Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Stevia Product Approved by FDA for U.S. Use

Stevia Product Approved by FDA for U.S. Use

Coke and Pepsi are about to jump on a newly approved ingredient to sweeten diet sodas

Are you Team Diet Coke or Team Diet Pepsi?

The Coke or Pepsi battle may have a new argument.

The Food and Drug Administration has allowed beverage manufacturers to use PureCircle’s high-purity stevia, Reb D, to sweeten products, according to Food Navigator. This change could have significant effects on the Coke and Pepsi, potentially pushing them into a product battle: the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are both PureCircle clients, which means it is likely that they will consider adding the stevia product to their drinks.

Malaysia-based PureCircle is the world’s largest supplier of stevia and has recently been working specifically on U.S. products. It claims that high-purity stevia like Reb D is about 270 times sweeter than sugar, making it a more desirable taste profile. PepsiCo already has a stevia supply agreement with PureCircle until June 2014, and the company already has a patent pending for Reb D in its diet soft drinks instead of an earlier stevia product, Rebaudioside A. On the other hand, the Coca-Cola Company announced last Monday is plan to seek Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) approval for a different stevia sweetener, Rebaudioside X. On June 27, Coca-Cola Life with stevia was launched in Argentina.

Although Reb D costs more than other stevia sweeteners, PureCircle is sure of its success.


Liz On Food

A friend recently asked me about stevia, which is a naturally sweet plant native to Central and South America. In the United States, stevia has been marketed as a dietary supplement for years because, until recently, it did not have approval as for use as a food ingredient. However, a purified extract of stevia, rebaudioside A (trade name Rebiana), was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2008 as a general purpose sweetener for use in foods. Truvia is the consumer brand for a food sweetener made from Rebiana - being marketed by Cargill and Coca-Cola. PureVia is the consumer brand for Whole Earth Sweetener Company's Rebiana, which is a supplier to PepsiCo. Both Truvia and PureVia are available as sugar packets, similar to other non-nutritive sweeteners. Several low-calorie and calorie-reduced beverages have been launched under Sprite, Odwalla, SoBe and Tropicana brands.

The plant Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a member of the Compositae (astor or sunflower) family, which includes marigolds, dandelions, chrysanthemums, zinnias, artichokes, lettuce and endive. The sweetness in stevia comes from glycosides (technically a molecule comprised of a sugar attached to another component) that are natural constituents of the plant's leaves. In fact, stevia leaves contain at least ten different glycosides, the major ones being stevioside and rebaudioside A. Of note, the FDA food ingredient approval is for the purified extract of rebaudioside A however, dietary supplement versions of stevia may contain other glycosides.

The regulatory history of stevia is an interesting tale. Steviol glycosides are used to sweeten a number of foods in China, Japan, and South America. Also, Stevia leaves are used to prepare sweetened tea in numerous countries. However, concerns about safety prompted the FDA to ban imports of stevia from 1991 to 1994 , which ruled the herbal sweetener an "unsafe food additive." The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 formed the impetus for the FDA to permit stevia to be marketed as a dietary supplement (not as a food additive). In 1999, the European Commission banned the use of stevia in foods marketed in the European Union. But the World Health Organization published an extensive literature review of stevioside and rebaudioside A in 2006 that concluded stevioside and rebaudioside A are not toxic or carcinogenic at levels consumed by humans. The report also noted that stevioside has shown some evidence of pharmacological effects in patients with hypertension or with type-2 diabetes but indicated more research is needed. And the potential therapeutic aspects may play into a future regulatory challenge. According to a March 16, 2009, Food Product Design article, "A Citizen’s Petition was filed with FDA in late 2008 to prevent the addition of steviol glycosides to foods because of the drug status alleged for the sweeteners. [The] FDA is also attempting to implement recent legislation that more broadly prohibits the addition of drugs to foods. FDA’s resolutions of these two matters could impact the future food uses of steviol glycosides."

In the mean time, the approval of Rebiana for use as a general purpose sweetener offers another non-nutritive sweetener option for U.S. consumers.

