IMHO, Truvia is a black-op being used to associate itself with true Stevia and to scare people away from true Stevia to the point where they will beg the government to completely ban Stevia altogether.
Found this website and copied and pasted the text from the page.
I am collecting data on possible negative Truvia sweetener side effects. Since the FDA recently approved Truvia as a sweetener, it is sold in sachets.
Another reader named Susan wrote: “I started using Truvia in an effort to get myself off of Sweet and Low. Actually I needed 1 1/2 packets to equal one S&L. I took it for about 3 weeks and then started having symptoms which at first I didn’t relate to the Truvia.”
“First symptom was bad breath. Next one was back, neck and shoulder pain. I’m an avid tennis player so that was a problem for me. I went to my chiropractor a number of times and although I got temporary relief, it always returned. Finally it dawned on me that the only thing I was doing differently was using the Truvia. I stopped and within 48 hours all pains stopped and my breath problems disappeared. Clearly there is something in Truvia that I can’t handle. I thought I was doing something good for my body but in this case I was wrong.”
Chris wrote: “I have never had a bad reaction to Stevia so I tried the new product “Truvia”. I put it into my coffee in the morning for a couple of weeks and I seemed to be fine. However, I baked a pie with it, (cooking it and using a larger quantity of Truvia). Within 10 mins of eating a piece of the pie I had a severe mental reaction. My mouth began to itch, and I broke out in hives. I am highly sensitive to mold and yeast and this is the reaction I usually get from a heavy mold or yeast exposure. Therefore, I assumed my reaction was possibly from the yeast that is used to ferment the Erythritol or perhaps the Erythritol itself.not sure. But I will not be using it again!”
I have done some Googling and came up with this:
..Truvia side effects..
“I bought some Truvia at the supermarket. It’s a new sugar-substitute made from stevia and erythritol. I use stevia regularly to sweeten cocoa with no apparent side-effects. I was a bit cautious about consuming erythritol because I generally do not tolerate sugar alcohols. So I only used one packet of Truvia at a time, and usually only once a day. Then I used it twice a day and the side-effects showed up. I suffered some gas and diarrhea. Immediately I stopped using Truvia and went back to using plain stevia (which also can be purchased in packets). That was four days ago and the Truvia side-effects have not stopped.”
This posting is worrying on many levels. Firstly, people seem to think that Truvia is made of Stevia + Erythritol, which is only true if you stretch the truth a bit! Because Stevia is an extract of half a dozen natural steviosides (glycosides), and Truvia is chemically pure Rebaudioside A, derived from genetically modified plants.
Not to mention the side effects of Erythritol, which is a “sugar alcohol” made by fermenting glucose with a yeast. I hope her alleged Truvia side effects are merely imaginary, because side effects that linger for four days are not good..
..Truvia adverse effects..
“I tried it. The taste was fine and all, but it seemed to spark some crazy carb cravings in me. It actually took me a few days to figure out it was the truvia.”
Hm. “crazy carb cravings” are not exactly good when trying to lose weight using a zero-calorie sweetener..
..Truvia bad effects..
I tried truvia also. It made me feel extremely tired, and I felt ill all day. The feeling was different than anything I had experienced before. It did not taste very good in my coffee either, tasted bitter and just nasty. When I tried two packets the side effects became more pronounced with added abdominal cramps and very loose stools and lasted all day. I E-mailed the company and told them what I thought of their marketing ploy of truvia as a “natural sweetner” too. Needless to say I have received no reply. I do not perceive erythritol as a natural substance. On their website they NEVER write exactly how they make or THEIR source of erythritol. Char Downs
I have been using Truvia for about a week now. I use about 4-8 packets a day, mostly in the morning, in my coffee. For years I have used Splenda but I have wanted to try a healthier option. Ever since I have used Truvia I too have had bad side effects. I have had bad abdominal cramps. At times it has been pretty painful, feeling like trapped gas. I have also been constipated. I will not use this product anymore. I am a healthy 28 years old and I eat healthy everyday so I can only associate these new problems with Truvia. Thanks for the info on your website. Jennifer Tuscany
..Truvia and metallic taste..
Dear Sarah – Thank you for collecting this important information. I, too, wanted to use a “healthier” alternative to Splenda. Using 2 or 3 packets per day seemed reasonable. After three days I began having a terrible taste in my mouth whenever I ate or drank anything. It was a combination of a metallic and detergent sensation – awful! My husband made the connection with the Truvia and I stopped it all together. 24 hours in I still have the problem, but am hoping for resolution soon. A few teaspoons of raw sugar can’t be that bad for me. Again my thanks! Anne
..Truvia side effects..
I just found your web site and want to report what happened to me this morning. Someone had put Truvia in our Splenda bin at work and I decided to try some in my coffee. The first one didn’t sweeten the coffee enough so I put a second packet in and it was fine. Not long after starting to drink the coffee, I found myself getting groggy at my desk. It was like I had eaten a large lunch and was falling asleep from it. Except that it was early morning and I had only had half a bagel, an apple, and orange juice for breakfast. As I drank more coffee it got worse. I could not focus on what I was doing for any length of time. I decided I needed a second coffee to wake up. This time I just used Splenda which doesn’t affect me and within a little while I started to come out of the haze. It is a few hours later now and I seem to be back to normal.John Karam, Sr. Programmer/Analyst, Friendly Ice Cream Corporation
..Truvia adverse effects..
I tried Truvia about a month ago. I developed mouth sores which I thought was from my increased use of tomatoes this time of year. I stopped the Truvia as I suspected this new substance. I don’t like stevia and I found the taste of Truvia to be good. Today I tried 3 packets of Truvia again and my mouth erupted again. Won’t be trying that again. Just wanted to share this and was wondering if anyone else has had this kind of reaction. Karen Todd
..More side effects of Truvia..
I tried it for 3 months now. NO changes in my diet other than not using sugar and using truvia. Gained 15 pounds, loads of headaches and neck/shoulder pain. I called Truvia and they told me this was not a side effect, checked the internet and ooooo! I used stevia for years with no side effects, so there is something in this truvia that is no good! Gaining weight seems to be the opposite of what the point was!! Carol K
..Dangerous Truvia side effect?..
I went to google to lookup the side-effects of Truvia and came across your website. My story is a bit different from the other side-effects. After using Truvia for one week I ended up with the worst UTI I have ever had. The doctor said more than likely the artificial sweetner was the cause. This product should come with warnings! Pam Grubb
..Truvia and IBS..
I started using Truvia yesterday. I have IBS and within one hour of use, started having alot of abd pain. Then the next day, I had two packets again in my coffee. Within a few hours, the abdominals were going crazy, and had very loose diarrhea. How can they say its all natural? this tastes like Aspertame to me, yet I did not see this on the packet. I will have to trash this box. S. Miller
..Truvia and mouth sores..
