FoodNavigator.com has given an update on Stevia, the natural sweetener. Stevia is a plant, and the extract from its leaves, which is called Rebaudiside A, and is also known as Reb A and Rebiana is thought to be approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar.
The substance promises to be a natural alternative to chemically derived intense sweeteners. And naturally a lot of work has been done to validate its safety.
Research was published in the online in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (July 2008, Vol. 46, Supplement 1, Pages S1-S92), and this found that Rebiana was considered safe for use in food & drink.
There have been issues with undesired flavour characteristics such as bitterness or a liquorice taste but the big flavour houses have been working on ways of masking those tastes.
Coca cola has been working with Stevia and has published research to show that the ingredient doesn’t degrade when a beverage is exposed to light.