Tags: dietary supplements, FDA, low-calorie sweeteners, Rebiana, stevia, Truvia

Comments

A friend recently asked me about stevia, which is a naturally sweet plant native to Central and South America. In the United States, stevia has been marketed as a dietary supplement for years because, until recently, it did not have approval as for use as a food ingredient. However, a purified extract of stevia, rebaudioside A (trade name Rebiana), was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2008 as a general purpose sweetener for use in foods. Truvia is the consumer brand for a food sweetener made from Rebiana - being marketed by Cargill and Coca-Cola. PureVia is the consumer brand for Whole Earth Sweetener Company's Rebiana, which is a supplier to PepsiCo. Both Truvia and PureVia are available as sugar packets, similar to other non-nutritive sweeteners. Several low-calorie and calorie-reduced beverages have been launched under Sprite, Odwalla, SoBe and Tropicana brands.

The plant Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a member of the Compositae (astor or sunflower) family, which includes marigolds, dandelions, chrysanthemums, zinnias, artichokes, lettuce and endive. The sweetness in stevia comes from glycosides (technically a molecule comprised of a sugar attached to another component) that are natural constituents of the plant's leaves. In fact, stevia leaves contain at least ten different glycosides, the major ones being stevioside and rebaudioside A. Of note, the FDA food ingredient approval is for the purified extract of rebaudioside A however, dietary supplement versions of stevia may contain other glycosides.

The regulatory history of stevia is an interesting tale. Steviol glycosides are used to sweeten a number of foods in China, Japan, and South America. Also, Stevia leaves are used to prepare sweetened tea in numerous countries. However, concerns about safety prompted the FDA to ban imports of stevia from 1991 to 1994 , which ruled the herbal sweetener an "unsafe food additive." The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 formed the impetus for the FDA to permit stevia to be marketed as a dietary supplement (not as a food additive). In 1999, the European Commission banned the use of stevia in foods marketed in the European Union. But the World Health Organization published an extensive literature review of stevioside and rebaudioside A in 2006 that concluded stevioside and rebaudioside A are not toxic or carcinogenic at levels consumed by humans. The report also noted that stevioside has shown some evidence of pharmacological effects in patients with hypertension or with type-2 diabetes but indicated more research is needed. And the potential therapeutic aspects may play into a future regulatory challenge. According to a March 16, 2009, Food Product Design article, "A Citizen’s Petition was filed with FDA in late 2008 to prevent the addition of steviol glycosides to foods because of the drug status alleged for the sweeteners. [The] FDA is also attempting to implement recent legislation that more broadly prohibits the addition of drugs to foods. FDA’s resolutions of these two matters could impact the future food uses of steviol glycosides."


Is Stevia Bad for You? A Nutritionist Gives Us the Honest Truth

Ever heard of an all-natural sweetener called stevia with zero calories that's 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar? If you aren't hip to stevia, well, we're here to let you in on the facts. Stevia has been around for ages—we're talking ancient times, when it was used both as a sweetener and an ingredient in medical treatments. People are obviously into getting a calorie-free sugar fix, but there has to be a catch, right?

Turns out, the popular sugar substitute has had its ups and downs with the FDA. In 1991, stevia was banned in the U.S. due to reports that it could cause cancer. Later studies refuted these claims, and soon the FDA and allowed stevia to be imported into the U.S. again. As you can imagine, there's a lot of talk in the eco-friendly and plant-based world on whether or not stevia is truly "all-natural" and, in fact, healthy for you. Is stevia bad for you? We tapped Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, CLC, of Maya Feller Nutrition to help us investigate.

So What Is Stevia?

"Stevia is a no-calorie sweetener derived from components of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, and it's over 200 times sweeter than table sugar," explains Feller. "It should be noted that only the compound and extract of stevia is used and currently generally regarded as safe."

What Are Stevia's Potential Benefits?

"Because stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener, if it's used in place of table sugar or other nutritive sweeteners, there's evidence that supports an overall decrease in total calories, improved glycemic control, and weight management in the short term," confirms Feller.

"We need to remember the importance of making changes such as replacing a caloric sweetener with a non-caloric sweetener in the overall context of diet and lifestyle modification. Using a calorie-free sweetener as a substitute from time to time may reduce calories taken in from added sugars and be of specific benefit for people looking to manage blood sugars."


Consuming Steviol Glycosides

Even though artificial sweeteners have garnered some negative press, stevia sweetener is incredibly safe for consumption. According to a May 2015 essay published in Nutrition Today, you'd need to eat about 40 small packets of stevia per day to reach the limit of the acceptable daily intake.

The acceptable daily intake is the limit at which you can consume something daily for your entire life. Anything beyond the acceptable daily intake would be considered unhealthy.

