Stevia, also known as rebiana and truvia, is extracted from a South American plant and processed into a low calorie sweetener 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s legal for use in food products in Japan and Brazil, but not the US.
The Los Angeles Times:
The sweetener is banned from food products in the U.S. due to toxicity fears. But the findings of several recent studies suggest otherwise…The sponsors of the recently published studies — food manufacturer Cargill and the Coca-Cola Co. — hope that in light of recent findings, the agency will reconsider its position on the calorie-free sweetener.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has written to the FDA:
… according to a new 26-page report by toxicologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, several, though not all, laboratory tests show that the sweetener causes mutations and DNA damage, which raises the prospect that it causes cancer… [the FDA] should require additional tests, including a key animal study, before accepting rebiana as Generally Regarded as Safe, or GRAS.
We Like Rebecca Critchfield’s summary:
it is a personal decision if you want to use splenda or truvia or plain old sugar or honey or agave nectar… or… yada yada. But the bigger picture is always more important. If you are eating mostly healthy, whole foods (fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, lean protein foods, and whole grains) then there is little room left for the other stuff that might have rebiana added. Not a real reason to worry.