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Studies show that the use of low-calorie sweeteners may be a helpful addition to strategies for healthy living.

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Let’s dig a bit deeper to extract the essential details about stevia - the sweetening ingredient in a growing cadre of natural low calorie sweeteners.

What is stevia? Stevia is a plant that grows throughout South America, Asia and other countries. The full name of the plant is Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. Extracts of whole stevia leaves have been used as a dietary supplement in the U.S. since the 1990s.1 In Canada, stevia leaves and their extracts, have been approved for use by Health Canada as non-medicinal ingredients.2

What is stevia leaf extract? The stevia-based low calorie sweeteners available today are made from stevia leaf extracts, not the whole stevia leaf.  Typically, these sweeteners, also referred to as steviol glycosides, use isolated and purified parts of the stevia plant. There are many steviol glycosides and all have different sweetening intensities and taste profiles. Finding the perfect blend is critical to result in a great tasting natural sweetener with no aftertaste.

People are choosing stevia-based low calorie sweeteners today as a natural way to sweeten foods and beverages with the goal of eating less added sugars, grams of carbohydrate and calories.

Has the safety of steviol glycosides been evaluated? Around the globe major regulatory bodies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health and Welfare Canada and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), through evaluation have determined that high-purity steviol glycosides are safe for the general population.1  In the U.S. the safety evaluation of steviol glycosides follows the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) process overseen by the FDA.3 To date FDA has not questioned the GRAS status for the use of more than 50 steviol glycosides as general purpose sweeteners in foods, beverages and tabletop sweeteners.4

What about the taste of stevia leaf extracts? ‘Taste is king’ when it comes to the foods and beverages we purchase and use. There’s no exception when it comes to stevia-based low calorie sweeteners. Some are just better tasting than others and don’t need to be blended with other sweeteners or use addition flavors. SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia is unique because until now most stevia sweeteners have been made with Reb A, which is a more common steviol glycoside, but often results in an aftertaste.  By using Reb D, the sweetest part of the leaf that is rarer, SPLENDA® Stevia has the sweetness of stevia with no aftertaste.   SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia is paired with the bulking ingredient erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol derived from sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Erythritol provides the necessary volume and texture found in all packet and granulated low calorie sweeteners. Plus, SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia is not blended with any additional sweeteners or flavors. 

If you hear people tell you they don’t like the taste of stevia, encourage them to try SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia for a clean, sweet taste.

SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia offers what people tell us they’re looking for today in their preferred low calorie sweetener.

- Tastes like sugar
- 100% Natural
- Nothing artificial
- 0 calories per packet
- 2 grams of carbohydrate per packet


1 - Samuel P, et al:  Stevia leaf to stevia sweetener: Exploring its science, benefits, and future potential. J Nutrition. 2018;148(7):1186S-1205S.
2 - Government of Canada. Sugar Substitutes. (Accessed March 20, 2019)
3 - Guidance for industry and other stakeholders: Toxicological principles for the safety assessment of food ingredients (Redbook). (Accessed March 9, 2019.)
4 - Perrier JD, et al: FDA regulatory approach to steviol glycosides. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2018;122:132-142.

Order your free SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia samples today! To sign up, visit:

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Gibson SA, Horgan GW, Francis LE, Gibson AA, Stephen AM. Low Calorie Beverage Consumption Is Associated with Energy and Nutrient Intakes and Diet Quality in British Adults. Nutrients. 2016.

This 2016 report by Gibson, et al. observed associations in diet quality based on data from 4-day dietary records in 1,590 adults (16 years and older) who participated in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) between 2008 and 2011. Beverage consumption at any time over the 4 days was divided into 4 groups: sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), low-calorie sweetened beverages (LCB), non-consumers of soft drinks (NC) and consumers of both beverages (BB). Similar to the U.S.-based National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the NDNS is the most authoritative source of dietary habits and nutrient intake of the UK population.

The researchers concluded that non-consumers (NC) of sugar-sweetened beverages and low-calorie beverage (LCB) consumers had a higher diet quality compared to sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumers as well as adults who consumed both SSB and LCB. Diets of higher quality were defined as those that included higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, low fat dairy, and lower consumption of fat- and sugar-containing foods.

The results showed LCB consumers had a significantly lower energy intake (1719 kcal/day) compared to SSB consumers (1958 kcal/day) and BB consumers (1986 kcal/day). LCB consumers had the same mean total energy intake (1719 kcal/ day) as non-consumers (1718 kcal/day). Researchers also found that LCB and NC consumers do not consume more sugary foods or calories to compensate for their lower calorie consumption from beverages.

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Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Zheng M, Allman-Farinelli M, et al. Substitution of sugar-sweetened beverages with other beverage alternatives: a review of long-term health outcomes. 2015;767-779.

