A Better Sweetening Alternative
Extract of Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni

Code 575 -- Price: $19.95
Net Wt.: 4.4 Oz.
(125 g.) Availability
Serv. Size: 0.2 g.Serv. / Container: 625

Glucose (sweetness) Equivalency
To Sugar by Weight:

82.5 lbs. (37,450 g.)
Each bottle comes with a small spoon that holds up to 0.5 grams (a serving is a "spoon tip" or 0.2 grams). Truth is, a small amount of product at the tip of the spoon (about 0.2 grams) is more than enough to adequately sweeten an 8 oz. (240 ml.) glass of water. When we say concentrated -- we mean it!

Much of this site is devoted to the politics of health --- the unleashing of forces that inhibit natural, inexpensive, non-proprietary products from reaching mass markets in favor of more expensive, proprietary (i.e. patentable), less healthful alternatives. (Early on, we detailed this phenomenon as it relates to cancer therapies -- also see our instructive Mother Goose parody on Kah-Kah Cola.)
Stevia is another example of this corrupt, political dynamic.
Stevia is a small green plant (Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni, of the Asteracaea family), which bears leaves that have a very sweet taste (unprocessed, about 30 times sweeter than sugar by weight; in extract form, roughly 300 times sweeter). Because Stevia leaves are so concentrated and so little is needed to replace sugar -- without all the calories, one would think that this was an ideal substitute.
If people knew about Stevia -- based only on its merits as a sweetener, who would ever bother to use sugar --- let alone Aspartame® (Equal®), cyclamates or saccharin? (Read Dr. Samuel Epstein on the carcinogenicity of all three of these latter compounds in his book The Politics of Cancer - Revisited. (p. 640))
That's the problem for these larger industrial concerns. People wouldn't. In Japan, where the attempt to suppress stevia never caught hold (since their chemical companies are not major players in the sugar substitute business) stevia is the sugar replacement of choice. In fact, as of the year 2000, Japan consumed 90% of the world's supply of stevia leaves.
Enter the Chemical Industrial Mafia.

As the esteemed American herbalist Rob McCaleb (founder of Herb Research Foundation) has noted in his essay, "Stevia Leaf: Too Good To Be Legal?," Stevia has been under almost constant regulatory assault by industry sycophants in the U.S. since 1987. Although the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994 has provided some relief, continued harassment of Stevia marketers prevails, which would explain why so few people know about and use stevia.

Other Established Nutritional Benefits
Stevia gets its intense sweetness from a small group of naturally-occurring glycosides (Steviosides, Rebaudiosides and a Dulcoside). The ingestion of this small mass of glycosides amounts to virtually no calorie addition to foods --- the basis for its use as a sugar substitute. But that is not the only nutritional benefit of stevia.
In its native Paraguay and Brazil, stevia is sold as an aid to those with diabetes and hypoglycemia -- since researchers have amply demonstrated that stevia helps regulate blood sugar. Though only anecdotal, users in the U.S. have reported that a small amount taken with each meal brings blood glucose levels down to normal within a short period. (Note: each person responds differently, so no patient should ever experiment on his or her own and make adjustments to their drug regimen without the oversight of a competent practitioner).
Other observed benefits of Stevia include:
  • Weight Control -- As mentioned, the restricted calories assist with weight control, but so does the noted reduction in the craving for sweets and supression of hunger in general. Drinking tea that has a couple of grams of stevia added about 20 minutes before mealtime will bring about the observed hunger control for most users. Preliminary research suggests that stevia may "reset" the hunger mechanisms in people where the pathway between the hypothalamus and stomach have been obstructed.
  • Improved Digestion -- Largely anecdotal, but largely reported.
  • Increased Energy Levels -- Whether or not this reported phenomenon is related to an absence of the lethargy that a sizeable infusion of sucrose brings is unclear, but the frequency of the reports merits further investigations.
  • Increased Mental Alertness -- We see this repeatedly on the internet. Our own staffers have not noticed a substantial difference, but the claim deserves attention.
Below we provide additional helpful links concerning stevia: -- "All About the Herb That Is Sweeter Than Sugar!"
Introduction to Stevia (Donna Gates)
Nutritional & Medicinal Uses
The Scary Truth about Aspartame (Dr. Julian Whitaker)
Original Stevia Petition to U.S. FDA
by American Herbal Products Association
Stevioside, 'Naturally!' (Dr. R. Elton Johnson, Jr. --
presentation to The Calorie Control Council
Current Status of Stevia (Mark Gold - 1995)

Conventional Counter
Arguments / Response
CSPI's "Bittersweet Tale" &
Not Ready for Prime Time
Negative Newsroom Announcment
Body Ecology's Counter to CSPI objections
Final Comment: The Role of Simple Sugars
As in all things, Stevia should be used in moderation. The Atkin's and Zone Diet programs (more so with the former) have some people convinced that all simple sugars (the monosaccharides fitting the H6-O12-C6 configuration) are bad. Truth is, simple sugars found in natural foods -- fruits, vegetables, and grains, are an important part of a healthy diet. To use Stevia to the exclusion of sugars from those natural food sources would not be adviseable. Our society's excessive use of table sugar (sucrose), corn fructose, and other "high DE" (dextrose equivalent) additives has created the current imbalance to which Stevia can be a valuable corrective tool. To make proper use of sugars metabolically (and keep blood triglycerides in check), you should maintain a regular exercise regimen -- something quite important that no dietary additive can replace.

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To U.S. Users: Neither stevia, nor any of the comments on this page, have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. At this time the FDA permits Stevia to be imported and labeled in the U.S. only for its approved use as a dietary supplement and in skin care.

Danger: Stevia
Is Non-Toxic

What may be more frustrating to its competitors than anything else is that stevia, when taken in moderate levels of use, is completely non-toxic. It truly is the most healthful sweetener you can find anywhere.
In the 1,500 years that stevia has been used among the indigenous people of Paraguay and in the 20 years of commercial use in Japan, no harmful side effect has ever been recorded. The body metabolizes the sweetening agents within stevia naturally, just like any other glycoside.
Dr. Daniel Mowrey reported, "More elaborate safety tests were performed by the Japanese during their evaluation of Stevia as a possible sweetening agent. Few substances have ever yielded such consistently negative results in toxicity trials as have Stevia. Almost every toxicity test imaginable has been performed on Stevia extract (concentrate) or stevioside at one time or another. The results are always negative. No abnormalities in weight change, food intake, cell or membrane characteristics, enzyme and substrate utilization, or chromosome characteristics. No cancer, birth defects, no acute and no chronic untoward effects. Nothing."
This is not to say that Stevia does not have detractors. CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) has raised concerns about the prospect of approval in the U.S. saying that Americans go to extremes and inclusion in products like soft drinks could bring about carcinogenic responses of their own. Based on our own review of all available literature, we feel that moderate use of stevia is safe --- certainly as safe or safer than the artificial cousins with which stevia is currently compared. (See last stevia internet link in column at left.)

Stevia concentrate
It's a Concentrate:
Stevia is so concentrated as a sweetener that the consumption of a "larger than required" amount can be quite unpleasant -- not unlike overdoing the addition of artificial, concentrated sugar substitutes.
Use the spoon that comes with your order, and always start with a tiny amount. (We recommend a "spoon tip" -- roughly 0.2 g.). Remember ... you can always add more -- but you can't ' "take it away."