Stevia Leaf to Stevia Sweetener: Exploring Its Science, Benefits, and Future Potential

Priscilla Samuel, Keith T Ayoob, Bernadene A Magnuson, Ursula Wölwer-Rieck, Per Bendix Jeppesen, Peter J Rogers, Ian Rowland, Rebecca Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)
926 Downloads (Pure)


Steviol glycoside sweeteners are extracted and purified from the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant, a member of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family that is native to South America, where it has been used for its sweet properties for hundreds of years. With continued increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, and other related comorbidities, in conjunction with global public policies calling for reductions in sugar intake as a means to help curb these issues, low- and no-calorie sweeteners (LNCSs, also known as high-potency sweeteners) such as stevia are gaining interest among consumers and food manufacturers. This appeal is related to stevia being plant-based, zero calorie and with a sweet taste that is 50-350 times sweeter than sugar, making it an excellent choice for use in sugar- and calorie-reduced food and beverage products. Despite the fact that the safety of stevia has been affirmed by several food regulatory and safety authorities around the world, insufficient education about stevia's safety and benefits, including continuing concern with regard to the safety of LNCSs in general, deters health professionals and consumers from recommending or using stevia. Therefore, the aim of this review and the stevia symposium that preceded this review at the ASN's annual conference in 2017 was to examine, in a comprehensive manner, the state of the science for stevia, its safety and potential health benefits, and future research and application. Topics covered included metabolism, safety and acceptable intake, dietary exposure, impact on blood glucose and insulin concentrations, energy intake and weight management, blood pressure, dental caries, naturality and processing, taste and sensory properties, regulatory status, consumer insights, and market trends. Data for stevia are limited in the case of energy intake and weight management as well as for the gut microbiome; therefore, the broader literature on LNCSs was reviewed at the symposium and therefore is also included in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1186S-1205S
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Early online date6 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Nutrition and Behaviour
  • Physical and Mental Health


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