Author: Cliff Smith
Stevia sweetener is an all natural food that is a healthy replacement for sugar and artificial sweeteners. Formerly only approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement, Stevia can now be referred to as an all natural "food additive". One of the biggest reasons that stevia sweetener is in the spotlight now is because of the increasingly disturbing reports that have surfaced about other sweeteners like aspartame and high fructose corn syrup. Whether you choose to only eat all natural foods or not, you may want to consider switching to stevia rather than using sugar, or the sugar substitutes currently on the market.
Stevia sweetener is gaining acceptance for several reasons. It is calorie free, helps people maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and it is totally natural. It comes from the stevia plant, which is related to all natural foods such as lettuce and chicory. Stevia is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but it does not affect blood glucose levels in the same way that sugar does. Stevia sweetener has even been recommended for diabetics in many cases and it is an excellent all natural food supplement for dieters who wish to control their cravings for sweet things.
South America's indigenous people have used the stevia plant as an all natural food additive for hundreds of years. Stevia sweetener has been popular in Japan since the 1970's. In fact, Japan consumes almost 40% of the world's stevia in soft drinks and other all natural food products. As stevia sweetener grows in popularity, so too does our understanding of new ways to utilize it. In the United States, 1995 was the year that Sunrider International's Dr. Tei Fu Chen successfully petitioned the FDA to allow the use of stevia as a dietary supplement. Most recently, it has been approved as an all natural food additive and companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi are lining up to begin putting stevia sweetener in widely distributed products.
Beware though, not all stevia products are all natural food products. You will find stevia sweetener in liquid and powder form. Some powder stevias are processed with chemicals, which may deplete the beneficial aspects of this all natural food product. Liquid stevia sweetener, on the other hand usually tastes better, and people seem to receive more benefit from it. This could be due to an extraction process that maintains the all natural food structure of the stevia plant in liquid form, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients.
With the obvious benefits of an all natural food product like stevia sweetener, and the fact that it has been a known sugar substitute for hundreds of years, it is hard to understand why it hasn't been used in modern American culture for more than a few years. The reasons for the ban of stevia sweetener as an all natural food additive were hotly debated, with many blaming lobbyists from the sugar and the sugar-substitute industries. Now, with the recent FDA clearance, it's likely that the use of stevia sweetener will continue to grow as consumers develop greater awareness about its many advantages.
Cliff Smith began seriously researching nutrition when he lost 30 pounds in 30 days on a diet of all natural foods and highly concentrated health drinks. Read his natural weight loss story and learn more about stevia sweetener at his online health food store, http://www.BestHealthFoodStore.net.