Have recently (within the last 6-7 weeks) started using Truvia in a commercially prepared frozen product (one of my few vices!) that formerly was sweetened with Splenda. Developed strange mouth sores that lingered. Normally follow an organic, healthy diet and have not had this symptom. In a process of elimination, I realized yesterday that the only difference was that change/addition of Truvia, so I decided to Google Truvia side effects. The light was dawning that perhaps the one change I could document, Truvia, was contributing to the strange mouth sores (new for me). Tonight, found your commentary site and noted a similar response from a Karen Todd. Sounds like what I have been experiencing. No more of that particular vice – I’ll go back to my favorite sweetener – Xylitol. Back to the old adage – “don’t mess with Mother Nature…” Anonymous reader
..Truvia and bad taste..
I too tried Truvia, had an adverse response and found your website while googling Truvia’s side effects. Two days ago I bought some Blue Bunny “fudgecicles” sweetened with Truvia. I ate one in the car on the way home; it left a slightly bad taste in my mouth but once I popped in a piece of minty gum, the taste went away. That evening after dinner I ate another and then nothing I put in my mouth made it go away. I liken it to the “sucking on a rusty pipe” taste I get from some antibiotics. I’m coming up on 48 hours from the first one I ate and I still have the taste at the back of my tongue. I’m curious if anyone else has reported this symptom. Needless to say I’m returning or pitching those suckers!!! Thank you for any info you can provide! Penny Cherrix, Salt Lake City, Utah
..Truvia and mouth sores..
I have been trying to change my diet to lose weight and so switched from soda to low calorie vitamin water around three weeks ago. I begin to have serious mouth sores – my tongue was covered with canker sores and the roof of my mouth was irritated and blistered. I couldn’t figure it out – thought it might be stress. It continued but I noticed that it subsided on the weekends. I started looking for clues. The only time I drank the water – sweetened with Truvia – was during the week. I began to zero in more closely and I’m convinced the mouth sores are associated with the Truvia sweetened vitamin water. No more for me. Thanks for the website confirming my suspicions. Ann in Toledo
..Truvia and atrocious taste in the mouth..
Don’t know how old your posting is, but I was glad to find it to know I wasn’t nuts. I just started using Truvia two days ago–just one pack per day thank God because I, too, am getting the atrocious taste in my mouth now whenever I eat or drink anything at ALL! We can’t be the only ones. Why is this stuff still on the market. It’s repulsive!! Sue Phillips
..Truvia and back, neck and shoulder pain..
I am passing this along on behalf of my Mother. We had heard about Stevia and thought it worth trying Truvia. Bad mistake. When she started feeling awful and realized it was the Truvia, I started doing some research and found your site. I was shocked how her symptoms matched so many of those already on the site, but she had them all together at one time.
She began using Truvia as a substitute for sugar in beverages. After several days of moderate (1 packet per day) use, she began experiencing minor back, neck, and shoulder pain in the muscles and joints but at that time didn’t connect the pain with the Truvia. As she continued using the Truvia, she found the pain to be getting worse–severe in fact–and affecting more and more of her joints and muscles. In addition, she was starting to feel very sleepy all the time and was also beginning to feel very bloated. At that point we tried to figure out what was going on and realized that the only thing that had changed was her use of Truvia. The realization was based on noticing that her pains would peak, every time, 2 hours after consuming Truvia. She stopped the Truvia and within 2 day’s time, all the side-effects disappeared.
To me, that is the telling part. It took 2 days to clear the symptoms, i.e., clear the erythritol and rebaudioside A (or their metabolites?) from her system. Somebody needs to do a broad-based demographic study on how those things are cleared.
Until then, my advice is stay away from Truvia. It’s not safe and its release for public use is based on shoddy science, FDA incompetence and corporate avarice. Dave Landis
..Truvia and seriously upset stomach..
I have been using Truvia, everyday in my hot tea for about 2 weeks now. My stomach has been severely upset! Bloating, loose stools, cramps, sour stomach. I have not changed anything in my diet, except for using Truvia. I also decided to look up the side affects and am shocked and surprised of how many people have experienced the same thing! I will NOT continue using this. AnnaM. B..- Texas
..Truvia and severe migraines..
I am a diabetic who also suffers from frequent and severe migraine attacks. These attacks are definitely triggered by any foods or beverages containing Nutrasweet (aka: Equal) as an ingredient. Therefore, I have switched to buying products that are made exclusively with Splenda, and I strictly avoid eating or drinking anything that contains Nutrasweet.
Making this switch has proven to be a real life saver for me, and my migraines have definitely diminished. However, I recently decided to try Truvia since I had a coupon for it. Not only did I not like the yucky, sickenly sweet aftertaste and dry feeling it left in my mouth, but I found that within about 45 minutes of drinking some coffee I’d sweetened with Truvia, I felt a migraine starting to come on. No other apparent triggers for the migraine were evident that day, so I can only attribute its onset to the Truvia I had consumed.
I may try the Truvia one more time just to be certain that it was what actually triggered the migraine, but as I’m sure you can understand — once bitten, twice shy! I’m extremely hesitant to try it again. So…I’ll probably end up giving it all away to a friend and just sticking with my tried-and-true Splenda!!! Bridget Naylor in Easton, PA
..Truvia and severe insomnia..
I decided to try Truvia in place of splenda and have taken a total of 3 little packets on the first day of use spread out 1 in the morning and two in the later evening with my hot tea. I spent a horrible night of sleeplessness I DID NOT SLEEP AT ALL, I am extremely dizzy and my body aches in my neck and shoulders and my hands are numb, and I have a mind blowing headache. I have a MVP and all day my heart has been racing. I been trying to think all day what it is that could have caused all this I am a good sleeper nothing else in my diet had changed except this and I don’t drink. This sweetner needs to come with side effect warnings specially for people with heart conditions. I will not be taking this sweetner again and I hope the store takes the box back I am going back to splenda I have never had side effects with it of any kind. Just thought I would share my story I have been googling the sweetner and so far this is the only site I have found that has any side effect warning for this product. Chantel Douglas
..Truvia and pains, abdominal cramps and loose stools..
I, too had bad side effects from truvia.I thought I had eaten something with gluten in it or milk but that wasn’t the problem. I had tried the Truvia in my tea and within an hour I had bad pain, abdominal cramps and very loose stools.Never again….and it was something that was “natural” not by any means..it should come with warnings. Erythrital is not as natural as stated on package. Sharon M.
..Truvia and low blood sugar..
I have diabetes and have used Splenda for a long time. Thought I’d try Truvia but it affected my blood sugar very badly. My blood sugar very quickly became very low, which made me extremely light-headed and very dizzy for most of the day. Has anyone else had this reaction?. The first time I tried it I had an overall sick feeling and am about to dump all of it in the garbage. Susan Postlewait
..Truvia and diarreah..
I drink two cups of coffee daily. In the past I have used aspartame. Thought I would try Truvia. I have been using it for three days and yesterday(Saturday) probably used 4-5 packets of it. Last night I had a severe case of diarrhea. Since my wife and I ate the same thing the past few days I only assume that Truvia was the culprit. I will abstain from it and see if my stools return to normal in the next few days. Not certain that Truvia was the cause. Jerry–Kentucky
..Truvia and loose stools..
I have used Truvia a couple times. Each time has resulted in extremely loose stools. I have to use 2-3 packets in a large ice coffee in order to taste it. I am really disappointed because I wanted a natural sugar alternative with zero or few calories. I’m starting to think that I should just use the sugar and learn to use less. Steve
..Truvia and extreme stomach problems, bad taste..
