Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Steviol Glycosides Used as Sweeteners
San Antonio TX. Steviol glycosides are the sweeteing components of stevia, a plant used to sweeten beverages and as medicine by the Guarani people from South America. According to the Global Stevia Institute (GSI), the main two steviol glycosides used as sweeteners in food and beverages are stevioside and rebaudioside A. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) considers that the results of toxicology studies on either stevioside or rebaudioside A are applicable for the safety assessment of steviol glycosides as both rebaudioside A and stevioside are metabolized and excreted by similar pathways, with steviol being the common metabolite for both.
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on the safety of steviol glycosides as a sweetener for use in food.
The EFSA Journal reports that the Panel evaluated oral animal studies of metabolism and toxicokinetics, laboratory animal toxicity studies, in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity studies, and human studies with single or repeated administration of steviol glycosides. The results demonstrated that intact steviol glycosides are poorly absorbed after oral exposure but they are hydrolysed by the microflora in the colon to steviol. A large amount of steviol is absorbed; the rest is excreted in the faeces. In the liver, steviol undergoes conjugation with glucuronic acid to form steviol glucuronide. The only inter-species difference is that the glucuronide is excreted primarily via the urine in humans and via the bile in rats. No accumulation of steviol glycosidederivatives occurs in the body. Besides steviol glucuronide, no other derivatives could be detected in the urine of humans exposed orally to steviol glycosides.
Therefore, the Panel considers the results of toxicological studies on either stevioside or rebaudioside A applicable for the safety assessment of steviol glycosides in general. The results of toxicological testing indicated that steviol glycosides are not genotoxic, carcinogenic, nor associated with any reproductive/developmental toxicity.
The steviol glycosides, are what food and beverage manufacturers use in their products. They are contained in the high purity stevia leaf extract that has been evaluated and approved for use as an ingredient in food and beverages by the world’s leading regulatory agencies. The whole stevia leaf or the crude stevia extracts are not approved for use.
- European Food Safety Authority Journal: Scientific Opinion on the safety of steviol glycosides for the proposed uses as a food additive http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1537
- The Global Stevia Institute http://globalsteviainstitute.com/
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.