener for decades, without any complaints or side effects. What do you think: is it enough evidence for you? You can leave your comments using the form below.



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