I’ve tried Truvia and found that I have developed an extreme case of stomach problems.Notably cramps and diarrhea.Also had a bad taste in my mouth. I am not going to continue using this product nor am I going to recommend it to anyone….. Joe in Ocala, Fl
..Truvia and abdominal pain..
I started using Truvia yesterday. I have IBS and within one hour of use, started having alot of abd pain. Then the next day, I had two packets again in my coffee. Within a few hours, the abdominals were going crazy, and had very loose diarrhea.
How can they say its all natural? this tastes like Aspertame to me, yet I did not see this on the packet. I will have to trash this box. S. Miller
..Truvia and metallic, detergent taste..
I, too, wanted to use a “healthier” alternative to Splenda. Using 2 or 3 packets per day seemed reasonable. After three days I began having a terrible taste in my mouth whenever I ate or drank anything. It was a combination of a metallic and detergent sensation – awful! My husband made the connection with the Truvia and I stopped it all together. 24 hours in I still have the problem, but am hoping for resolution soon. A few teaspoons of raw sugar can’t be that bad for me. Anne
..Truvia and mouth sores..
Have recently (within the last 6-7 weeks) started using Truvia in a commercially prepared frozen product (one of my few vices!) that formerly was sweetened with Splenda.
Developed strange mouth sores that lingered. Normally follow an organic, healthy diet and have not had this symptom.
In a process of elimination, I realized yesterday that the only difference was that change/addition of Truvia, so I decided to Google Truvia side effects. The light was dawning that perhaps the one change I could document, Truvia, was contributing to the strange mouth sores (new for me).
Tonight, found your commentary site and noted a similar response from a Karen Todd. Sounds like what I have been experiencing.
No more of that particular vice – I’ll go back to my favorite sweetener – Xylitol.
Back to the old adage – “don’t mess with Mother Nature…” Anonymous reader
..Truvia and bad taste..
I too tried Truvia, had an adverse response and found your website while googling Truvia’s side effects. Two days ago I bought some Blue Bunny ‘fudgecicles’ sweetened with Truvia. I ate one in the car on the way home; it left a slightly bad taste in my mouth but once I popped in a piece of minty gum, the taste went away. That evening after dinner I ate another and then nothing I put in my mouth made it go away. I liken it to the ‘sucking on a rusty pipe’ taste I get from some antibiotics. I’m coming up on 48 hours from the first one I ate and I still have the taste at the back of my tongue. I’m curious if anyone else has reported this symptom. Needless to say I’m returning or pitching those suckers!!! Penny Cherrix – Salt Lake City, UT
..Truvia and bloating, constipation, hives and itching..
Two anonymous readers reported resp. bloating and constipation after using Truvia, and severe hives and itching. Sigh. And Stevia is STILL illegal!
This is our research on the alleged dangers of Truvia / adverse effects of Truvia and not medical advice!
Suggest new side effects: email@example.com
Holy shit! I found this info on another site. The Rebiana used in Truvia and Purevia contains ethanol and methanol!
Pure stevia is wonderful as it hs 0 calories, 0 carbs, and a 0 glycemic index and 100 nutrients.
I hesitate to mention this because you both seem sooo happy to find Truvia, but according to scientists who analyzed Truvia, it is 9/10 of 1% Rebiana and masking agent. It should be said that Rebiana is not an ingredient in the stevia plant, nor is it found in nature. It is produced by the action of chemicals and stringent alcohols on various stevia glycosides. Rebiana is simply the trade name Cargill gave their chemically derived product in 2008. The FDA “No Questions” letter states that Rebiana contains residues of ethanol and methanol. Rebiana is commonly confused with Rebaudioside-A (Reb-A). Reb-A is one of the 11 glycoside compounds naturally within the stevia leaf and is about 400 times sweeter than sugar. It is produced by the action of sunlight on the leaves. The other 99.1% of Truvia is erythritol, a sugar extracted from corn with alcohol(a sugar alcohol), which can be hard on the digestive system. Cargill has admitted that 30% of their corn is genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Truvia is essentially corn sugar, and is not really a stevia product.
But Truvia is not alone in their deception. PureVia is 8/10 of 1% Rebiana (even though they list it as Reb-A on their ingredients list) and 99.2% sugars, Sun Crystals is 96.5% table sugar, and Stevia in the Raw is 95.8% table sugar. All these “stevia products” are really just sugar products as well. Usually, when someone buys a “stevia product” they think they’re are getting a sugar substitute, but what they are really getting, at least with these products, are mainly just different forms of sugar, (and in a couple cases, mainly table sugar) at best.
I do use SweetLeaf Stevia. They are the only ones to use only pure water during the entire extraction process ( as opposed to chemicals and alcohols like other stevia companies), so the natural tase of leaf remains as well as the nutrients–at least in their dark liquids. I also use their powder, which has added inulin fiber, which feeds the good bacteria in the intestines, which in turn, strengthens the immune system. All forms of SweetLeaf Stevia retain stevia’s natural 0 calorie, 0 carb, and 0 glycemic index properties–I understand the only stevia product to retain all three of these properties.
I hope I didn’t bum you out too much! I loved the video–it was very entertaining!
COKE’S STEVIA (‘TRUVIA’) – WHAT’S REALLY IN IT?
Posted: 22 December 2008
An email to Betty…
I am concerned about Truvia. Truvia claims it is an extract of the stevia plant. However I am concerned that big pharma has added something so they can patent it. What is known about the process of getting Truvia from stevia? I know that Coca Cola is starting to use it even though FDA has not approved it. I don’t trust any of the big outfits including the FDA. If you have any information on this could you please send it to me. Thank you.
Dallas Van Wagoner, MD (retired)
Dear Doctor Van Wagoner,
I am just as concerned about it as you are. The Stevia leaf itself is safe. Somewhere I have all the studies. The FDA based their “not safe” on a study that was in reality an experiment in animal cruelty by a student, and funded by a chemical lab in Brazil that no one could find. If you get real stevia leaf, green, its safe and healthful. However, many times additives are added to it, like in Brazil they add the poisonous excitoneurotoxic carcinogenic aspartame to it.
Coke said they heard the people and they were going to use Stevia. However, I told everyone who mentioned it, they would not replace poisonous aspartame in Diet Coke, but rather they would just make a drink that had it to gain a part of the population who knew Diet Coke was deadly. That is what has come to pass. They said they will not replace the Diet Coke. Because its addictive and a cash cow they know addicted people would change to another product that had the poison in it and keep the addiction. Also, the symptoms from aspartame would disappear and they would know it was Diet coke that poisoned them.
Earlier reports said they could manipulate the stevia or genetically engineer the product. After I first read those I knew there might be “something” from the stevia plant but it wouldn’t be stevia, just some part of the plant to gain the use of part of the population.
I believe Truvia should be analyzed by independents to find out what it contains and studies done.
