International Stevia Council

Stevia Extracts are Suitable for People with Diabetes

Brussels, Belgium, 14 November 2012

Today is the World Diabetes Day and the International Stevia Council is proud of the contribution that purified stevia extracts make to the life-style of people with diabetes.

“Stevia is a naturally sourced, high intensity, zero-calories sweetener that does not impact blood glucose levels. With effectively zero calories, stevia extracts offer people with diabetes greater variety and flexibility in budgeting total calorie intake and managing sugar intake”, - Zanna McFerson, President of the International Stevia Council

Stevia extracts come from the Stevia plant - a small herb native to South America whose leaves have been used for centuries by native tribes to sweeten food and drinks.

Stevia extracts (the short name for steviol glycosides) are the sweet compounds found in the leaves of the stevia plant, whose sweetness is released by water extraction and further refining of the sweet components of the stevia leaf.

Research has shown that stevia extracts do not affect blood glucose levels or interfere with insulin and that are therefore suitable for people with diabetes. Stevia extracts do not have an effect on the glycaemic index (1).

Pre-clinical and clinical studies show that the use of stevia extracts is safe for the general population including people with diabetes, children and pregnant women and that there are no known side effects or allergies.

(1) In the last 5 years leading food safety and regulatory agencies have issued positive safety opinions on the safe use of purified stevia extracts in foods and beverages, including the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), the French ANSES (National Agency for the Security of Food, the Environment and the Work), the Food Standards of Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and most recently the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Pre-clinical and clinical studies show it is safe for the general population including people with diabetes, children and pregnant population.

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