In other words, it's extremely difficult to eat too much stevia. It's so potent that you only need a small amount to add sweetness to your food or drinks. Stevia is available in packets that you can put in your own food, but it's also in beverages like Gatorade and some sodas.

Companies are making stevia in various forms for consumption. For example, a company called SweetLeaf makes stevia crystals, flavored stevia liquid, liquid drops for water or other beverages, stevia extract for baking, stevia concentrate and even stevia syrup. The sweetener is versatile and safe, making it an ideal sugar substitute.


Celestial Seasonings

The memorandum below, from the FDA to its Denver District office, is part of a number of shadowy events involving stevia. This document, however, which has been purged of several key words (including the identity of the sender), by the agency, is especially mysterious. According to FDA records, during the late 󈨔s — a time when stevia’s benefits were just beginning to be recognized in the United States — representatives of an “anonymous firm” lodged a “trade complaint” with the FDA. It charged that the Colorado-based tea company Celestial Seasonings was using stevia extracts in four of its products and that they were therefore “adulterated.” This complaint, it is worth noting, was not based on any public concerns about the safety of stevia or reports of any adverse effects resulting from its use. It rather reflected the apparent lengths to which a company would go to keep U.S. consumers from gaining access to stevia, an unpatented natural substance.

The FDA has continued to reject requests from journalist Linda Bonvie to provide the document in its entirety or identify the complainant(s).

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

MEMORANDUM

Date
From: Division of Regulatory Guidance, HFF-314
Subject: Celestial Seasonings Caffein-Free Tea
To: Denver District, HFR-SW240

FIRM: Celestial Seasonings, Inc.

1780 55th Street
Boulder CO 80301-2799

The attached label, advertisement, coupon/mail-in certificate and information on stevioside was received as a trade complaint from [edit] of [edit] represention (sic) an anonymous firm, and is for your information and action as appropriate.

The label does not bear an appropriate statement of identity. This product is not tea and should not be labeled as such. A more appropriate identity statement for this product would be “Herbal Beverage,” “Herbal Tea” or Herb Tea.”

Stevioside is [edit]. Therefore use of stevioside in herbal tea would cause the product to be adulterated.

(Were companies allowed to use stevia in their products? Yes, under a provision in federal law that allows for self-determination of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. This “self determination” is based on stevia’s long history of “common use in food” prior to 1958, the year the FDA law took effect, and widespread use without any apparent adverse health effects.)

In a “final decision of the Department,” dated April 22, 1998, Victor F. Zonana, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, writes: “I have determined to continue to withhold the information deleted from the memorandum under the provisions of exemptions (b)(6) and (b)(7)(C) and (D) of the FOIA. Individuals who provide information to the government have an expectation of privacy. Release of their identities would discourage the voluntary submission of reports of possibly adulterated products on the market and, in turn, would severely hinder FDA’s law enforcement activities. Further, disclosure would be a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

Prior to this “final decision,” Bonvie had been told by an official at the office of public affairs that the individual who sent in this “complaint” was an attorney, and that his name and law office were mentioned on the above document.

As a result of the complaint, the agency began a full-scale investigation, during which Celestial Seasonings offered the FDA substantial evidence of stevia’s long-term safe use. (That information is also heavily censored by the FDA in its subsequent FOI release, even to the point of blanking out the name of a country — apparently Japan — where stevia has long been a standard sweetener). Celestial Seasonings also applied for “official” GRAS status for the herb, which the FDA declined to process. Eventually, FDA pressure resulted in Celestial Seasonings ceasing to use the herb — and then, according to documents obtained from the FDA, giving the agency the names of other tea makers that were also using it. (When this inconsistency in the release of ‘informant’ information was pointed out to the FDA, it replied that it had made a “mistake” in revealing the role of Celestial Seasonings).

Also apparently sent by the same anonymous complainant is a one-page document titled: STEVIOSIDE IN CELESTIAL SEASONINGS HERBAL TEA. It reads in part: “The alternative sweeteners known as stevioside and rebaudioside A have been found in four Celestial Seasonings Herbal Teas…..In order to obtain results as soon as possible, the analyses were performed on the residue which sifts out the the tea bags… Work will continue on this project…If it becomes important to know the level of sweetener in the entire contents of the tea bags, further work will be done…”

In a letter from Bonvie on July 20, 1996 requesting the entire document, she wrote: “The document in question does not really appear to be a legitimate ‘trade complaint’ calling attention to an illicit practice by a segment of industry, but rather an attempt to restrain trade and competition.”

