Tag Archives: Diabetes

Stevia: The Zero-Calorie Natural Sweetener

By: Mariah Haroon, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: TatianaMishina/Shutterstock

Keeping caloric intake balanced and blood sugar levels steady are part of a diabetic individual’s daily routine. Diabetes affects about 30.3 million people in the United States.1 That is 9.4% of the US population.1 As the number of products containing artificial sugar substitutes flood the markets, Stevia enjoys its own niche as a zero-calorie natural sugar substitute. It is extracted and purified from a plant called Stevia rebaudiana.2 This plant is native to South America.2 The leaves of this plant contain a substance called steviol glycoside. According to FDA, the highly purified and safe form of stevia should contain ≥95% of pure steviol glycoside.3 FDA granted stevia the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status in 2008, as long as it is sold in its highly purified form.4 This form is called rebiana and is sold under brand names such as Truvia®, PureVia® and Enliten®3. It is used as a sugar substitute and as an ingredient in packaged foods.

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