Victory is Sweet

In recent years, chemically produced artificial sweeteners have all fallen foul of medical research, one after the other—in spite of massive lobbying.

All the while, a natural, healthy—and indeed health-improving substance—was gaining popularity and official approval around the world. That substance is Stevia: a true success story, where the good guy ousts the villain—and all this because the man in the street ain't as dumb as the corporates would have him be: information is now freely available and people are making informed choices with increasing frequency.

In 1991, Stevia was banned by the FDA by dint of corporate lobbying: by 2008 it had gained full approval, by 2011 even that lumbering mammoth of the EU had approved it. Stevia has been approved and used in Japan since the early 1970s. In Brazil and most of South America it is commonly used in soft drinks and foodstuffs.

For centuries, the GuaranĂ­ peoples of Paraguay used Stevia as a sweetener and for its medicinal virtues. Millions of Japanese have been using stevia for over thirty years with no harmful effects. Modern research has confirmed Stevia's effects on obesity and hypertension. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, and may even enhance glucose tolerance: it is useful as a natural sweetener for diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets, helping to reverse diabetes by regenerating pancreatic cells. Stevia significantly reduces insulin levels. Stevia leaves have been used for centuries in South America, as a treatment for diabetes mellitus.

Stevia is, quite simply, a success story—one in which the consumer has won. We are increasingly seing more instances of informed public opinion and spending power dictating welcome changes to corporate greed and hegemony.

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