Back to Sugar Substitutes Stevia

Stevia, a member of the Chrysanthemum family, is a plant native to Paraguay. It has been used by the Guarani Indians since ancient times. As a sugar substitute, it is available as a concentrated liquid, crushed leaf or concentrated white powder. The liquid and leaf forms have a slight herbal overtone, which reminds some of anise (licorice).

Though Stevia has not been approved for use in the United States by the FDA, because of inadeqate information to demonstrate its safety as a food additive, it is available in health food stores and on the Internet for personal use. These businesses get around the FDA's ban on using stevia as a sweetener by stating that they sell stevia as a "dietary supplement," which is not subject to the existing food additive regulations.

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