Have you ever wondered, “why was stevia banned?” Stevia is extracted from Stevia leaves and used as a substitute for sugar. In comparison to table sugar, it contains more calories and carbohydrates but does not contain artificial ingredients. But why was stevia banned?
Based on early studies suggesting the sweetener may cause cancer, stevia was banned in the U.S. in 1991, despite its availability worldwide. Other than causing cancer, there are a few other side effects of stevia due to which it is not allowed in various parts of the world.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is an ingredient derived from Stevia plants and is used to replace sugar as a sweetener. There are about 100 to 300 times as many calories and carbohydrates in it as in table sugar, but there are no artificial ingredients.
The taste is not to everyone’s liking. The taste of stevia is different for everyone. Some find it bitter, while others find it menthol-like. You can also sprinkle it over your breakfast oatmeal to see if you like it.
Sweeteners and tea have been made with stevia, a plant with an intensely sweet taste, since the 16th century. Paraguay and Brazil originally grew this plant, but now Japan and China also produce it.
Besides serving as a sweetener, it contains herbal ingredients used as supplements. Sweeteners that contain little to no calories are inherently nonnutritive.
Many foods and beverages contain stevia as an alternative to sugar. The park has over 240 plant species in the Asteraceae family, including shrubs and small flowering plants.
The scientific name for stevia is stevia Rebaudiana, a sweet leaf or sugar leaf also known as stevia. Tropical North and South America are home to this plant, but it’s not widely known. Stevia is a wonderful new sweetener.
It is becoming more and more popular among countries that approve it as a sweetener and food additive as more and more research is released. Stevia was approved for use by the EU in all 27 nations in 2011.
Why Was Stevia Banned?
In 1991, despite stevia’s availability worldwide, it was banned in the United States after many early studies suggested it might cause cancer. Besides being linked to cancer, many countries have banned stevia for other reasons.
It is best to consume stevia in moderation despite the lack of side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has warned that highly refined stevia products, such as Truvia, are unsafe to consume.
Health Benefits of Stevia
Stevia can help you manage diabetes, lose weight, and take care of your skin. Read on for more information.
1. Maintain Diabetes
Its ability to control blood sugar levels in the body is considered one of stevia’s most significant benefits for human health. Those who have diabetes or follow a carbohydrate-controlled diet can eat sweet food without risking diabetic complications by replacing regular sugar.
Sugar is derived from sucrose, a carbohydrate. At the same time, stevia is a non-carbohydrate glycoside compound that sweetens food similarly to sugar.
When it gets digested, stevioside particles consisting of glucose absorb sugar from the colon instead of entering the bloodstream and causing an increase in glucose levels.
2. Help Lose Weight
Depending on certain extracts in the species, stevia may have a low-calorie count and be much sweeter than sugar.
As a result, people can eat stevia-containing foods such as cakes, cookies, and candies without worrying about gaining too much fat and calories, negatively impacting weight loss efforts. Additionally, this may reduce the number of sugar children consume.
3. Potent Anticancer Properties
Considering stevia may be a rich source of antioxidants, it’s a great dietary supplement to prevent cancers, particularly pancreatic cancer.
In a recent paper published in The Open Obesity Journal, Dr. Jocelynn addressed the high antioxidant activity of stevia leaf extracts.
The antioxidant potential of this compound appears to be greater than that of tocopherol and sardine oil-derived green tea extract.
Stevia’s glycoside compounds, such as quercetin and kaempferol, help prevent healthy cells from turning into malignant ones by reducing free radicals in the body. Various other conditions, such as heart disease, also benefit from antioxidants.
Side Effects of Stevia
Though stevia doesn’t have any significant side effects when consumed in moderation, it is better to limit its consumption. The following list describes the possible issues that might arise from using stevia.
1. Hypotension & Diabetes
Following consumption of stevia, patients with diabetes and low blood pressure need to monitor their blood sugars and blood pressure.
In some cases, these conditions have worsened. It is essential for those suffering from either condition to consult with their doctor before taking this supplement.
2. Unsafe Variety
Truvia, a highly refined form of stevia, is determined to be unsuitable for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It is unknown if stevia leaves and extracts are safe or their effect on health. However, its use is still supported as an additive to foods and as a sweetener.
3. Allergic Reactions
Allergic people can experience allergy symptoms when exposed to plants such as ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and related species.
Moreover, some people have reported experiencing dizziness and headaches after consuming stevia. Despite this rare incidence, this sweetener and plant additive remain safe and beneficial for consumers.
Although stevia has been available worldwide since 1991, the United States banned it after early studies concluded it might cause cancer. In addition to the cancer link, many countries have banned stevia for other reasons.
Stevia has no significant side effects; however, moderation is recommended. A highly refined stevia product, Truvia has been declared unsafe by the Food and Drug Administration.
The taste of stevia varies from person to person. It may not taste very pleasant to some and menthol-like to others. Please test it out by adding it to oatmeal for breakfast.
Stevia, a plant that has a sweet taste, has been used for sweeteners and tea since the 16th century. Though there is no noticeable side effect to stevia consumption, it is still better to limit its consumption.