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Old 01-03-2007, 07:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mujiber
Ok Stevia has been used in Japan for over 30 years now - it makes up 40% of their "sweetener" market... and Coke even uses it in all their diet drinks over there... hard to believe it's "well known" that it causes problems with reproduction... that's just absurd. If you want some actual details on Stevia, go here: Stevia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The problem with Wikipedia is that it's user contributed, so anyone could have written that article.

From Stevia: A Bittersweet Tale

Quote:
To stevia’s boosters, there’s no debate. The herb has been consumed without apparent harm in different parts of the world for many years, they argue. No reports of any adverse reactions have surfaced after 30 years of use in Japan, for instance.
“But the Japanese don’t consume large amounts of stevia,” notes Douglas Kinghorn, professor of pharmacognosy (the study of drugs from plants) at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


“In the U.S., we like to go to extremes,” adds toxicologist Ryan Huxtable of the University of Arizona in Tucson. “So a significant number of people here might consume much greater amounts.”


Here’s what troubles toxicologists:


Reproductive problems. Stevioside “seems to affect the male reproductive organ system,” European scientists concluded last year. When male rats were fed high doses of stevioside for 22 months, sperm production was reduced, the weight of seminal vesicles (which produce seminal fluid) declined, and there was an increase in cell proliferation in their testicles, which could cause infertility or other problems.1 And when female hamsters were fed large amounts of a derivative of stevioside called steviol, they had fewer and smaller offspring.2 Would small amounts of stevia also cause reproductive problems? No one knows.


Cancer. In the laboratory, steviol can be converted into a mutagenic compound, which may promote cancer by causing mutations in the cells’ genetic material (DNA). “We don’t know if the conversion of stevioside to steviol to a mutagen happens in humans,” says Huxtable. “It’s probably a minor issue, but it clearly needs to be resolved.”


Energy metabolism. Very large amounts of stevioside can interfere with the absorption of carbohydrates in animals and disrupt the conversion of food into energy within cells. “This may be of particular concern for children,” says Huxtable.

The bottom line: If you use stevia sparingly (once or twice a day in a cup of tea, for example), it isn’t a great threat to you. But if stevia were marketed widely and used in diet sodas, it would be consumed by millions of people. And that might pose a public health threat.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:31 PM   #22
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Every time I see the sugar vs. sweeteners (e.g. aspartame or sucralose) vs. stevia debate, I chuckle. The reasons are varied - I'll recount by the way I see it:

a) Studies in these fields are mostly commissioned. Studies that are commissioned usually give the desired results of whoever does the commissioning. Whether this means that inhuman amounts of whatever product are fed to/injected in whatever lab animal is being used so as to be able to garner the necessary results and/or results are coloured by minute differences portrayed as significant because of the failure to provide full disclosure. Basically, what I understand this to mean is that if the Sugar Producers of America commission a study about the evils of aspartame, the lab will inject enough aspartame in a rat to give it cancer. When the rat then dies of natural causes and minute cancers are discovered in the autopsy, the study claims that aspartame causes cancer, but fails to mention that the equivalent dose in humans would be akin to drinking 20 litres of pure aspartame daily for years (these numbers and study are made up for the sake of giving an example).

b) My understanding is that rats and humans do not always react similarly to various stimuli. This alone raises questions regarding the effectiveness of the studies.

c) For every study asserting a proposition, there is a study to counter it in some way; however, usually these studies address different aspects of the issues and thus are essentially useless when compared against each other.

d) The only one of the three that we know FOR sure causes problems is sugar. The reason we know this is that its consumption in excessive amounts is well documented to contribute to significant health problems such as diabetes and other obesity related issues - the basics of calories in vs. calories out and the problems that arise from an imbalance are an example.

e) Most of the products in question have not been in use long enough or in sufficient quantities to properly assess their long term effects. The notable exception is once again sugar.

f) Much like all things in life that we enjoy so much, moderation is the key. This likely applies to all of the above items (sugar/sweeteners/stevia). I cannot think of any particular material that we can consume that will not cause problems if consumed in excess. Too many apples will give you the runs and may cause fructose related insulin issues. Too much broccoli may have mineral/vitamin overdose issues. Even too much water causes problems. Too much alcohol is well documented.

