Can Stevia Really Make a Difference? The Global Stevia Institute at FENS 2015

San Antonio TX.  The Global Stevia Institute (GSI) sponsored a scientific session titled, “Can stevia really make a difference? Understanding processing, safety and benefits of a new type of sweet,” at the Federation of European Nutrition Society’s 12th European Nutrition Conference (FENS 2015).  This conference is held once in four years and this year it was held at the Estrel Convention Center in Berlin, Germany, from October 20th to 23rd.  The FENS is a non-profit federation of 26 European Nutrition Societies, each representing one country. The conference is designed to communicate the latest scientific information that can help European citizens and consumers live a healthy life through all periods of life.

The FENS2015 conference had about 3000 attendees, mostly nutrition scientists, from around Europe and some from other parts of the globe too. The GSI symposium was well attended and much appreciated by many.

During the symposium, Dr. Ursula Wolwer-Rieck, a stevia expert and researcher from the University of Bonn explained the attendees understand about the naturality of stevia leaf extract and how with sophisticated HPLC analytical methodology one can prove that the sweet molecules – steviol glycosides – in the high purity stevia extract are the same as those found in the leaf.  In light of the fact that there is no definition for “natural” by some many regulatory authorities, based on these and other data she presented, she concluded that – “Steviol glycosides extracted from the stevia leaf should be called natural sweeteners.”

Then, Dr. Bernadine Magnuson a well-known toxicologist presented on the body of evidence used to establish the safety of high purity stevia leaf extract and also helped the audience understand why it is that most major regulatory bodies around the world have approved high purity stevia leaf extract and not the whole leaf or crude stevia extracts. Dr. Margaret Ashwell, an expert on sweeteners and nutrition, explained how stevia and low-calorie sweeteners can be a part of a healthy diet as well as their role in weight management.  Dr. Priscilla Samuel, Director of the GSI, ended the session with a brief summary and presentation on sweetener market trends that showed a five-fold increase in stevia-containing product launches between 2010 and 2015, and shared data on consumer attitudes and knowledge that showed increasing awareness on stevia sweetener in Europe between 2010 and 2015.  She also gave the audience a perspective on the kinds of foods stevia is currently used in around the world.

Not only did the attendees learn a lot on the science of stevia, but also they enjoyed great tasting stevia products made with high purity stevia leaf extract which included: A delicious 50% sugar reduced chocolate mousse, two no sugar-added juice cocktails, and a 50% sugar-reduced ketchup with a tray of healthy vegetables for dipping.

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SVETIA® Calorie – Free Sweetener is made with cane sugar and stevia extract. One packet of SVETIA® contains only one gram of carbohydrates. People with diabetes are advised to check with their registered dietitian or physician.

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