It says not approved by the FDA but remember that the FDA will do anything for industry, so expect it. Yes, actual stevia is GRAS but then when someone put it in tea the FDA made them take it out, and said it could only be put in herbal products because its a dietary supplement. Why a dietary supplement couldn’t be put in food is absurd. It’s okay to put aspartame in food and classified as an additive when its a neurotoxic drug and the medical text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic by H. J. Roberts, M.D., is 1000 pages of diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other horrors. An additive by law has to be inert, but then the FDA doesnn’t care about the law. It’s okay to put Splenda in food and its a chlorocarbon poison liberating chlorine, and was found on a China site under “insecticides”. They moved it over to sweeteners when we exposed it.http://www.wnho.net/splenda_chlorocarbon.htm
The FDA is just Big Pharma’s Washington Branch Office. They continue to approve poisons and if anyone knows aspartame is poison its the FDA who lies to the public. They are the very ones who tried to have the company indicted for fraud and revoked the petition for approval until Donald Rumsfeld used political chicanery to get it on the market. http://www.soundandfury.tv/pages/rumsfeld.html
Also, you are exactly right about the patent. That was the first thing that made me suspicious. You cannot patent a natural product, the green stevia leaf. So they have manipulated and added to it, and who in the world would believe Coke? After all the National Soft Drink Assn (now American Beverage) wrote a 30 page protest on aspartame that was added to the congressional record. They knew it was adulterated and they mentioned what Searle did to fix the studies like not using the right test so it wouldn’t pick up the aspartic acid. http://www.mpwhi.com/open_letter_dick_adamson.htm
Coke and Pepsi can’t hide from the fact they knew the gun was loaded. We boycott the soft drink companies for this reason. Why give them profit when they knew using aspartame would kill. That’s the reason they put it in the congressional record, because after protesting they lobbied for NutraSweet with full knowledge.
The only thing I can do is agree with everything you said, doctor. Truvia has to be tested with long term studies by independent researchers not industry. It has to be analyzed to know if this is another genetically engineered product like aspartame. Coke and Pepsi can take a good thing, pure Stevia, and make it into something that is not fit to drink. It worries me that if it tastes okay people will use it, and suffer the consequences. Is it going to be addictive to add to their profit? Will they add a small amount of aspartame to it and not label it? Every question has to be answered.
I happen to live in Atlanta, home of Coca Cola. I grew up on it. It was an entirely different product and they couldn’t leave well enough alone with citric acid but had to change to phosphoric acid which is cheaper. That’s why many people use Coke to clean their toilets, that’s what toilet bowl cleaner is, phosphoric acid. Think what it can do to the body. People ask me all the time why aspartame is still on the market with the background that is provable from the public records. I tell them for the same reason as tobacco, addiction, profit and greed. Think of the millions of babies who are murdered in their mother’s womb because aspartame is an abortifacient and teratogen, with not the decency of a warning for pregnant women. One woman drank Diet Coke through 3 pregnancies and had 3 autistic children. Do you think Coke cares? They knew it from the beginning.
I don’t believe Coke and Pepsi deserve one cent of profit for participating in the mass poisoning of consumers in the US and 100 countries of the world. I think everyone should boycott them. If they would use aspartame knowing the gun was loaded, why would anyone trust Coke with Truvia. When the FDA embargoed stevia years ago to please the manufacturers of aspartame, I fought for it – fought for what is healthy, the pure green stevia leaf. I would no more put Truvia in my mouth than I would aspartame. Coke and Pepsi blew it putting profit and greed before health with aspartame. How does the saying go, “Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me.”
So pure stevia with no additives is fine. Just Like Sugar is safe (http://www.justlikesugarinc.com) made with only chicory, orange peel, Vitamin C and Calcium. Before neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., (http://www.russellblaylockmd.com) would endorse it he insisted on it being analyzed. Then he wrote in his newsletter, The Blaylock Wellness Report, “Finally a safe sweetener”. Until Truvia is analyzed my personal opinion is continue to boycott Coke and Pepsi who have participated in the mass poisoning of the world with full knowledge. If you just have to have a cola regardless, go to Whole Foods. They make their own with citric acid and sugar. I do believe their aluminum cans should be changed to glass. I recommend using healthy drinks instead and Whole Foods has an aisle full of them. They ban aspartame and Splenda.
Also, notice that Pepsi has teamed up with a subsidiary of Merisant. Who is Merisant? A manufacturer of aspartame!!! The public should not be fooled again. They should demand the truth and absolutely, emphatic independent studies from unbiased researchers.
All my best,
Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum.
Founder, Mission Possible World Health International
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097
Aspartame Toxicity Center: http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame
Coca-Cola Could Launch Stevia Drink Ahead Of FDA GRAS
By Sarah Hills
Coca-Cola is expected to launch a drink sweetened with stevia in the US this week, according to reports, but there is still no word from the FDA on GRAS status.
Coca-Cola plans to market three flavors of a juice drink in its Odwalla line that contain the sweetener, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
And if it does, the move would intensify competition with rival drinks maker PepsiCo, which has already said it is poised to launch two drinks sweetened with stevia in the US – SoBe Life Water and Trop 50.
These are ready to launch as soon as it is given the green light by the Food and Drug Administraion (FDA).
Scott Williamson, spokesman for Coca-Cola North America, declined to comment on whether it was planning to launch a stevia sweetened drink in the US this week, or if it was prepared to do so without FDA GRAS.
However he told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “As we have said, we plan to continue to innovate with multiple products using the new sweetener.”
Coca-Cola has teamed up with Cargill to develop their own stevia-derived product called Truvia, while PepsiCo has partnered with the Whole Earth Sweetener Company (a subsidiary of Merisant) to produce its own brand called PureVia.
Merisant Company and Cargill have both notified the FDA that rebiana (the common name for high-purity Rebaudioside A from stevia) should have FDA GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for use in food and beverages. The outcome is pending and although some in the industry have said they expect an FDA decision on rebiana soon, an FDA spokesman recently told FoodNavigator-USA.com that there is no specific date for completion of its review.
This is because the GRAS notification program is a voluntary program and FDA does not have a legally mandated timeframe for completing the review of a GRAS notice.
Meanwhile stevia is already permitted for sale in the US as a dietary supplement on the basis of its low glycemic index.
Rebiana, or Reb-A, is the sweetest, purest part of the stevia leaf and reportedly about 200 times as sweet as sugar.
The US market for stevia is estimated to be worth about $60m, a figure analysts say could triple with FDA GRAS.
Stevia-based Sweeteners: FDA Approved After 10+ Years. So, Why Now?
By Kelly Campbell
What is Stevia?
Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild as a small shrub in parts of South America.
When extracted from the leaf of the stevia plant, Rebiana becomes the natural, non-caloric sweetener that has just recently been GRAS-approved by the FDA (“Generally Recognized As Safe”). What’s the big deal, you ask about whole food stevia extract?
History of Stevia – Banned by FDA in 1991
Well, in 1991, stevia was banned by the FDA – which stated that “toxicological information on stevia [was] inadequate to demonstrate stevia safety.”
