you, readers, for your comments and questions. Here are a few
that caught my attention:
writes: "I was reading your article (on) sweeteners and
have a question about stevia. I am wondering about the safety
and use of this product. Most folks think it is great as it is
a natural product but I wonder about how it metabolizes in the
body. Please tell me what you can."
(brand names include Truvia®, PureVia® and Enliten®) is
made from compounds extracted and purified from the leaves of
a South American plant species Stevia rebuadiana. It was
approved for use as a high intensity sweetener (because it’s
200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar) by US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) in 2008. Interestingly, this approval is
only for highly purified stevia due to concerns about the
safety of more crude extracts.
have shown that steviol glycosides — the main ingredients in
purified stevia sweeteners — are broken down in the
digestive tract and then rapidly eliminated from the body.
Thus they do not accumulate in the body. Several regulatory
agencies around the world, including the Joint Expert
Committee on Food Additives of the Food and Agricultural
Organization of the World Health Organization (FAO/WHO have
determined that high-purity stevia extract is safe for
consumption at recommended levels by the general population
Q. writes: Hello, Barbara, I recently read your article on
dietary supplements. I would like your opinion on a product I’ve
been using for almost a year now. I am a type 2 diabetic on
insulin. I read about a product called Zuccarin Diet that
claimed to lower blood sugar levels as well as helping to lose
weight. Have you had any experience/feedback with this
supplement? I welcome any response from you.
Michael, I am not familiar with this product. It is not listed
on the Dietary Supplement Label Database (www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov)
nor are its main ingredients listed by the Office of Dietary
find the ingredients in this supplement listed by the
manufacturer, however. It is primarily cellulose (a plant
fiber) and di-calcium phosphate (a filler). It also contains
mulberry leaf extract and chromium picolinate along with
anti-caking and coating agents.
leaf extract has been shown in some small studies of people
with diabetes to help reduce the rise in blood sugar after
meals. In these studies, it worked best when taken with meals.
is a trace mineral that helps promote the action of insulin
— a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. However,
most studies report that chromium supplements are not helpful
for people with diabetes unless the person has a deficiency of
this nutrient. In other words, taking extra chromium if you
already get enough in your food will not add more benefit to
your blood sugar control.