I personally enjoy a balance of these sweetening products, which in and of itself shows my own personal bias. In short, it's pretty much all junk "knowledge" until it is able to be reliably and independently supported over the long term. Who knows when that'll be in the age of misinformation that we are currently in?
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Old 01-03-2007, 09:56 PM   #23
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Upon reading Scott123's post, one thing jumped out at me. Re: cited HIGH DOSES and VERY LARGE AMOUNTS, you have to wonder how those amounts relate to amounts the average American would consume.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:47 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver
a) Studies in these fields are mostly commissioned. Studies that are commissioned usually give the desired results of whoever does the commissioning.
I agree. The studies that have been done on stevia may have been skewed towards negative results by corporate funding. It's possible.

At the same time, though, even though American stevia manufacturers aren't pulling in a lot of money with their stevia sales, most are involved in the supplement market- a multibillion dollar business. These companies have the money to perform studies proving the safety of their product. But do they? No. Instead they attempt to appeal to people's erroneous correlation between 'natural' and 'benign.' Most people are under that misconception- it's gone a long way to put stevia in many a cupboard. But common belief doesn't make it so. Natural isn't always better.

I'm not a big fan of the FDA. They approve things that shouldn't be approved and don't approve things that should. In this instance, though, I think they're in the right. When dealing with a product that has questions regarding safety, it's not the FDA's job to prove the product's safety, it's the producers. And, rather than fund studies and prove the naysayers wrong, the producers whine and cry foul. If you're going to try to take a bite out of one of the biggest businesses in the country (sweeteners) you had better have your A game going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver
In short, it's pretty much all junk "knowledge" until it is able to be reliably and independently supported over the long term. Who knows when that'll be in the age of misinformation that we are currently in?
Again, I am in complete agreement. At no time during this or any other discussion have I ever said 'Splenda is safe but Stevia is not.' It's all a toss up from a long term perspective. When I hear people talking about the alleged 'dangers' of splenda at the same time recommending stevia instead because it's 'perfectly safe,' that's when I take offense.
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Upon reading Scott123's post, one thing jumped out at me. Re: cited HIGH DOSES and VERY LARGE AMOUNTS, you have to wonder how those amounts relate to amounts the average American would consume.
That's an excellent observation. I agree that the quantities being consumed by the animals in these studies is probably a hundredfold of what a typical American would consume. Maybe even a thousandfold.

What's important to note, though, is that no studies have come along saying 'such and such amount' is safe.

It's also important to note that the daily consumption of stevia in tea and coffee isn't an issue here. I'm reasonably certain the trace amounts involved would have no negative health impact whatsoever. The original poster brought up using stevia for baking- utilizing it as a substitute for sugar in all of his baked goods. That, imo, is a different story, involving a pretty serious increase in stevioside consumption.
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:12 AM   #26
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Until I find a single reliable study for or against any non-sugar sweeteners, I'll condone their uses in "normal" amounts (including baking) as I feel that those amounts are unlikely to cause any harm...particularly in the case of stevia where (to my limited understanding and without significant research to look into any differences in the styles/uses) it has been used for hundreds of years in S.America.

Besides, if my soldiers stop working, it'll save me loads of money on future child-rearing.
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Old 01-06-2007, 01:04 AM   #27
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1 Tsp Stevia (powered)=1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Stevia (liquid)=1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Stevia=1 Tbsp Sugar
6 Drops liquid Stevia=1 Tbsp Sugar
A pinch of Stevia=1 Tsp sugar
2 drops liquid stevia=1 Tsp sugar
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Old 01-06-2007, 10:14 PM   #28
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I use Splenda in my tea and anything that calls for sugar. I'm borderline diabetic so I am very careful with my sugar. I prefer the taste of Splenda over other artificial sweeteners.
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:11 PM   #29
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So am I and so do I...
Diabetic
and like Splenda better.
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