This apparently was not the first time a trade complaint triggered FDA action on stevia. The search-and-seizure campaign that was initiated in the mid-󈨔s had a similar origin, according to Rob McCaleb of the Herb Research Foundation, who says he has seen the complaint and that it originated from a “sophisticated” company “with a strong interest in not having sweet natural products on the market.” Asked for a copy of the document, the FDA said it could not locate one. (That “doesn’t mean there is not one,” said Robert Martin of the FDA’s Office of Premarket Approval, just that “we cannot find one in this office.”)

In 1991 the FDA issued an “Import Alert” (No: 45-06, date: 5/17/91) for stevia leaves, stevioside and foods containing stevia, calling them “unsafe food additives.” This prevented all stevia from entering the U.S., and again, was not based on any consumer complaints or reported ill effects. Interestingly, the 1991 Import Alert states that stevia has “been used throughout history,” an admission that stevia does qualify as a GRAS product. The Import Alert was revised in September of 󈨣, due to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Under that law, dietary supplements cannot be called “food additives,” and stevia dietary supplements can now be imported into the U.S. — provided they are not called “sweeteners” or used as “flavoring agents.”

“Sinfully Sweet,” New Age Journal 1/96, An investigative feature on stevia and the FDA

It is very obvious that Chuck Hughes who sends out “The Chuck Hughes Microcap Report” in an attempt to “hype” a stock is doing the promotion of the Stevia industry an injustice. Quite frankly he scares the hell out of the average investor with his mailings and should be silenced. Additionally, in his cover letter he makes claims such as “some suggest” and “reports show” all of which I wonder who are “some” and what “reports”. This certainly does not enhance the image of a relatively new industry. Stevia has FDA approval as a food supplement, and not as a food additive as yet. symbol = STVF


New Packaging

It’s the same delicious SweetLeaf ® Sweet Drops ® in 288-serving glass bottles that you know and love with a refreshed look. As one of our first products developed, we wanted to modernize its look and feel going into 2020. Our goal was to design a label that still has the history and trust of SweetLeaf ® , but blends with our newer product lines such as our 48-serving squeezable Water Drops ® and Sweet Drops ® . Keep your eyes peeled for Sweet Drops ® in-store and online here at SweetLeaf ® .com .

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are suggesting food manufacturers comply with new nutrition guidelines. As a result, consumers can make better decisions about the foods and drinks they consume, especially added sugars. Consumers are more aware of the dangers of added sugars. SweetLeaf ® products are a great alternative to sugars because you get all the sweetness you want without the calories, sugars or artificial sweeteners, and they taste great.

All flavor ingredients contained in our formulations are approved for use in a regulation of the Food and Drug Administration and are GRAS, that is, Generally Recognized as Safe on the FEMA GRAS list.

Non-GMO Compliance: All ingredients used in our finished products are not derived from a genetically modified source, and is free from genetically modified DNA and also free from the proteins derived from genetically modified DNA.

Natural Compliance (Natural Certificate): All of our flavors are composed of natural ingredients as defined in section 21 CFR 101.22 a3 (5).


What’s in your Stevia?: Find Out Which Types of Stevia are Safest

I have been avoiding artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) and sucralose (Splenda) for a while now due to all of the toxic chemicals and well-documented side effects (e.g., turning to formaldehyde in the stomach … aspartame, anyone? ), and instead I’ve been using various brands of stevia to sweeten my tea and homemade lemonade. I chose stevia because I had always heard that it’s the natural, healthier sweetener choice…but now there seems to be concern about stevia, or at least certain brands of it, not being all it’s cracked up to be either. I’ve tried to figure out the good and the bad, and I’m excited to share what I have learned here and to hear what you think!

What is Stevia?

Stevia is an herbal plant that is typically grown in South America. And while its extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it does not raise blood insulin levels. That’s what makes it so popular.

What makes stevia leaves sweet are two molecules – stevioside and rebaudioside. Stevioside is sweet but also has a bitter aftertaste that many complain about when using stevia, while rebaudioside is better tasting, sweet and less bitter.

Most “raw” and less processed stevia products contain both sweeteners (stevioside and rebaudioside), whereas most highly processed forms of stevia, like Coca-Cola’s Truvia and others, only contain the rebaudioside (the sweetest part of the stevia leaf).

