Stevia, The Natural Sweetener Banned By The FDA

steviaIn my last blog post 10 pounds in 4 days, a reader wrote in and mentioned she used stevia to make the salt water flush we use on the Master Cleanse easier to go down. I wanted to share more about stevia because it’s a rather interesting natural product that most people don’t know about because of a controversial move by the FDA banning stevia from being labeled and sold as a sweetener.

I would like you to voice your opinion about whether you think this is fair, but first let’s talk about the benefits of stevia.

Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, and is 300 times sweeter then sugar. What’s even more exciting is that stevia has zero calories, and research shows that it’s safe for diabetics (there’s some conflicting opinions on this as I’ll describe below)

Here’s where things get strange. If you’re thinking of picking up some stevia you won’t find it next to the sugar and other artificial sweeteners in your local grocery store because the FDA will not allow stevia to be labeled as a sweetener of any kind.

Stevia has to be labeled as a nutritional supplement which means you’ll have to go to a specialty health food store, or order it online because most grocery stores won’t carry it.

Dangers of Stevia – What Are Stevia’s Side Effects?

The FDA says it’s not safe. Those on the side of stevia say it’s a political move by the sugar and artificial sweetener camps to keep stevia from moving in on their business.

Here’s some information I dug up:

From wikipedia

“A 1985 study reported that steviol, a breakdown product from stevioside and rebaudioside (two of the sweet steviol glycosides in the stevia leaf) is a mutagen in the presence of a liver extract of pre-treated rats but this finding has been criticized on procedural grounds that the data were mishandled in such a way that even distilled water would appear mutagenic. More recent animal tests have shown mixed results in terms of toxicology and adverse effects of stevia extract, with some tests finding steviol to be a weak mutagen while newer studies find no safety issues.”

Is stevia safe for someone with diabetes? That same wikipedia page had this to say about stevia and diabetes

“Other studies have shown stevia improves insulin sensitivity in rats and may even promote additional insulin production, helping to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Preliminary human studies show stevia can help reduce hypertension although another study has shown it has no effect on hypertension. Despite these more recent studies establishing the safety of stevia, government agencies have expressed concerns over toxicity, citing a lack of sufficient conclusive research.”

This is what had to say about using stevia if you’re diabetic…

“Stevia can be a part of a healthy diet for anyone with blood sugar problems since it does not raise blood sugar levels. If in doubt, ask your doctor. However, if they do say no, ask them politely for the current research to support their opinion.”

It sounds to me like stevia is perfectly safe, but like many natural products that can’t be patented and sold as drugs the makers of stevia don’t have the cash to pay off the right people in Washington. But that’s just my opinion.

If you’re not sold on the FDA’s view of stevia and would like a second opinion consider this,  stevia has been approved in Brazil, Japan, and China. It’s also being looked at for use in future Coca-Cola products.

If you’re ready to go ahead and try stevia you might have a hard time tracking it down. You’re mot going to find it in most grocery stores. It’s best to look for stevia in health food stores or order it online.

Stevia recipes and cooking with stevia

Cooking with stevia can be tricky. In it’s pure form it’s much sweeter then sugar, but most of the time you won’t be using pure stevia. This chart found here shows you how much stevia you’ll need to equal the same amount of sugar. It will show you the amounts for granulated stevia, liquid stevia extract, and pure stevia. has a list of some recipes you can try out for your self. Your first few dishes made with stevia might come out tasting funny as you get used to calculating the proper amounts to use. After a while you’ll get the hang of it and have no problems converting old recipes that used sugar over to stevia.

Do You Think The FDA Should Allow Stevia To Be Sold As A Sweetener In The United States Of America? 

I would like to hear your thoughts. I’m not a bombastic type person who’s locked in to an iron clad belief system, but I think stevia could help society. Let’s face it, American’s aren’t going to give up sweets any time soon, and if stevia can do the same job as sugar without the calories I think our government is obligated to allow Americans the option of choosing stevia by placing it next to sugar on the grocery store shelf.

Please leave your comments below…

Comments 129

  • I use Stevia every day in coffee now for about 8 years. I’ve also recently found a green tea product by Onli Beverage Company in West Palm Beach that contains Stevia as an ingredient. It is delicious with only 5 calories per serving! I have had no adverse side effects from consuming Stevia.

  • I just finish 9days of the cleanse and on my second day of drinking juice I had lost a total of 12 lbs. I will do this again. I will continue eating my meats and fish cause I love sushi, but I’m including exercise and watch my portion. I do have to say that during my cleanse my joints were not hurting. I have osteoarthritis all over and I had relief which was nice.

