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Old 08-21-2008, 03:42 PM   #1
DeadDoc
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Default Any used Stevia?

I was wondering if anyone has ever thought of using it for adding in to raise the SG. It is a sugar plant of which you can grow at home.... my plant is pretty huge. Coke and Pepsi are both looking at using it for a natural more healthy way of sweetening their drinks. You would definitely have to extract the sugar out as it can impart a bitter aftertaste otherwise and to not have the leaf there (websites online tell you how).



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Old 08-21-2008, 05:00 PM   #2
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think stevia is fermentable. Therefore, it will not affect your SG. You could back sweeten with it like lactose or splenda. I think extracting the sugars would be hard at home. I know they sell it in powdered form at health food stores.



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Old 08-21-2008, 05:21 PM   #3
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Stevia is non-fermentable, I've been meaning to use it to back-sweeten instead of lactose in my ginger beer. Coke and Pepsi are going to have a bit of a problem using it to sweeten, as it's still illegal in the states to be used as a "food additive" although it IS deemed safe to use as a "dietary supplment" there's plenty of controversy with it's banning from foods by the FDA.

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:42 PM   #4
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I don't believe that being fermentable or not matters when it comes to whether it affects gravity, the issue there is whether it's soluble or not.

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Originally Posted by Freezeblade View Post
Stevia is non-fermentable, I've been meaning to use it to back-sweeten instead of lactose in my ginger beer. Coke and Pepsi are going to have a bit of a problem using it to sweeten, as it's still illegal in the states to be used as a "food additive" although it IS deemed safe to use as a "dietary supplment" there's plenty of controversy with it's banning from foods by the FDA.
This is correct, although as I share an office floor with an herbalist lobby organization, I decided to ask them about it one day. They essentially said that the difference is, with dietary supplements the FDA assumes it's okay and awaits evidence to the contrary to ban it. With food additives, they assume it's dangerous and need to prove that it's safe to allow it. The studies just aren't there yet with stevia to see if it's safe as a food additive or not, as there are some reports that indicate in large quantities it's dangerous - something that has to be taken seriously when you consider just how much diet soda some people drink.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:29 PM   #5
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hmmm good point... Forgot about the FDA with that. Well guess can just sweeten with it.

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Old 08-21-2008, 10:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Blow Leprechaun View Post
I don't believe that being fermentable or not matters when it comes to whether it affects gravity, the issue there is whether it's soluble or not.
This is correct, although as I share an office floor with an herbalist lobby organization, I decided to ask them about it one day. They essentially said that the difference is, with dietary supplements the FDA assumes it's okay and awaits evidence to the contrary to ban it. With food additives, they assume it's dangerous and need to prove that it's safe to allow it. The studies just aren't there yet with stevia to see if it's safe as a food additive or not, as there are some reports that indicate in large quantities it's dangerous - something that has to be taken seriously when you consider just how much diet soda some people drink.
As for the affecting the OG, it shoudn't effect it that much, as it is something like 250 times sweeter than sugar by weight, so the amount you would have to add in order to effect the gravity very much would render the cider/beer/mead far too sweet.

But Stevia has been used as a food additive prior to 1958 with no reported adverse effects. Under the FDA's own rules this would make it Generally Recognized as Safe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generally_recognized_as_safe) The main reason, as I understand it, is due to pressure from the artifical sweetener industry, as Stevia is a natural product, therefore the process cannot be patented by said companies. Japan and some other countries already use it in diet drinks as a sweetener.
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Old 08-22-2008, 12:18 AM   #7
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I have used stevia in my yogurt and other things that need sweetners for years. The taste of stevia is very potent and tasty. Cargill was recently given approval to use stevia as a natural sweetner by the FDA as far as I know and will soon be in Coke products. With the trend towards natural/non-processed foods, this will probably be a big seller. I think in Europe and Africa that this product has been used for decades with no known side-effects. This doesn't mean that it is safe by any means. Time will tell.



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