We hadn't heard of it until this morning. The news programs were chatting about this unique, zero-calorie sweetener made from an herb. It's said to be all natural. And the FDA, or food and drug administration, is ready, maybe even today, to give the green light to stevia's approval.
Maybe many of you have already been enjoying stevia as your sugar substitute for years. It has been available in our country, but always wore the label of 'not FDA-approved.'
Why the concern about stevia?
Like its fake sugar friends.....saccharin, aspartame, and others, bad press has dogged these sweeteners because of lab studies done on rats which concluded these zero calorie foods are cancer-causing agents.
However, these studies indicate that consumers are safe with 'fake sugars,' because normal consumption would never exceed the huge amounts needed to possibly cause cancer to develop in humans.
Stevia has been safely eaten in Japan, China, and South America for years. Australia just gave the zero-calorie sweetener the thumbs up recently.
Stevia is actually a shrub plant from the chrysanthemum endemic family. It grows quite nicely in regions where tobacco thrives. Stevia is an herbal extract from the shrub, the way we understand it.
We have never tasted stevia that we know of. We used to be a TAB fanatic. But that was until 1984, when the makers started mixing a little aspartame in with the saccharin. The flavor was forever ruined for us.
Meantime, Coke-a-Cola and PepsiCo are anxiously hoping for the big FDA okay, so they won't have to pull out new light drinks if the ruling disapproves stevia.
Bottoms up, everyone!!!