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Why Stevia is My Preferred Sweetener for Dee’s Naturals Muffins and More PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

stevia plant



I’ve always been a fan of stevia. Back in 1997, a friend introduced me to it and I’ve been using it in my diet ever since.  Stevia has been enjoying a great consumer demand lately, which has both good and bad effects.  The good news is that many more people are benefitting from stevia’s numerous health virtues.  It truly is one of the healthiest sweeteners around, with no calories, no effect on blood sugar levels, and no negative health effects.  Numerous studies have even shown that it reduces high blood sugar, making it completely safe for diabetics.

All of this goodness is the reason I’ve always used stevia in my Dee’s Natural muffins home recipe.  Back in 2006, when I wanted to produce the muffins commercially, stevia had not yet received its GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status by the U.S. FDA.  So I had to use white grape juice instead.

That was then, this is now…

In 2008 Wisdom Naturals Brands was the first company to obtain GRAS affirmation for their Sweet Leaf Stevia® Sweetener, and it is now available for food manufacturers to use in ready-to-eat products.  They are also the only company that extracts the sweet compounds (called glycosides) from stevia leaves in a completely natural way, using only a cool water process and absolutely no chemicals (many other companies extract the glycosides using alcohols).  Finally, I’ve been able to officially produce my commercial muffins the way I’ve always wanted to--using Sweet Leaf Stevia® as my preferred sweetener.

If you’ve heard negative information about stevia, such as contraceptive concerns, growth stunting, or cancer causing activity, please know that those few studies were either flawed in their protocol or their results have not been able to be reproduced.1  The inability to reproduce data using the same protocol indicates that the findings are not sound, or that more studies are needed to validate the findings.  More recent studies have established the safety of stevia. 2,3   In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies of stevia extracts conducted on animals and humans, and concluded that “stevioside and rebaudioside A are not genotoxic in petri dishes or in animals.4  The WHO also found no evidence of carcinogenic activity from the use of stevia. The report also noted that not only is stevia safe to consume, it has also shown some evidence of signficiant health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and improving diabetes, although more studies are needed to determine proper dosage.

The WHO's Joint Experts Committee on Food Additives has approved an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of steviol glycosides of up to 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which is the amount of stevia that is considered safe for an individual to consume daily over the course of a lifetime.5 This translates into 12 mg/kg body weight per day of steviol glycosides, which are the sweet tasting components of stevia leaf extract used in foods and beverages. This means that a 150-pound  person can safely consume 816 mg of stevia leaf extract every day over his or her lifetime without any adverse health effect. To put this amount into perspective, the amount of stevia leaf extract in Vitamin Water Zero Glow sold by The Coca-Cola Company in the U.S. is 60 mg per twelve fluid ounce serving.  Furthermore, iIf one were to replace all added sugars in the typical American Diet (131 grams) with an equivalent amount of stevia extracts to give the food the same sweetness, less than 436 mg of steviol glycosides would be required, which is well below the established Acceptable Daily Intake.

The type of stevia we use in Dee’s Naturals Muffins is a dry extract.  In my home use, I personally prefer to use the liquid extracts.  Some people have asked how green stevia leaves are made into clear extracts and white powders.  The answer comes from Jim May himself, the founder of Wisdom Naturals and SweetLeaf Stevia:

SweetLeafNaturalSteviaSweetenerlogoThe stevia herb is green because, like all green plants, it contains chlorophyll. The stevia leaves are soaked in cool water and over a period of soaking time, all the nutrients are extracted. They then use a series of filters of various molecular pores (sizes) which can extract various compounds and separate them. They end up with the four most desirable stevia glycosides, the sweet compounds in the leaves.   When they are separated, the remaining product is a white powder because the chlorophyll has been removed. No bleaches or chemicals ever touch the product.  The powder is then blended with inulin, a natural plant fiber from chicory root.