Four years later, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act forced the FDA to permit it as a dietary supplement. Fast forward to December 2008: the FDA gave a “no objection” approval for GRAS status to Truvia® (developed by Cargill and The Coca-Cola Company) and PureVia® (developed by PepsiCo and the Whole Earth Sweetener Company, a subsidiary of Merisant – makers of aspartame), both of which are derived from the Stevia plant. They both contain Rebiana, or Rebaudioside A. The isolation process for Reb A results in a product that delivers the desired sweetness without a bitter aftertaste.
Pure Stevia Extract Versus Chemically-Refined Truvia® and PureVia®
Pure stevia extract must continue to be labeled as a “dietary supplement” because the FDA has not actually permitted the stevia plant itself to be used as a food additive, only the chemically-refined Reb A extract. All of the products containing pure stevia are forced to reside amongst the other supplements in any given health food store, not on the shelves where all the other foods and beverages are placed.
The pressure to approve a natural sweetener was also due, in part, to the myriad of adverse health risks being reported to the FDA by many who consumed artificial sweeteners, like aspartame (sold as NutriSweet® or Equal®), sucralose (sold as Splenda®), or saccharin (sold as Sweet ‘N Low®).
Regardless of its prior ban and classification of stevia, the FDA has no choice but to approve Truvia® and PureVia® when both Pepsi and Coca-Cola wanted to use the Rebiana-based sweeteners in their respective product lines. If the FDA decided not to approve them as safe food additives, then those particular bottles of Pepsi and Coke containing the herb would have only been accessible in the supplement aisle. Clearly, that would never happen!
Focus on Aspartame and Its Dangers
Aspartame is a molecule composed of three ingredients: 40% aspartic acid (an excitotoxin: as an isolate, a product that stimulates the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage), 10% methyl ester that immediately converts to methyl alcohol, which then breaks down to formaldehyde (embalming fluid) and formic acid (ant sting poison), and 50% phenylalanine, (as an isolate, a neurotoxin that lowers the seizure threshold and depletes serotonin, triggering psychiatric and behavioral problems). The molecule itself breaks down into multiple toxins, including diketopiperazine, an agent that triggered brain tumors in original studies. It’s important to note that the FDA has, to-date, received more complaints about adverse reactions to aspartame than any other food ingredient in the agency’s history. There is an enlightening documentary on the subject called Sweet Misery – The Truth About Aspartame which exposes Aspartame Dangers.
Focus on Truvia® and PureVia®
Consumers who shop in grocery stores and supermarkets will now find they have a healthier alternative to NutriSweet and other artificial sweeteners.
The two new products, Truvia® and PureVia®, could be patented because they are not 100% stevia extract, the first listed ingredient is Erythritol (a naturally fermented sugar alcohol), and Rebiana, as well as other “natural flavors.” Excessive consumption of Erythritol (over 80 grams per day) may result in digestive upset, diarrhea, and bloating.
Both of these sweeteners can be purchased in boxes of small packets. Truvia® is an ingredient in some new Coca-Cola products, within its’ Odwalla® line. PureVia® will be an ingredient in some new PepsiCo products, such as Sobe LifeWater and Trop50 – a light orange juice product.
“Although stevia today is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, rebiana [is] the first available sweetener that has been purified from the stevia plant. Unlike many existing stevia products, which generally contain [unrefined] extracts of the plant, rebiana is…consistent in quality,” said the Truvia® manufacturer, Cargill.
This is supposed to be great news for consumers, but it begs the question: Why did it take corporate giants like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola to get the FDA to finally provide consumers with a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners?
Answers to Questions on Aspartame & Artificial Sweeteners
The answer is found in multiple places.
First, look on the nutrition label of any so-called “diet” product or anything labeled ’sugar-free.” Unfortunately, many people believe they’re doing a service to their body by consuming these products, when in reality, they are doing much harm on a cellular level. Studies also confirm that people who consume artificial sweeteners actually tend to overeat because the artificial sweeteners “turn off” the part of your brain that let’s you know you’re full. And many people are of the mentality that because they are drinking “diet” soda, it’s okay to eat super-sized French fries. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Normally, when a significant quantity of carbohydrates are consumed, serotonin levels rise in the brain. This is manifested as a relaxed feeling after a meal. When aspartame is ingested with carbohydrates, such as having a sandwich with a diet drink, aspartame causes the brain to cease production of serotonin, meaning that the feeling of having had enough never materializes. You then eat more foods, many containing aspartame, and the cycle continues.” And because it is nearly impossible to avoid aspartame when consuming “diet” products, many people report adverse health conditions from its use.
Let me reiterate a point made earlier: The FDA has received more complaints about adverse reactions to aspartame than any other food ingredient in the agency’s history. (Yet, it’s still on the market in full force.)
Show Me The Money
The other part of the answer comes down to money, as most things concerning big corporations and government organizations do. “Monsanto’s profit from its NutraSweet Division was $993 million [back] in 1990.” Imagine what that number is today! And because stevia extract itself cannot be patented because it is a naturally grown plant – as opposed to an artificial sweetener created in a lab with chemicals – it was not a high priority of the FDA’s or any corporation’s because they were making tons of money selling their artificial sweeteners to manufacturers.
Aspartame alone is in over 10,000 consumer products. Now that those corporations have figured out how to patent a stevia alternative by creating their own blend of ingredients containing a derivative of the stevia plant, there’s money to be made.
The irony is that records indicate stevia extract and the leaves of the plant have been used since 1887 – when natural scientist, Antonio Bertoni first recorded its usage by native tribes – while artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, were passed through FDA approvals in no time.
We know that 100% organic stevia extract is safe and truly all-natural, there are no known stevia side effects. However, when giant corporations stand to gain by altering, or adding to, Mother Nature (and the FDA passes swift approval), proceed with some caution. If you decide to switch to Truvia® or PureVia®, or any of the other Rebiana-based sweeteners that are sure to come to market, be mindful of how they affect you. Each person reacts differently to foods, beverages and sweeteners. So, as with all things we put into our bodies, please use these products in moderation.
The Blaylock Wellness Report
I’ll leave you with this bit of advice from neurosurgeon and leading expert on excitotoxins, Russell Blaylock, M.D., on these Rebiana-based sweeteners. In The Blaylock Wellness Report, he says “Until Truvia® is analyzed, my personal opinion is continue to boycott Coke and Pepsi who have participated in the mass poisoning of the world with full knowledge (aspartame). If you just have to have a cola regardless, [have a natural cola made] with citric acid and sugar. I recommend using healthy drinks instead, and Whole Foods has an aisle full of them. They ban aspartame and Splenda®.”
FYI: the author uses the term “contract science” – which is basically outcomes-based research. So if you’re Cargill, you pay to have research done to SUPPORT your new chemical (food product), and only publish good news. We find lots of “contract science” in pharmaceuticals; Novartis pays for research on a Novartis drug… and VOILA! it’s all good. So, like pharma, the agribusiness giants also ‘fund’ their own research. We have to wait for problems to appear in the population before they will recall a product put out to market before any ‘real’ testing has been done. Just like the H1N1 vaccines; no research, total support from the World Health Organization, no benefit to people, and many dangerous and deadly side effects. Our best defense to these eugenicist greedy profit-mongering bastards is to keep informed, and tell everyone you can to avoid the products.