  • Shelly, this blog post was published in 2007

  • Stevia is found EVERYwhere!! How old is this information?

  • I have no problem buying Stevia in the grocery store and its in the sweetener section. Whole Foods and Trader Joe sells it in the sweetener section. Why would you send out an email to read a blog that’s six years old? Hmmmm . . . . .

  • if poison like aspartarme can be labelled safe there’s no reason why stevia can’t. aspartarme gave me depression

  • Many people will probably dash an advert once, and while the whole world fails to overcom some sort of route to its front door, some people reply exactly the same process.

  • Natvia ( is another natural sweetener which do not have any side effects, 100% natural, 95% fewer calories than sugar, low glycemic index, low carbohydrates, no saccharin, no sucrose, fructose free, tooth friendly

  • @Steve

    He pointed you to his blog entry he wrote about 4 years ago, which he hasn’t updated. He chose not to make any comment about how it’s different. That’s his choice. I’d want to point out that a year after this post was written stevia got the GRAS (Generally regarded as safe) label the same year that Cargill and Coca-Cola were about to launch a product called Truvia. Coincidence?

    Since then PepsiCo and Merisant/Monsanto have also come out with PureVia which is now used in Pepsi’s Sobe line.

    Fortunately, yes, you can get the same product from a non-BigAg company, like ZSweet.

  • your 2007 blog recycled in 2011 is somewhat outdated since refined versions of Stevia are available in America, on grocery store shelves, next to sugar, sweet ‘n low, and splenda. Truvia is just one of several brands out there. I don’t know why you would recycle a posting particularly one that is 5 years old and outdated. You should get out more often….


  • Lets not forget that Stevia is the most alkaline sweetener of all. This is a good thing.

  • @tricia also, what do you mean by “borderline” diabetic? Is this confirmed by a A1C test? The only way that you can know whether or not you are diabetic is to get this test done. If you have symptoms, you should go to a doctor. If you don’t have health insurance, you should go to a pharmacy, drop $100 on a BG kit, and pairs test yourself. Knowing is seriously half the battle, and it can’t be done through guess work.

  • @barbara I’m sure now that stevia is being used by Coca Cola, many of the same people that rallied for it’s legality will say it’s poison.

  • @Tricia – Stevia has little to no impact an BG levels. It’s also just about non-caloric. It’s great for diabetics. Agave, on the other hand, has some major caveats. It has a much lower glycemic impact than sucrose, so it’s preferably in that sense, for sure. But it is pretty high in calories – a tablespoon of Agave nectar has 4 times the calories as a teaspoon of sugar. It also has a corresponding high carbohydrate level, but again, the glyecmic impact is lower. It’s generally no better for weight loss than any other sugar. As always, you should pairs test (test just before you eat it & two hours after) these foods to judge them, because everyone is different.

  • Stevia is now allowed to be sold in cola products. Pepsi calls it purvia and coke calls it truvia. Stevia has been available as a “food supplement” for quite some time. It was not allowed to be called a sweetener because it wasn’t approved by the FDA. Interesting that cola companies can now use it and “brand” it as if they invented it. Interesting that stevia has been used by other countries for centuries with no adverse side effects. Folks, this is worth researching. Google it.

  • I finished the MC lost 9 lbs. I feel amazing and so energized. Thank you!!!
    My question is how often can I do the MC, and also can I do the SWF with out being on the MC.

  • I believe your FDA should be dismantled — they are stoolies for big pharma and other big business; not in favour of the little guy who wants to take control of your own health!!

  • I am a border-line diabetic. I realize the importance of the minerals etc. in the maple syrup, but am skeptical about the high sugar content. Can I substitute the stevia or Agave for the syrup? I really want to try this cleanse but don’t want to run the risk of my blood sugar going through the roof. Any advise of info will be greatly appreciated.

  • If the FDA is so woried about our health, they’d ban aspartame. It’s proven to cause migranes, tumors, cancers. etc etc. The FDA shouldn’t be banning this NATURAL sweetener, in fact, it’s more natural than sugar, because it’s way less processed. Aspartame has a poisin in it, along with the antidote so that we don’t die from it…. I now realize how irresponsible the FDA is.

  • Here in Georgia you can buy Stevia on the sugar isle of your local grocery store. Maybe the FDA changed their minds since 2007 when you posted your blog.

