Q. Are there any downsides to the sweetener stevia? Is it associated with negative effects or gastrointestinal symptoms? Does it cause sugar cravings if you’ve given up sugar?
A. Major health and food safety organizations generally regard stevia, a sweetener made from a plant native to South America, as safe. But some researchers warn that we don’t have enough evidence to fully understand how products like stevia, so-called nonnutritive sweeteners that have no calories, affect the body.
Ounce for ounce, stevia is 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar, so a small amount can add a lot of sweetness. Stevia is found in products like soda and iced tea, sweetener packets with names like Truvia and Pure Via, and foods marketed as low sugar, such as ice cream and yogurt.
Excerpted from the New York Times