Do you love eating sweets but hate all the chemicals and false claims made by manufacturers of artificial sweeteners? If so, your silver bullet may have arrived. Its name is stevia, it is extracted from a plant found growing wild in South America, and it is said to be 300 times sweeter than traditional beet or cane sugar.
The Daily Mail quotes one Dr. Margaret Ashwell as saying the health benefits cannot be overstated. Then again, Ashwell is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Global Stevia Institute, which seems to call her word into question.
But the lack of independent studies has not prevented foods makers such as Coca-Cola from jumping on the stevia bandwagon. Many are hoping to cash in on the first real weapon in the war on obesity, which is now viewed as a worldwide health epidemic. The soft drink Sprite already released a variant of its product made with the “natural’ sweetener.” So far, the stevia-sweetened Sprite is available only in the UK.