Truvia has received mixed reactions among critics. Truvia is the marketed name of a product developed by Coke and Cargill. Its main ingredient, stevia, is a plant whose leaves are used to develop the sweetener Truvia. Truvia received FDA approval in 2008--but does that mean its ingredients are safe with no side effects?
Stevia Leaf Study
A 1985 study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that one of the products found in the stevia leaf, steviol, caused mutations in rats. However, no evidence of stevia causing birth defects or mutations in humans was proven.
Stevia and Insulin Sensitivity
A 2003 study from the University of Arizona College of Medicine showed that stevia, the main ingredient in Truvia, helped improve insulin sensitivity in rats, which can help reduce risk of diabetes.
Side Effects and Carcinogens
Perhaps the most meaningful study to date (2006) comes from the World Health Organization, which found no harmful side effects or carcinogens associated with stevia. The WHO did, however, recommend that further studies be conducted to determine proper dosage.
Use in Other Cultures
Stevia has been used by the Japanese for over 30 years with no reported side effects. In addition, stevia has been used among South American cultures for many years for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Truvia's main ingredient, stevia, has been proven to have no side effects, although more evidence is needed to determine whether or not it can be considered "healthy." Evidence from the WHO and recent approval by the FDA should make consumers feel safe about stevia.