  • I think it is unconstitutional for the FDA to tell us we cannot use a natural plant which is a healthier substitute to current food products because:

    The United States Constitution says;
    1: Every officer of the govt. and military must swear an oath to support the constitution,
    2: The purpose of the constitution (in the Preamble) is to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, and
    3: It is harmful to the peoples general welfare to;
    a: Control availability of food products for any purpose other that the general health of the people, and
    b: To punish (and harm) people for acts which do not cause harm (like selling harmless sweeteners, or for other “Victimless Crimes” where no harm is caused).
    Unfortunately, the Constitution does not address the severity of the “Conflicts of Interest” which arise from the “Corporate” business world.
    Now money speaks much louder than oaths, so loud in fact that no cop I have ever met can recite their oath.

  • I use Stevia because it is antifungal and so our government being full of fungus don’t like it ,HA . Our gov is money driven, the love of money is the root of most evils

  • I 100% think stevia should be sold as a sweetner. My mother, a former fitness instructure, has found it in packets sould at our local HSU health food store and she has been doing the fresh lemon and stevia in the morning for a while now to give her digestion a kick start. I myself just came off an 11 day master cleanse and I feel great and hopeful for the future of healthy eating and lifestyle and stevia will become something I will use in the future for cooking and what not.

  • i think that stevia should be sold as a sweetner. its sad to see how our government wants us all to be health conscience and yet want to control what you do. i’ve tried stevia and it is a very good product, in my opinion.

  • Yes they should allow it. This is silly, things should be more about the “general welfare” and less about lining pockets…

  • Found your commentary very interesting. I have had a problem with my tummy too like your Aunt did. I feel this spot the size of a grapefruit. I’m very active, not especially over weight but could afford to loose a few. I hardly eat meat, poultry often. Doc diagnosed me with fibroid…I tend to feel it is not due to having none of the symptoms of fibroids. Family member thinks it is related to food. I feel it is possible hernia due to lifting alot of stuff over years. I have no pain…just a hard large bump. Do you think fasting would help and could this be a tumor? Let me know your thoughts. Thank you.

  • i am a senior adn a diabetic. I attempted to do the fast with my daughter and granddaughter, i take glipicide, not insulin and was afraid to stop eating altogether so ate raw foods (as little as possible) Can I do this safely without eating altogether?

  • Actually, the main killer and obesity cause is due to processing. Has anyone heard of Sucanat. Well there are several sweeteners that are natural and are less damning to our systems. Agave is another. I think what we fail to consider is “too much of anything can be bad.” If we incorporate several “natural” sweeteners in different ways, I think we will have good results. Our food today is so over processed and chemicals added. They add toxic food color to our foods just to make it “pretty” so we will want to buy it and eat it. Sugar is adictive (read “Sugar Blues”) from what I’ve researched it is from the way they process the sugar. My great aunts and I, are pros at the Master Cleanser we mix things up a little sometimes but try to stick mostly to the way it is recommended. We also do fuit and veggie juice fasts. We fast regularly and my great aunt, who is 72yrs old and skips around like a teenage, holds the record amungst us she went 30 days, which is NOT recommended. She did lose some hair but about 14-20 days in she passed a foot long tape worm. My other great aunt passed a 3 lbs tumor in her belly. She had sort of a pot belly and we found out why. They scooped it out of the toilet and confirmed it with the doctor. So fasting also helps get rid of a lot of things and yes it will get rid of the good bacteria but when you are done just take some time getting back to regular food by eating yogurt or take acidophilus. A great deal of these chemicals are accumulative that’s why it is important to fast regularly to cleanse your body and give your organs a rest. The Almish and Mennonite communities can teach us a great deal. I have learned how to get rid of gall/kidney stones (Almish recipe) with a simple 3 day fast and NO PAIN!! Our food has become processed junk along with our so called “Rights” today and it is from the lazy ignorance of our people. I am a very naturalistic person I first woke up in the summer of 1995. I have been studing, growing and eating many herbs since. I study all areas that are natural and if you pay close attention you will find that a lot of this so called “common” knowledge is found in the Bible mostlly the Old Testement. I think along with our ignorance our grandparents and parents failed to teach us the old ways and the reasons for the old ways. My great uncle used to own the largest peanut farm in TX he holds patents on irrigation systems he created he never used chemicals. My great grandmother was a young pregnant wife in the “Great Depression” she taught me about natural things, being a farmer, and about the so called old ways, that is why I am not a sheep today with blinders on. We can not lose our farmers, namely the organic farmers, because who controls the food controls the people. Whomever said it earlier, you are right, our people need to wake up. Why does Lady Liberty stand today, does anyone know what Liberty is today? Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…..socialism, communism, slavery………just what are we fighting for today, … privilleges….hmmm?

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