Japan is using the natural sweetener stevia in food and beverage products, while here in the U.S. it is illegal.
I’ve read that the Coca-Cola company has expressed a strong interest in producing drinks with stevia. But they cannot do so because the FDA refuses to approve stevia as a food and beverage ingredient. The FDA states that current information is not sufficient to prove stevia safe as an ingredient in food products. Yet, they continue to allow aspartame to be added to our foods despite the FDA’s own findings that it is unsafe. Some stevia supporters feel the FDA’s agenda is to protect the profits of aspartame. It is their strong belief that the FDA fears products with stevia will harm the sales of products with aspartame. Could there be some truth to this?
Let’s compare the two sweeteners.
Stevia is an all-natural herbal sweetener with virtually no calories. It is much sweeter than sugar and has none of the unhealthy flaws that sugar has. It is low glycemic and will not raise blood sugar levels. It can be consumed by many diabetics, however, please consult your doctor on this issue. Although it has a slight aftertaste, it is a popular natural sugar alternative. Stevia has been thoroughly tested around the world and found to be non-toxic. It has been safely consumed for the past 25 years in Japan. Early studies from the 1980’s did show there was a possibility that stevia caused cancer and infertility. While anything can cause problems when eaten in large amounts, there is currently no compelling evidence that stevia actually causes cancer or infertility when consumed in reasonable quantities. In fact, incidences of cancer in Japan is very low despite the fact that stevia has been used there for over 25 years. Likewise, as far as I can tell, there is no actual evidence in Japan indicating that stevia causes infertility.
Aspartame (aka NutraSweet) is a low-calorie sweetener used in a variety of foods and drinks. It is a dangerous chemical food additive. While NutraSweet claims that aspartame is completely safe, research tells us that it may trigger weight gain, memory loss, anxiety, migraines, birth defects including mental retardation, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Alzheimer’s, brain damage, depression, suicidal tendencies, and even death … just to name a few. Health problems caused by aspartame are commonly misdiagnosed. If you ever go to the doctor with symptoms for which can’t be found a cause, take a look at your diet. Are you consuming aspartame?
Despite the differences between these two sugar alternatives, the FDA has only approved stevia as an ingredient in dietary supplements while aspartame has been approved to be added to any and all foods and drinks.