Sugar-Free Stevia Products, Is It Answer To Epidemic Obesity?

Nov 03, 2014 09:16 PM EST | By ABC

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Stevia Products- Stevia? Coffee works without sugar and creamer, as well as Milk too, but chocolate without sugar? This will be the common reaction of people who encounter Stevia chocolates.

Slowly Stevia products are gaining popularity in the US and just recently, it was accepted in Europe. But still manufacturers admit that it could still take a decade for its worldwide acceptance. Stevia used in the Stevia based products use calorie-free, natural sweetener.

Stevia leaves are 30 times sweeter than sugar. It contains Steviol glycocide compound that is said to be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar.

South Americans have long used the natural sweetener for more than 1, 500 years on various Stevia products while it was just approved in the U.S. as a food additive in 2008.

The so-called 'holy grail of the food industry' and 'miracle sweetener' with its health benefits has been commonly used in Japan for over 40 years, having 41 percent market share in their sweetener market.

One of the Stevia chocolate manufacturers Coco Polo claim, Stevia chocolate could take 10 to 15 years to penetrate the mainstream market. Coco Polo is a New Jersey firm manufacturing 12 chocolate bars with Stevia added with nuts and exotic fruits.

From 2008 to 2012, there are 400 percent growth sales of Stevia-based products. In Europe, Holland & Barrett, UK's leading health retailer says they have increased growth of Stevia products since 2012 where they are using Stevia to their line of dark chocolate bar, yogurts and more.

Even Tate & Lyle, sugar giant has joined the craze of launching their Stevia products including Stevia chocolates, yoghurts, and even beer.

Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research claims Stevia products including Stevia chocolates, yogurts and more have been well accepted with its total revenue sales both for food and beverage in 2013 amounting to $110 million USD. It is forecasted to balloon to $275 million USD by 2017.

Refined sugar is associated with epidemic obesity. In Europe alone, where most adults are obese or overweight and have health problems, NHS claims cost of £5 billion every year.

Dr Laura Wyness, senior nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation states, Stevia used in various products has the potential to help with weight management, dental health, and diabetes.

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