The Science Behind Truvia and PureVia Sweeteners (Rebiana)
By John Serrao
Feb 6, 2009
The FDA recently announced that they have cleared a new, zero calorie sweetener called rebaudioside A (rebiana) for sale in the US, calling it ‘safe for use in foods and beverages’.
As a result of this decision, two products featuring the new sweetener are coming to market – Truvia and PureVia. Truvia was jointly developed between the soft drink maker Coca-Cola and agribusiness giant Cargill while PureVia was developed by PepsiCo in partnership with artificial sweetener industry veteran Merisant (under the proxy Whole Earth Sweetener Company).
The Coca-Cola Company has already announced products, including Sprite Green and Odwalla Mojito Mambo and Pomegranate Strawberry Juices, that will be for sale in 2009 containing the additive Truvia. Not to be outdone, PepsiCo will put PureVia in Sobe Zero Calorie Life Water and Trop50 – a new low calorie orange juice slated for March 2009 release.
The idea of a real, zero calorie sweetener has been a goal of many agribusiness giants for some time but have Truvia and PureVia been adequately tested? Nutrition Wonderland has gone through the science surrounding these new sweeteners and spoken with some major industry players to get the scoop. We have found some positives and some serious negatives, which we will review here.
Starting From the Beginning
Truvia and PureVia contain mostly the same chemical formula, as you can see in our chart below. Both are mostly made of two sweeteners, erythritol and rebiana (called Reb A in PureVia). Erythritol is a substitute low calorie sugar-alcohol sweetener developed by the French company Cerestar who was later purchased byCargill. Sugar-alcohols are not really sugars; they require adding hydrogen to sugar molecules so the body ignores them. Erythritol is a favorite because it supposedly does not cause as many stomach aches as other similar sweeteners.
It was FDA approved back in 2001 based on contract science, some of which was sponsored by Cerestaritself [1,2]. The World Health Organization also reviewed erythritol and found it to be safe. Little other science exists on the subject.
We could spend more time on erythritol but there is not much new to report about it. It has not been extensively used (up until now), it has not been extensively studied and it was approved quite awhile ago now. It is a bit of a sweetener dark horse, if you will.
PureVia, but not Truvia, adds in another sweetener called isomaltulose – another supposedly safe sweetener with just a little contract science behind it. It is derived from regular sucrose to create a sweetener with a longer sustained energy release in the body. The FDA gave this one a green light back in 2006 at the behest of German sugar giant Sudzucker AG. Again, it has seen very little use in the American food supply and we just don’t know very much about it scientifically beyond the fact that it does not harm teeth and does not cause stomach aches.
The other major component of Truvia/PureVia, rebiana, comes from a small herb plant called stevia. Stevia originally comes to us from South America – where it has been used medicinally for centuries by indigenous people. Rebiana sweeteners represent the first commercial applications of stevia in the United States but not the first in the world. Another sweetener derived from stevia – called stevioside – was developed by the Japanese in the late 1970s and now controls 40% of the sweetener market in Japan. Consequently, what we scientifically know about stevia is mostly based on stevioside, not rebiana – a problem we will see throughout this discussion.
The Concensus on Stevioside
The science we do have about stevia has only come about recently – in the last 20 years or so. Despite very few (if any) reports of adverse reactions in the Japanese population from stevioside, some studies found that it was mutagenic, that is it could mutate the DNA of rats. These findings were later dismissed in scientific literature multiple times when it was shown only extremely large amounts – far larger than anyone could consume – created the mutation.
Subsequent study of stevioside’s medical effects have found it confers significant health benefits to those who use it medicinally. Improved immune system regulation [1,2,3] and improve glucose absorption in the body [1,2], have led some researchers to suggest stevioside:
“may have the potential of becoming a new antidiabetic drug for use in type 2 diabetes”
Even further, stevioside helps regulate cholesterol and triglycerides [1,2], which means it may treat metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X).
On the whole, these findings suggest stevioside has major benefits but what about rebiana?
The Rouge Rebiana
If you follow any of those study links above, they will dump you into the PubMed scientific database. The US National Institute of Health (NIH) requires all studies they fund (which is a considerable number) to publish their studies into this database. Logically, we first looked for Truvia and PureVia here.
A search for either sweetener nets zero search results, as of February 2009 (feel free to try it yourself, click here) – despite all the stevioside research. However, searching for rebiana nets us 49 very recent results, presumably the ones the FDA used to clear this product (compared to 181 for stevioside).
Diving through the search results leads us to a special supplementary release in July 2008 by The Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal called “Rebaudioside A: An Assessment of Safety”. As an aside, it should be noted this release perfectly coincided with Coca-Cola’s first PR campaign that released Truvia to the public with a lavish promotion at Rockefeller Center in New York City last summer. Below is some footage of the event:
(note – video no longer available on YouTube.)
As for the science in this tome, we find a total of 11 research articles published about rebiana. One of them [#12] is a review of the toxicity of stevioside , which, as we covered above, we declared safe by a decent battery of tests. Two others [#2, #11] deal with the development of rebiana from the stevia plant, bothcasually suggesting the toxicology information of stevioside should equally apply to rebiana – a dubious claim at best considering how little research has been done on the later.
However, another study in this group [#5] actually demonstrates that the two sweeteners are relatively similar. They based this statement on how quickly they are absorbed by the body as you can see in this chart:
While it seems convincing, this report did not use a control group or use any kind of statistical analysis to determine if the slight difference in absorption between the two sweeteners was statistically significant. Further, the study used about 20% (.8 mg/kg) more rebiana than stevioside in its test, a factor that is sure to skew results. Their observations also omitted an important data point when observing stevioside at the critical 1 hour mark. Not to mention, the time schedule on the main graph in the report is misleadingly constructed to show each observation as having occurred in hourly succession (when in fact no observations were made in hours 2 or 3).
This science is very poor in quality and, not surprisingly, funded by Cargill.
Another one of the studies [#4] dealt directly with the toxicity of rebiana by super-dosing rats and observing them. Most rats ended up eating significantly less food and consequently attaining lower body weight as they aged, consistent with other megadose sweetener studies. But, most importantly, the rats did not die from rebiana so we could count that as a good thing. Methodology in this study was far more convincing than the previous study – controls were used and statistical significance was achieved. Still, the result of this study – that rebiana produces appetite suppression, should be followed up with additional study, something the authors do not call for. Again, you should note that this study was funded by Cargill which may have influenced the lack of a call for additional study, though this is a minor critique.
Rebiana: The Human Studies
Two of the remaining studies deal with people instead of mice, so they should carry the most weight in your mind. The first, [#6 in rebiana study supplement] tested rebiana against blood pressure and found high dosed patients maintain the same blood pressure in a randomized, double-blind placebo trial, the best type to use. We can say a few bad things about this study but nothing ridiculously major; it was only 4 weeks long, it did not test against people who already have high blood pressure (a substantial portion of the population), and, again, Cargill funded the study. Overall, this is encouraging but it is only the first study of its kind so its hard to draw too much from it
The other human study deals with rebiana and how it effects people with type II diabetes. The study uses a megadose, 7X what a heavy user would probably ingest, and followed a little more than 100 patients for about 4 months. Results of this placebo study show no severe effects on blood pressure or blood sugar. However, there was one case of hyperglycemia – that is too much glucose in the blood stream – but in a group of diabetics, something like this seems likely to happen during a 4 month period of time. And let’s not forget to mention that some Cargill money managed to squeeze its way into the study.
