New GSI Advisor Dr. Khor Explains Her Views On Stevia Extract
San Antonio TX. The Global Stevia Institute (GSI)‘s newest advisor Emeritus Professor Dr. Khor Geok Lin has been involved in a number of activities on sugar and sweeteners. These include being a co-author of a manuscript on Intake of Added Sugar in Malaysia: a Review, and to give a presentation on Historical and the Traditional Use of Sugar in South East Asian Foods in Transitioning Societies at ILSI SEA Regional Symposium on Sugar and Sweeteners in Singapore. She says that it was listening to Dr Bernadine Magnuson at a scientific update organized by the Nutrition Society of Malaysia on Sugar Substitutes: Understanding the Basics that expanded her understanding of sweeteners including steviaextract. When Dr Priscilla Samuel contacted her last November offering her the opportunity to work with her and others in the GSI, she decided to take on the challenge.
According to Dr. Lin, the potential role of stevia extract in replacing the usual caloric sweeteners, such as sucrose and corn syrups, in foods and beverages toward alleviating the current widespread rise of calorie-related chronic conditions, offers an exciting outlook for steviaextract in the broad field of public health. “In this age of rising chronic diseases driven to a large extent by excess intake of calories, measures by the food and beverage industry to stem this rising tide will make an impact in public health. Stevia extract has a fitting role in this context in replacing caloric sweeteners,” she said.
Dr. Lin totally believes in science-based evidence to promote the benefits of stevia extract as a zero-calorie sweetener extracted from a natural source. However, she thinks that greater communication efforts are needed to obtain wider approval and acceptance for the use of steviaextract by public health authorities and consumers.
Dr. Lin says that several countries in Asia such as Malaysia, China, India, Philippines and Indonesia, are showing increasing escalation of diet-related chronic diseases. “Asia as a region ranks highest globally for consumption of available sugar (kg/person/year), and among the countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei, available sugar constitute 10-15% of total daily intake of calories. Thus, more concerted education efforts should be made for the role of stevia extract in replacing free or added sugar by industry and consumers,” said Lin.
Lin thinks that the role of GSI in educating either consumers or health professionals on steviaextract is to continue supporting communications and research in generating science-based evidence about this natural origin sweetener, with the goal of reducing industry and consumer reliance on the use of caloric sweeteners in foods and beverages.
For Dr. Lin, replacing calorie sweeteners with zero-calorie stevia extract in the diets of population groups could be a worthwhile alternative measure.
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.