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Uh-Oh: FDA Now Calls Stevia Unsafe

October 02, 2007 | 184,832 views
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The South American herb stevia, which is used as a natural sweetener, has been called an “unsafe food additive” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA sent a letter to Hain Celestial Group Inc, maker of Celestial Seasonings herbal teas, saying the stevia used in some of their teas may be dangerous to blood sugar and reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal systems.

Stevia is several hundred times sweeter than sugar, and has no calories. Though it’s approved as a dietary supplement in the United States, it is not approved as a food additive. A dozen other countries, including Japan, China, and Brazil, have approved the sweetener however.

Beverage giants including Coca-Cola Co. are eyeing stevia as a new low-calorie sweetener, but while the FDA has received requests to use stevia in food, they say "data and information necessary to support the safe use have been lacking."

The Center for Science in the Public Interest also believes that data is lacking to support the safety of stevia in food.

Coca-Cola and Cargill Inc. are working to prove the safety of the herb, but in the meantime, Hain plans to change their stevia-containing teas’ labels to state that they are supplements, not foods.

Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Warning Letter August 17, 2007

Reuters September 18, 2007

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.


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Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Stevia is a non-caloric herb native to Paraguay that has been used as a sweetener for over 1,500 years in South America. If anyone is doubting its safety, I would encourage them to consider that fact; it is a MAJOR clue that stevia is safe.

Stevia has also been used in Japan since the early 1970s to sweeten pickles and other foods.

In the United States, however, the FDA has turned down at least three industry requests to use stevia in foods.

Please understand that Japan is not encumbered by the same conflicts of interest as the United States, and most of their research is not directly financed or greatly influenced by the very industry that is seeking to promote a product. So in this environment stevia has proven to be safe.

What is ironic, of course, is that while the FDA is scrutinizing this naturally sweet herb, they maintain a historically generous attitude toward synthetic chemical sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose.

To use stevia as a commercial food additive would require years of testing. Even though this sweetener has passed the test of time, it is viewed as dangerous until proven otherwise.

Not so with the big-name artificial sweeteners on the market; they are innocent until proven guilty.

In the United States, stevia has been the subject of searches and seizures, trade complaints, and embargoes on importation. Many believe that the FDA’s actions regarding stevia are nothing more than a restraint to trade designed to benefit the artificial sweetener industry.

Stevia is not the only natural sweetener that is being unfairly targeted by the FDA. A pair of entrepreneurs tried unsuccessfully to create a natural sweetener based on a West African berry called Synsepalum Dulcificum, for instance.

However, in 1974 the FDA ruled that their natural product was a food additive that needed years of testing before it could be used commercially. Now here’s the kicker: that very same year, the FDA approved the dangerous artificial sweetener aspartame.

Is Stevia Safe for Everyone?

Unlike aspartame and other artificial sweeteners that have been cited for dangerous toxicities, stevia is a safe, natural alternative that's ideal for those watching their weight and anyone interested in maintaining their health by avoiding sugar.

Some don’t like its taste, but other than that it is nearly the ideal sweetener.

It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and truly has virtually no calories -- unlike the lies and deceptions with regular artificial sweeteners, which are loaded with other sugars to make them flow better.

I want to emphasize, however, that if you have insulin issues, I suggest that you avoid sweeteners altogether (including stevia), as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin. So if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or extra weight then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would benefit from avoiding sweeteners.

But for everyone else, if you are going to sweeten your foods and beverages anyway, I strongly encourage you to consider using stevia.

Stevia can be used in appetizers, beverages, soups, salads, vegetables, desserts -- virtually anything! It is, hands down, the best alternative to sugar you will ever taste.

You Want to Know Something REALLY Interesting?

Re-read my recommendation on stevia in the preceding paragraph and realize that if I sold stevia on my site I would be in direct violation of the “law,” which specifically restricts anyone from making ANY claim on the use of stevia as a sweetener. Since I don’t sell it, I can tell you what I believe.

It truly is amazing how the food industry has manipulated and distorted the laws to serve THEIR purposes -- not for your protection or benefit.

If you are a protein or mixed nutritional type, be sure to check out Luci Lock’s video on how to make a “yummy scrummy” cream soda using stevia and other nutritious ingredients.

Finally, if you would like to know more about the startling truth surrounding artificial sweeteners -- and why I don’t recommend them -- I encourage you to read my book Sweet Deception.

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

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