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Dr. Hull - Just a heads up. Your paragraph on Stevia on your website seems to be out of date. Stevia is now GRAS and is in food and drinks as well as in supplements. Thanks for the info!
Oh, thank you for this reminder. I wrote that article long before stevia finally got GRAS approved. You're reading a bit of history here! I have been working with the stevia importers since the 1980 and 1990s when the FDA was burning all their literature. Yep, the FDA came into the Stevita Company in Arlington, TX and literally burned their books on stevia.....this really proves the politics behind safe, alternative sweeteners, doesn't it? Three books were being distributed by the Stevita Company, who were also the owners of the Brazilian patent on stevia manufacturing. The books described the history and usage of the sweet herb, and provided recipes for stevia use. The Stevita Company was also forced by the FDA to remove all links to their Internet website, which was a clear violation of their First Amendment Rights, but they did remove the links.
Wow, huh? Stevia importers were simply trying to offer consumers a safer solution to aspartame's 20+ year monopoly. It's just nasty politics, but who's surprised?
For YEARS, the FDA ignored the overwhelming evidence of stevia's benign and beneficial qualities. Over 1500 years of safe use in other countries throughout the world meant nothing to the rickety "regulatory minds" of our government agencies supporting aspartame lobbyists. Hundreds - hundreds - of studies show how aspartame causes serious health defects, yet aspartame ranks above the safety of stevia.
After decades of stevia being kept away from consumers, after decades of stevia suppliers being harassed by the government agencies supposedly protecting our public health, and after 1500 years of safe use in countries around the world, stevia is now GRAS approved in the USA. It goes to show you that the GRAS stamp of approval is just as "manipulated" as the plethora of the many other FDA approvals. Otherwise, stevia would have gotten GRAS decades ago.
Stevia History (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoli)
In 1994 when the DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) went into effect, stevia remained in "limbo" while the FDA struggled to keep it off the market as a "sweetener." Stevia had been safely used for centuries around the world as a low-calorie, no "adverse affect" sweet herb. Stevia is like basil or oregano; it's simply an "herb" that is sweet. Stevia can be found as crushed leaves, as a liquid tincture, or as a fluffy white powder. Unlike aspartame, stevia is safe to cook with.
Stevia is less expensive to use than synthetic, chemical sweeteners, and despite the FDA's attempts to keep stevia off the American market, more and more consumers began using stevia because they were rejecting the pharmaceutical "versions of sugar." Consumers will never stop searching for the ideal "healthy" sweetener.
Stevia was a threat to aspartame from the very beginning, and this sweetener battle made it hard for the consumer to simply choose a healthy sugar-free product. As the fight for profits escalated, we were left with no healthy choices.
Interestingly, natural herbs, like basil and stevia, typically do not cause "health problems" like the artificial chemicals created in a laboratory do, but as soon as stevia became GRAS, it began getting scrutinized as unsafe based on "new lab studies." Hum, will they do this to basil and oregano one day? Only if it pinches someone's profits.....
The FDA now publicizes two questionable studies as proof that stevia is not safe. A graduate student in South America claiming stevia has a mild contraceptive property did the first study. The other study, published in 1988 in a Brazilian pharmacological journal, showed that stevia might be unsafe by creating a hypoglycemic effect on some individuals.
An interesting point here is that both of these studies were done outside of the USA, yet the studies performed outside of the USA showing aspartame causes lymphoma and leukemia, however, are not recognized by the FDA as credible; hence, these studies have been ignored and debunked.
Is the FDA grasping at straws to support their prejudice against stevia as a sweetener, while continuing to promote aspartame to secure profits for stockholders? We have national health care issues flooding the streets of Washington, yet aspartame is allowed to remain in the public food supply without question. Can you imagine how much money our health care system would save if aspartame were just taken off the market? Hum. Do our government agencies and leaders really want to save money within our health care system, or do they prefer to protect their stocks at the expense of the average consumer? None of this makes any sense.
Posted July 2012 | Permanent Link
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