Stevia Extract Consumption

San Antonio TXStevia extract is currently being used in many countries as an alternative sweetener. It is a zero calorie sweetener of natural origin, extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. The Global Stevia Institute (GSI) says that “the safety of stevia extract for human consumption has been established through rigorous peer-reviewed research.” Most global regulatory organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additive (JECFA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), have determined stevia extract to be safe for consumption.

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 as stevia extract, does not pose a risk for any consumers. 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.

Dr Cathy Kapica, from the Awegrin Institute, says that the ADI is a scientific term which is basically a guidepost for scientists to review how much of any food ingredient, including stevia extract, can be used by consumers on daily basis.

According to Dr. Rachel Cheatham, Executive Director of the GSI, all the safety studies performed on stevia extract are performed in order to determine its ADI and other safety standards such as the Towerball Upper Limit, which states how high people can go in their consumption before it becomes toxic. Dr. Cheatham says that many food safety authorities around the world such as the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), in the European Union; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in USA; and the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom, have reviewed all these safety studies to determine that stevia extract is indeed safe. “They have even taken it further and have studied how the different steviol glycosides – stevia‘s components – behave in different types of food and beverages;” said Cheatham. She explained that toxicologists and nutritionists have studied the steviol glycosides to see if there is an interaction with any of the different foods, such as dairy.

Dr: Sylvia Klinger RD, of Hispanic Food Communications Inc. says that the ADI set for steviol glycosides is expressed as steviol equivalents of 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. This equates to approximately 12 mg of high purity stevia extracts per kilogram of body weight per day. “So let’s have that a 150-pound (70 kg) person would need to consume approximately 40 packets of a tabletop stevia sweetener per day for the rest of their life to reach the ADI,” said Dr. Klinger.

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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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