Information on the Stevia hype

Last updated: October 14. 2013 9:47PM - 1204 Views
Theresa Howard Extension News



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Despite our best attempts at home organization, many of us are constantly bombarded with paper. Paper is the most common type of clutter. When you think about it, this is not really surprising considering the amount of junk mail, bills, coupons, completed schoolwork and publications that many of us have lying on tables or stuffed in drawers at our homes.


You can get a handle on this type of clutter by following these tips:


*Immediately act when you get a new piece of paper. Read it, file it, shred it or throw it in the trash.


*Keep a shredder or waste basket near the area where you go through your mail so you can immediately eliminate junk mail.


*Sign-up for online bill pay so you get fewer statements in the mail.


*Take your name off of direct mailing lists and magazines and catalogs that you no longer want.


*Determine a day of the week to organize papers around your home and workplace. It doesn’t have to be the same day.


*Set aside one day during the year when you can purge your files.


*Keep your kid’s mementos, such as crafts or memorable school assignments, in a container. At the same time, realize you don’t have to keep everything your child does.


*Organize your credit card receipts by putting them together in a container so you can match and attach them to the bill when you pay it.


*Keep your coupons in a container.


Don’t get discouraged if you have years of papers to go through. Start small; set a goal of cleaning out one drawer. Once that drawer is completed, move on to the next one. As you go through your papers, decide what you need to keep and how you are going to store it. Put what you need to keep in some type of container; it can be as simple as a cardboard box. Then label the container so you know what’s inside. Shred or throw away unnecessary papers.


Stevia:


There’s been a lot of hype about stevia. Stevia is an extract of a shrub originating from South America and is also grown in India, South Korea and China.


In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of refined stevia, called Rebiana or Reb A, as an additive in food and beverage products in the United States. Refined stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. The sweetener has no calories, and studies have shown it does not cause a spike in blood-glucose levels, which may make it safe for diabetics. While it was only recently approved in the U.S., the Japanese have used stevia in their diets for years. It was also recently approved for human consumption by the European Union and Canada.


Since receiving approval from the FDA, many products containing processed and refined stevia have been released. Stevia is listed under many names including Stevia in the Raw, Sun Crystals, Pure Via, Enliten, Sweetleaf Sweetener and Truvia.


While products containing stevia may seem like a perfect low-calorie option for those with a sweet tooth, no medical evidence exists to show that it aids in weight loss any more than artificial sweeteners, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also cause mild side effects for consumers including nausea and the feeling of fullness. The FDA has not approved whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia for human consumption in its pure form yet due to concerns about its effect on blood sugar levels, and the renal, reproductive and the cardiovascular systems.


Like other sweeteners, products containing stevia should be used in moderation. You should carefully read the labels of all food and drinks containing the product as they may include additional calories or carbohydrates from other ingredients.


Additional helpful tips as well as food and nutrition information is available at the Harlan County office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service at 519 S. Main Street (573-4464).


Educational Programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

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