In a way, this particular finding was a bit of a disappointment. There was hope that rebiana would treat diabetes much like it is suspected stevioside can but this is the second study to disprove that. The first study on this topic showed that rebiana was not able to deliver any of the metabolic syndrome reducing effects of stevioside, so a consensus is forming. A few others studies show rebiana helps regulate glucose, but there is still much more investigation necessary.
The studies we have about rebiana – and consequently Truvia and PureVia – are a mixed bag. As we showed, some demonstrate safety, some show risk.
None really deal with potential side effects, an issue with a product that will find its way deep into the food supply. Most surprisingly though, absolutely no published studies have actually tested Truvia or PureVia themselves.
This is probably because the sweeteners themselves were not ready in advance to be tested but we must ask why the American public is being silently asked to bear that burden.
It would appear rebiana (along with erythiritol and isomaltulose) present little risk to people with high blood pressure and type II diabetes but in the world of science, your opinions are an extension of the crowd. In a sense, you are only as good as those that have come before you. With rebiana, there is no concensus, no crowd – so there is no way we can give any type of authoritative opinion on it yet. The crowds surrounding erythiritol and isomaltulose are even more sparse.
That’s all a problem with a new product and one the makers of Truvia and PureVia have done very little to assuage. While most of these studies appear to verify that rebiana et al., do not have toxic effects, they are all very short term and funded exclusively by industry.
It is beyond unlikely that any study funded by Cargill is going to show rebiana and Truvia to be anything but the safest sweetener ever to arrive on planet earth.
Having said that, some of their studies do appear to demonstrate safety of rebiana but it so hard for us to believe these results with so much of their own money on the table.
Now, lets give Truvia and PureVia a little credit here. This is the first sweetener product(s) developed by an agribusiness interest that is not purely a chemical. A real plant is involved here and that is the first time that has ever happened. Not only that, the stevia plant shows some rather amazing medical benefits. So, for a brief moment, let us congratulate Cargill and Merisant for at least starting with something very beneficial found in nature. That is a MAJOR step in the right direction.
Still, major questions persist. When will Truvia or PureVia actually be tested? How can we trust science sponsored by the same people who will gain from its results? What makes this better than just using regular old stevia?
In our next and final view of Truvia and PureVia, we will talk about how all of this science relates to stevia’s controversial past, discuss some of our conversations (and lack thereof) with government/NGO players and finally present our view on the best way forward with these sweeteners.
Truvia and PureVia: The Controversy of Stevia
Feb 26, 2009
In our final view of Truvia and PureVia, we take a look at the political history of stevia – the base of rebiana, opinions of some of the major players in this debate and offer our final views on the subject.
A History Spent in the Shadows
The plant stevia provides the rebiana sweetener found in both Truvia and PureVia. Originally, stevia was used, in its whole leaf form, as a prized sweetener of the indigenous Guarani people throughout Paraguay in South America. It did not find fame in the modern, western food supply until Japan began cultivating and using it in diet soft drinks (including Diet Coke) during the 1970s, a process that continues today. Building on that success, stevia began to be sold throughout the world, including the United States, during the 1980s. Its path from here has since become mired in controversy.
Stevia was officially banned from sale in the US as a sweetener in 1991, driven from the market after an anonymous safety petition led the FDA to conclude that it was an unsafe food additive. The FDA has declined to release the petitioner’s affiliation, although it is suspected to be someone with links to aspartame – a popular artificial sweetener that had just come to market in the 1990s.
Because of the 1991 decision, an ‘Import Alert‘ was then issued by the FDA maintaining that information regarding stevia leaves – the same source of Truvia and PureVia – was [emphasis mine]:
“…inadequate to demonstrate its safety as a food additive or to affirm its status as GRAS” (GRAS = Generally Recognized as Safe, FDA speak for labeling that recognizes a product’s safety).
This position is at odds with just about every other natural food in existence. Because the FDA has no mandate to test real foods, it makes little sense why this decision was made. Any food ‘in common use’ before 1958 was automatically grandfathered into being deemed GRAS, and so – with stevia’s history of being safely used as a sweetener in South America for centuries – it clearly qualified.
We contacted the FDA but they declined to comment on this position.
A Change in Position
Stevia was completely banned from the United States until 1994, when the the Congress passed legislation that allowed stevia to be used solely as, ‘an herbal supplement’. Interestingly though, the sweetener was still banned from being sold as a sweetener. This contradictory stance established in 1994 – where stevia remained banned from sale as a sweetener but remained for sale as a supplement – continues clear into today.
(Note: Just wait… I think we may see an attempt to ban supplements this year as part of Codex Alimentarius)
The closest we can get to a followup opinion from the FDA on the matter doesn’t come for another 8 years. From the FDA’s now discontinued magazine named, appropriately enough, “FDA Consumer Magazine“, this was the only other mention of stevia on the FDA’s website for almost 15 years [emphasis mine]:
“Another product, stevia, is derived from a South American shrub. Though it can impart a sweet taste to foods, it cannot be sold as a sweetener because FDA considers it an unapproved food additive. “The safety of stevia has been questioned by published studies,” says Martha Peiperl, a consumer safety officer in FDA’s Office of Premarket Approval. “And no one has ever provided FDA with adequate evidence that the substance [stevia] is safe.” Under provisions of 1994 legislation, however, stevia can be sold as a “dietary supplement,” though it cannot be promoted as a sweetener.
(Note: REALITY CHECK: They have approved MERCURY in vaccines and high-fructose corn syrup, they LOVE aspartame, they think it’s ok for us to be dosed with fluoride…. but a natural organic plant is ‘unapproved’. Hello??? Eugenicists much?)
Ms. Peiperl of the FDA is referring to the idea that one of the two sweeteners in stevia called steviocide, might cause mutations in the DNA of people who eat it regularly. As we reported in our scientific review of rebiana, the studies that suggested stevia was mutagenic were widely dismissed because the amount of stevia required to cause the defect was so far in excess of what anyone could ever possibly consume.
Stranger still, after a large review of scientific literature, the World Health Organization declared in 2006 that stevia is completely safe and even potentially beneficial for people with hypertension (WHO). That opinion was further codified at the 69th annual JEFCA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) conference (.pdf link), where stevia was recognized as being non-mutagenic.
Clearly, quite a few scientists could have “provided FDA with adequate evidence that the substance [stevia] is safe” in Ms. Peiperl’s words. The only problem was that the FDA never asked to reevaluate stevia, for what are likely political reasons from what we have seen so far.
Another Policy Switch
In December 2008. the FDA opened yet another chapter in this debate and declared that rebaudioside A (rebiana) – the other sweetener found in stevia – was GRAS. Somehow, ABC News broke this story:
From the official GRAS approval letter:
The subject of the notice is rebaudioside A purified from Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni. The notice informs FDA of the view of Cargill, Incorporated (Cargill) that rebaudioside A is GRAS, through scientific procedures, for use as a general-purpose sweetener in foods, excluding meat and poultry products, provided that food standards of identity do not preclude such use, at levels determined by current good manufacturing practices (cGMP).
