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We posted an entry last week about artificial sweeteners and I received some specific questions about Stevia. Here is some information about Stevia from Healthline: 

Stevia (also called Stevia rebaudiana), is a plantthat is a member of the chrysanthemum family, a subgroup of the Asteraceae family (ragweed family). There’s a big difference between the stevia you buy at the grocery store and the stevia you may grow at home.  Stevia products found on grocery store shelves, such as Truvia and Stevia in the Raw, don’t contain whole stevia leaf. They’re made from a highly refined stevia leaf extract called rebaudioside A (Reb-A).  In fact, many stevia products have very little stevia in them at all. Reb-A is about 200 times sweeter than table sugar.

Sweeteners made with Reb-A are considered “novel sweeteners” because they’re blended with different sweeteners, such as erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and dextrose (glucose).  For example, Truvia is a blend of Reb-A and erythritol, and Stevia in The Raw is a blend of Reb-A and dextrose (packets) or maltodextrin (Bakers Bag). 

Stevia use was first banned in the 1990s because of the concern of this causing cancer but subsequent studies failed to prove this association.  Side effects of Stevia may include gas and bloating.

The bottom line: Stevia, when used in it’s refined forms and not “whole” appears to be very safe and certainly an option for those people that are trying to control weight.  They seem to be as safe, if not more, that the “usual” artificial sweeteners we use in those pink and yellow packets.

And now we change directions from the Wonders of Stevia to Stevie Wonder, and here is one my personal favorite songs of this legendary singer/songwriter, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.