I’m torn when it comes to promoting natural products. Naturally occurring and naturally grown still cannot signify beyond a shadow of a doubt that negative repercussions won’t occur. Yet many people do assume that natural means 100 percent healthful. But in fact, whether made by man or nature, all products have the potential for hazard, including a favorite American pastime involving sweets and soda.
Right now, it’s a battle between the sweeteners. Plain sugar has been pushed to the wayside. On one side, we have the original four most popular sweeteners: saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K and sucralose. On the other hand is a longtime natural sweetener recently becoming increasingly well known in the United States: stevia. Stevia Rebaudiana ia a wild herb that grows mostly in regions of Paraguay, Brazil, Japan and China. Stevia is not approved in the United States or the European Union as a food additive, meaning that it can’t be used to sweeten your soda or saturate your sweets. However, it is approved as a dietary supplement. It’s a curious situation.
Coca-Cola and Cargill, an international food/agriculture service, are teaming up to try to bring FDA approval to stevia as a food additive for their products in the U.S., stemming off of the current interest in natural products (and the disinterest in receiving side effects being linked to artificial sweeteners). Currently, Diet Coke served in cans and bottles use aspartame, while the fountain version uses a mix of both aspartame and saccharin. Nearly every artificial sweetener on the market has been linked to some negative consequence, including cancer causing agents. With Coca-Cola and Cargill now supporting the use of stevia as a food additive, the approval shouldn’t be far in the offing. But it’s a shame that those small companies selling stevia on the market as a dietary supplement will be cut short of their success with big corporations like Cargill steaming their way into the U.S. stevia market.
|Kal – Pure Stevia Extract Powder – 3.5 oz.|
|NOW Foods – Better Stevia Zero Calorie Sweetener Original Flavor – 100 Packet(s)|
|SweetLeaf – Stevia Plus Shaker Bottle – 4 oz.|