Obviously aware of yet another policy contradiction, the FDA puts out a one-line statement in the GRAS notice about stevia, the plant that remains banned as a sweetener [emphasis mine]:
The rebaudioside A that is the subject of GRAS Notice No. GRN 000253 is a highly purified component of the stevia plant. As such, FDA notes that the GRAS notice for the use of a specific purified component of stevia, such as rebaudioside A, and FDA’s response do not necessarily apply to the uses of other stevia products.
The wording of this final statement here is especially interesting because the FDA is leaving the door open for yet further interpretation. If this decision ‘does not necessarily apply’ to other uses of Stevia, companies that want to use stevia in their products may be able to petition the FDA for yet another policy change. Regardless, despite rebiana being approved as GRAS, stevia can still only be sold as a dietary supplement, not as a sweetener.
From the Peanut Gallery…
Nutrition Wonderland repeatedly tried to get in touch with different offices inside of the FDA to clarify their contradictory positions regarding stevia and rebiana but our calls were never returned. Without a direct comment from the FDA, we can only speculate as to what was happening with regard to their policy – but that position really isn’t that hard to ascertain from the evidence.
Based on the financiers of the rebiana studies (Cargill and Coca-Cola), the speed with which this decision was made and the history of stevia, we are left to conclude that rebiana- and consequently Truvia and PureVia – were simply approved because of who petitioned the FDA.
Now, the FDA’s ruling does not mean that rebiana is not safe – but then again we don’t know that it is completely safe. It’s hard what to know here. We do know one thing though – with giants like Coca-Cola, Cargill, PepsiCo and Merisant banging at the FDA’s door, it becomes pretty obvious that there was little chance rebiana would be kept out of the market, regardless of what the science said. The FDA’s position on stevia has never (well, post 1991 at least) sided with science. This decision brings into question many of the other food additives that the FDA has approved, namely aspartame – whose makers may have been active in getting stevia banned.
Nutrition Wonderland also contacted the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a reputable food watchdog, who was cautiously optimistic about Truvia back in June 2008 in a WebMD article. They have since dramatically reversed their position based largely upon new information from a report put out by UCLA showing why rebiana and stevia in general is unsafe. You can view it below:
We read over its arguments as to why rebiana is unsafe in this report but they are not as convincing as CSPI would have you believe. While rebiana is not fully tested, this report finds fault with nearly every study published to date on the subject of stevia. Its hard to buy into the idea that this much bad science was performed. Nutrition Wonderland has extreme doubts about the Truvia-sponsored science we thoroughly discussed in our earlier review but the safety of stevioside seems well proven, based on its use in Japan for over 30 years. Additionally, this report may have been performed at the behest of CSPI itself, making us leery of its findings as much as we are leery of Cargill’s.
We contacted the CSPI repeatedly to make sense of their changing positions but they have not made a public statement to us regarding this situation.
Final Words about Stevia > Rebiana > Truvia/PureVia
In general with food, we see a destructive pattern with each refined product brought onto the market place. Whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease while refined grains increase it. The fructose in honey helps the body, while the fructose in HFCS has been linked to obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance. Cold pressed natural oils dramatically reduce inflammation, while heavily refined hydrogenated oils promote inflammation – and chronic disease. Why refined rebiana would be better for us than the whole leaf stevia has not been explained.
There is some reason to think extracts of stevia, specifically stevioside, could prove extremely beneficial in a refined form but Truvia and PureVia do not contain any of that material.
Both sweeteners are proprietary formulas containing the largely untested rebiana and large amounts of erythritol, another non-caloric sweetening agent. In fact, by volume, Truvia and PureVia have more erythritol than they do rebiana. There is still no science testing Truvia and PureVia themselves, which would show how these two sweeteners (rebiana and erythritol) metabolize together.
More than anything, Nutrition Wonderland strongly believes these sweeteners were developed so that the companies involved, especially Cargill and Merisant, could own the intellectual property behind stevia – in effect owning the food.
Cargill released some justification for all this trouble, if you don’t mind very corporate video:
(Note: video no longer available on YouTube).
It would have been far easier to just use stevia for commercial food production – but, since you cannot patent a natural food, this opportunity was overlooked in our opinion. This pattern of using the intellectual property of food for profit is well established across the 21st century agribusiness industry, modeled after highly successful power plays by chemical giants in the sale of GMO seeds.
We have doubts about the sponsored science involved, doubts about the motive of this product in general and deep suspicions as to why stevia remains banned from the marketplace. Truvia and PureVia may in fact be perfectly safe – and preliminary science shows that to be the case – but far more research on these new sweeteners is required. Even still, we will probably never know the truth. It is now the American public’s turn to be the guinea pigs for another agribusiness experiment. You can easily opt out of this debate – as we are – by enjoying any of these safe sweetening options:
* regular stevia sweetener ’supplements’
* blackstrap molasses (unrefined)
* organic agave nectar
* brown “turbinado” cane sugar (avoid brown sugar from sugar beets as they are now GMO)
(Note: We use Xylitol in our house… it’s pretty good. There’s a product available called XylitolPlus – which is a mix of Stevia and Xylitol which we like better than either Stevia or Xylitol by themselves. YMMV.)
UPDATE 1, 20 December 08: Zerose is the Cargill synthesized artificial sweetener made from stevia and erythritol. Zsweet is a similar product in UK and EU. There are numerous scientific studies presenting that this, and related products such as Truvia, may lead to calcium, potassium and phosphate loss with calcification (and lesions) in the kidneys (just like Splenda) and bowel alterations. Please read more.
b) Increased calcium loss, along with potassium, and phosphate (from what we discovered currently) may have a severe, long-term consequence on kidney function by causing or increasing renal lesions.
c) Noted increases in urinary calcium, potassium, etc. reflects these constituents being released into the blood stream from moderate intake of Erythritol (PROCESSED REBIANA), and that this increase
accumulates in the kidneys, causing calcification and lesions. We found testing which showed weight changes in animal kidneys upon examination, with developing lesions.
Look at the blatant outright doublethink on PureVia’s website. It quotes Gabirelle Reece saying “Using an artificial sweetener is not in my nature.” Hey bimbo, PureVia IS an artificial sweetener. It’s GMO corn sugar with a dash of ethanol-treated rebiana. Do you honestly like the fact that you are consuming JET FUEL COMPONENTS?!
And the product’s slogan is even more outrageous with the doublethink. “All natuiral PureVia. Nothing to hide.”Oh yeah? Then how do you explain THIS?!
From their own website:
PureVia only contains natural ingredients. The pure Reb A from the stevia plant that sweetens PureVia starts with stevia leaves, which are first milled and then steeped in water using a brewing method that is similar to brewing tea. The resulting stevia extract is then further purified to separate the Reb A through a proprietary technology using ethanol. PureCircle uses ethanol, made naturally from sugar cane, and does not use methanol to purify Reb A.
There it is. They admit on their own freakin’ website to using a jet fuel component to “purify” Reb A.