As I’ve learned, the “whole” stevia leaf that contains stevioside and rebaudioside has been found in research to have some health benefits, but using the types of stevia that have been processed to remove many of its key compounds and are full of other chemicals and ingredients is probably not the best option.

What Kind of Stevia to Choose and Which to Avoid

Here is what you need to know about the various types and brands of stevia.

1. Green Leaf Stevia – This is the least processed of all types of stevia. The leaves have basically been dried and ground into powder form. This is the type of stevia that has been used in Japan and South America for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy. This stevia is slightly bitter and isn’t quite as sweet as most stevia products on the market —this type of stevia is about 30-40 times sweeter than sugar.

This is the type of stevia that is probably the best option to use if you’re going to sweeten with stevia.

2. Stevia Extracts – Some brands of stevia on the market extract and just use the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside) which doesn’t have the health benefits that have been found in stevioside. This type of stevia may be a better option than other artificial sweeteners and more processed forms, but there aren’t many studies available yet showing its effects… So probably best to avoid these if possible.

3. Highly Processed Stevia (Truvia, PureVia and others) – This is the type of stevia that it sounds like we want to stay away from… and in reality, isn’t stevia at all. The problem with these stevia products are the extreme processing and added ingredients. They also don’t contain the stevioside part of the stevia. These rebaudioside stevia products with added sweetening and processing are about 400 times sweeter than sugar.

Not really much stevia? This article discusses how the major compound used in Truvia (which claims to be a stevia-based sweetener), is actually erythritol, which is derived from yeast that “may be fed with [GMO corn sugar].”

And according to the United States patent for the Coca-Cola Company, there is a 42 step process to make Truvia sweetener! First, the rebaudioside is extracted from the stevia leaf using chemical solvents such as acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile and isoproponal (among others) – many of these are known carcinogens. Then they add in the genetically modified corn derivative for the erythritol. But the advertising is certainly deceptive… not really “coming from nature”…

And here’s another article discussing how Truvia was recently found to be a powerful insecticide…because of the GMO-corn derived erythritol. The article concludes that it is debatable what to make of this. Many scientists might argue that perhaps erythritol is perfectly safe for humans and only toxic to insects because of their different physiology. That would be the best-case scenario. But perhaps best just to wait until we have more answers and avoid Truvia and other erythritol-containing products like the one below until then…

Other additives and brands to be weary of…

“Natural flavors” (also in Truvia and the Nature’s Place brands above) is another ingredient added to powdered and liquid stevia products you might want to avoid. “Natural flavors” can include any number of ingredients because the FDA’s definition is pretty broad.

Dextrose is another ingredient to avoid – it’s also derived from genetically engineered corn and has a long complicated manufacturing process, just like erythritol.

“Stevia in the Raw” is described as �% Natural”, but when you look at the ingredients the first thing on the label is dextrose (and it also contains only the stevia extract). And Pepsi Co’s “Pure Via,” also has dextrose as the first ingredient listed on the label as well.

Even certified organic stevia can have additional ingredients added. For example, the one shown below has organic agave inulin listed as the first ingredient (before the stevia extract itself). Agave inulin is a highly processed fiber derivative from the blue agave plant. Also on the ingredient list is silica (that’s the stuff in those little packets found in boxed goods) and it’s added to improve the flow of powdered substances…. While it is non-toxic and probably innocuous in small quantities, it’s definitely not ideal (it’s the same ingredient added to help strengthen concrete and creates glass bottles and windowpanes.)

So it seems like there is definitely a big difference between consuming real stevia and the chemically processed versions…

Stevia Research

Regarding the good stuff (the whole leaf that contains both stevioside and rebaudioside), there are LOTS of studies (over 300!) evaluating stevia’s ability to be used as a health remedy. Studies found that this sweet herb may support blood sugar, weight loss and possibly even have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties (Chris Kresser goes into detail on some of the studies here).

On the negative side of things, one study did suggest that consuming stevia in very large amounts could effect hormones because its molecules have a similar structure to plant hormones, but follow-up studies called this into question. As Chris Kresser notes in his article, we’re probably ok if we aren’t consuming 24 packets a day.

As mentioned, the “whole” stevia leaf that contains both stevioside and rebaudioside has been found in research to have health benefits, but it looks like the jury is still out on the question of whether it’s effective or even safe once you remove all the other compounds inherent in the original plantSo far, no one knows. In the recent Toxicology of Rebaudioside A: A Review, researchers point out that stevioside compounds and rebaudioside A are metabolized at different rates, making it pretty difficult to assess the risk of rebaudioside A from toxicity assessments of stevioside (which has been used as food and medicine in Japan and South America for decades or longer).