This systematic review, authored by nutrition and obesity experts from several universities in Australia and Denmark, culled studies from six literature databases through November 2013 to identify all prospective cohort studies (PCS) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in children and adults four months or longer duration. The main search terms used were: sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and substitution. Cohort studies were included if they documented the effect of replacing SSBs with at least one beverage alternative on a long-term health outcome. RCTs were included if they provided alternative beverages to displace SSBs on long-term health outcome. Six cohort studies and 4 RCTs were determined to have a quality of acceptable to high and therefore included in the analyses. Evidence from both the cohort studies and RCTs showed that substitution of SSBs with various lower calorie beverage alternatives (including, for example water, coffee, tea, and/or beverages with low calorie sweetener), was associated with lower energy intake and weight gain. While studies included in the assessment were considered sparse, the conclusion was the available evidence suggests a beneficial effect of substitution of SSBs with low-calorie beverage alternatives. The study also highlights the importance of using age-appropriate low/no calorie beverage substitutions. For example, use of coffee/tea with children may not achieve the calorie reduction expected. The level of evidence for assessment of health outcomes other than energy intake or effect on body weight, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic risk factors, was considered insufficient for conclusions to be drawn. Further studies were determines warranted for additional insight into these areas.

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Maersk M, Belza A, Stødkilde-Jørgensen H, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(2): 283-289.

This study indicates how low-calorie sweeteners may be useful in managing a healthy diet, contrasting the effects of consumption of sucrose (sugar)-sweetened beverages to that of consumption of diet cola and water. Study abstract: "The consumption of sucrose-sweetened soft drinks (SSSDs) has been associated with obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disorders in observational and short-term intervention studies. Too few long-term intervention studies in humans have examined the effects of soft drinks. We compared the effects of SSSDs with those of isocaloric milk and a noncaloric soft drink on changes in total fat mass and ectopic fat deposition (in liver and muscle tissue). Daily intake of SSSDs for 6 mo increases ectopic fat accumulation and lipids compared with milk, diet cola, and water. Thus, daily intake of SSSDs is likely to enhance the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases."

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Sigman-Grant M, and Hsieh G. Journal of Food Science. 2005;70(1),S42-S46.

In this study, the overall diet quality of low-calorie, sugar-free food and beverage users was compared to that of nonusers, based on national dietary survey data. The results suggest that the diets of people who regularly use low- and no-calorie sweeteners may be healthier, with fewer overall calories, more vitamins and minerals, and overall better nutritional quality.

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A randomised controlled trial

Raben A, Møller BK, Flint A, Vasilaris TH, Christina Møller A, Juul Holst J, Astrup A. Increased Postprandial Glycaemia, Insulinemia, and Lipidemia After 10 Weeks' Sucrose-Rich Diet Compared to an Artificially Sweetened Diet: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Food Nutr Res. 2011;55.

The importance of exchanging sucrose for artificial sweeteners on risk factors for developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases is not yet clear. To investigate the effects of a diet high in sucrose versus a diet high in artificial sweeteners, healthy overweight subjects were randomised to consume drinks and foods sweetened with either sucrose (~2 g/kg body weight) (n = 12) or artificial sweeteners (n = 11) as supplements to their usual diet, and fasting and postprandial metabolic profiles were observed after 10 weeks. Supplements were similar on the two diets and consisted of beverages (~80 weight%) and solid foods (yoghurts, marmalade, ice cream, stewed fruits). The rest of the diet was free of choice and ad libitum. Before (week 0) and after the intervention (week 10) fasting blood samples were drawn and in week 10, postprandial blood was sampled during an 8-hour meal test (breakfast and lunch). After 10 weeks postprandial glucose, insulin, lactate, triglyceride, leptin, glucagon, and GLP-1 were all significantly higher in the sucrose compared with the sweetener group. After adjusting for differences in body weight changes and fasting values (week 10), postprandial glucose, lactate, insulin, GIP, and GLP-1 were significantly higher and after further adjusting for differences in energy and sucrose intake, postprandial lactate, insulin, GIP, and GLP-1 levels were still significantly higher on the sucrose-rich diet. The study concluded that a sucrose-rich diet consumed for 10 weeks resulted in significant elevations of postprandial glycaemia, insulinemia, and lipidemia compared to a diet rich in artificial sweeteners in slightly overweight healthy subjects.

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Mandel ID, Grotz VL. J Clin Dent. 2002;13(3):116-118.

Dental caries is commonly mediated by oral bacteria that digest fermentable carbohydrates, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose. When these oral bacteria digest these carbohydrates, they secrete acidic by-products and decrease plaque pH. These changes help to cause microscopic demineralization of tooth enamel, with the formation of subsurface carious lesions. With further mineral loss, bacteria penetrate the tooth and cause cavities. The potential for sucralose to be used by oral bacteria as an energy source or to cause dental cavities has been thoroughly investigated, in "Dental Considerations in Sucralose Use." The FDA and other regulatory agencies agree that sucralose is non-cariogenic.

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A selection of recent publications supporting the use of LNCS

More Studies


A Summary of the latest peer - reviewed research