Stevia Extract — A Sweetener with Strong Safety Support

San Antonio TX. According to the Global Stevia Institute (GSI) the safety of purified steviol glycosides – the stevia components responsible of its sweetness – has been evaluated through rigorous scientific research, which supports the safety of purified stevia leaf extracts for use as a sweetener.

The safety of purified stevia leaf extract is supported by the hundreds of years during which stevia has been used as a natural sweetener by the natives of Paraguay to sweeten their teas, beverages or just to chew as a sweet treat; Japanese people have used it as a general, no-calorie sweetener for more than 40 years.  The evidence of more than 200 expert studies also attests the safety of stevia extract.

The GSI says that the safety assessment for food ingredients by regulatory agencies is an extensively detailed and lengthy process, designed to ensure that a new food ingredient, such as a non-caloric sweetener, does not pose a risk for any consumers, including children and pregnant women. The results from toxicology or safety studies are used to establish the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI), which is defined as the amount of a food ingredient that people can consume on a daily basis during their lifetime without any appreciable risk to health. Specifically, based on the similar metabolism of glycosides in rats and humans, an  ADI level of 0 to 4 mg/kg body weight (bw), as steviol equivalents, was established by  JECFA, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The establishment of the ADI for steviol glycosides was based on a thorough review of toxicology and tolerance studies. To obtain these parameters, long-term animal studies are usually performed, in which animals were fed with diets containing increasing levels of the food ingredient under study, for the majority of their lifetime, through stages of development and growth. The highest dose that results in no adverse effects determines the “No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL). In the case of steviol glycosides, the specific NOAEL was supported by a pivotal two-year study in rats (Toyoda et al., 1997) in which the NOAEL was 388 mg steviol equivalents/kg bw/day (d). A safety factor of 100 was applied, to result in an ADI of 0 to 4 mg/kg bw as steviol equivalents. This ADI was established for steviol equivalents.

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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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