Additionally, in a human metabolism study, stevioside and rebaudioside A had different results – the body reacted differently to the two compounds each compound was found to be metabolized differently and remained in the body for different lengths of time.

So, if you are going to sweeten your foods and beverages with stevia, I think it’s best to consider using whole leaf forms of stevia until the safety of each individual stevia compound has been thoroughly assessed as safe.

So if you still want your daily dose of stevia… What’s a Health-Conscious Stevia Consumer to Do?

When buying stevia:

  • Whole green leaf stevia is best: You can even buy a stevia plant for your garden if you’re up for it (you can purchase seeds here), or purchase the pure dried leaves online – you can grind up them up using a spice grinder (or use a mortar and pestle) for your own powdered stevia. Then you can add fresh or dried leaves directly to tea or drinks for natural sweetness (note the straight stevia leaves are only 30-40 times sweeter than sugar vs. 200 times using an extract or 400 times sweeter with the more processed brands).

  • If you don’t want to tend to a stevia plant or grind up leaves, the next best option is green stevia powder or store bought stevia without additives or extreme chemical processing.
    • If you want to try green stevia powder, I like Organic Traditions – no sneaky additives – just the organic stevia leaf.
    • If you are looking for a good brand of stevia that tastes good, doesn’t have the chemical fillers and that you can find in most any health food store, SweetLeaf Stevia is the best one I’ve found.
    • If you want a liquid form, look for stevia extract that is 100% pure without added ingredients. While this SweetLeaf Liquid Extract is said to be extracted without any bleach or chemical whiteners, my guess is that the SweetLeaf Whole Leaf Stevia Concentrate is the closest to the real deal.

    When choosing products already sweetened with stevia, look for “whole leaf stevia” on the ingredient label instead of rebaudioside a or stevia extract, and try to avoid those that contain Truvia or added ingredients such as dextrose, agave inulin, silica and erythritol.

    Hope you’ve found this helpful, and thanks for reading & subscribing!

    Please share this to spread the message of toxin-free health:
    /> /> /> /> /> /> />


    Substitute Stevia for Sugar

    When attempting to substitute stevia for sugar, it is recommended for best results to only remove half of the sugar in place of stevia. This is due to the moisture, browning and rising effects that sugar contributes to.

    There are commercial sugar and stevia blends available as well. Follow the directions for sugar-to-stevia conversion stated on the package. Many of these are designed for a cup-for-cup stevia-to-sugar ratio making baking with stevia no different than when using regular sugar.

    For stevia packets, the sweetness of one packet is similar to 2 teaspoons of sugar. Twenty-four packets equal 1 cup of sugar. If you are using a bag of baking stevia, then 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons are equal to 1 cup of sugar. For pure powdered stevia, the stevia-to-sugar ratio is much lower. Only 1 teaspoon of powdered stevia equals 1 cup of sugar. For baking purposes, the bags of baking stevia are more convenient and practical than individual packets.


    Forms of Stevia You Can Use

    You can grow your own in your backyard or even on your windowsill. Fresh leaves from can be used in hot or cold drinks or on their own as an herbal tea. The leaves can also be dried to form a powder, which can be used in baking.

    Some products are commercially prepared and ready to use in recipes. They combine stevia extract with a bulking additive, like powdered maltodextrin, that is ready-to-measure one to one with the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. It is these forms that you can most readily use in cookie recipes and in baking.

    The processed version is available in liquid form. You can use it in drop form to sweeten beverages and foods.


    Drinks

    PepsiCo makes SoBe Life Water, a product sweetened with an extract from the stevia plant called rebaudioside-A, that is named PureVia. SoBe Lifewater is available in three flavors Black and Blue Berry, Yummy Pomegrate and Fiji Apple Pear. Stevia is also used in Celestial Zingers To Go tea and other drinks products. The Hain Celestial Group had received a warning letter from the FDA, prior to the 2008 GRAS approval of stevia regarding the use of stevia in their products. Hain Celestial Group was then free to use stevia in their products. The Coco Cola Company, Cargil and Coke and PepsiCo Inc are all competing on the market with their stevia products. Coke markets Sprite Green and Odwalla juice drinks that contain stevia.