When you see this type of stevia listed as an ingredient on a food product, it will say “Stevia” or “Stevia Powder.”  This is not to be confused with other stevia derivatives called “Rebiana”, which is a manipulated stevia compound that is produced through a chemical reaction with only one of the stevia glycosides.  Rebiana is not true stevia, even though that is what the public has been led to believe.  Rebiana is part of the sweeteners called Truvia and Purevia, which are not healthy sweeteners in my book.



2. Goyal, S. K.; Samsher; Goyal, R. K. (Feb 2010). "Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review". Int J Food Sci Nutr 61 (1): 1–10. doi:10.3109/09637480903193049. PMID 19961353.

3. Ulbricht, C.; Isaac, R.; Milkin, T.; Poole, E. A.; Rusie, E. et al. (Apr 2010). "An evidence-based systematic review of stevia by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration". Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem 8 (2): 113–27. PMID 20370653.

4. Benford, D. J.; DiNovi, M., Schlatter, J. (2006). "Safety Evaluation of Certain Food Additives: Steviol Glycosides" (PDF). WHO Food Additives Series (World Health Organization Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)) 54: 140.

5. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on food additives, Sixty-ninth Meeting. World Health Organization. 4 July 2008.

First Ever Liability Lawsuit Waged Against High Fructose Corn Syrup Manufacturers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Sunday, October 06, 2013




There is a civil action lawsuit that we at Processed-Free America are carefully watching.

A few months ago, J. Michael Hayes, a Buffalo, NY attorney, filed an unprecedented civil action lawsuit against six manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), including Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland.

The suit is for products liability, failure to warn, gross negligence, reckless conduct and injuries.

The plaintiff is a Buffalo woman and her 14 year old daughter, who now has type 2 diabetes, a condition which Hayes intends to prove was caused directly from the consumption of HFCS.   And he's bringing in the big guns-- "I've got a nationally renowned expert who is solid that HFCS is a cause of type-2 diabetes, which is what we have to prove in the law," Hayes is quoted as saying. "It doesn't have to be the sole cause," he added, but "it has to be a substantial factor."

This case is the first of its kind, and there will most likely be more. With the FDA being so closely tied to the food industry and the massive profits being made from the sale of HFCS, it is unlikely they will take any action.  Hayes says litigation is the next alternative.

The case is in its early stages, but there is already great information revealed from the court documents, including expert testimony on how bad the sweet syrupy stuff really is and how truly different it is to sugar.

Last week, Hays filed a response to the defendants' motion to dismiss the case. It included an affidavit from Robert H. Lustig, M.D., an expert in the field of obesity, metabolism and disease who we've done articles on
before (link to that article here).

According to Lustig, the effects of consuming HFCS contribute to numerous diseases and conditions including:

  • Insulin resistance (which "can and does lead totype 2 diabetes");
  • Damage to the intestinal lining known as "leakygut syndrome";
  • Liver insulin resistance, triggered by theactivation of a liver enzyme which "inactivates a key messenger of insulinaction.";
  • Extra insulin released by the pancreas due toliver insulin resistance;
  • Blocking of the "leptin signal" due to highinsulin that causes "individuals (to) still feel hungry even though they haveeaten."

Even a former FDA official has said that HFCS has such ahigh toxicity level to be considered dangerous to consume. "If we don't get this out of the American diet we are going to end up with a country of lazy,obese, sick young people...this is exactly where it is moving," Dr. Dana Flavin said, "this is a horrendous problem...its toxicity is overwhelming and it's completely destroying the youth of the U.S."

Stay with us as this case progresses. If you haven't signed our petition, we are gatherings signatures to have the most egregious of food additives banned (here's the list). Please click here to sign our petition.



New Study Shows There’s No “Safe” Level of Refined Sugar PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sugar is in the news again, and I don’t think we’re going to stop hearing about it any time soon. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications examined the effects of sugar intake among mice--at levels currently considered to be safe--and the results are quite shocking. As it turns out, these “safe” levels of sugar actually have some serious detrimental effects.


Anyone who has read my books knows that I don’t consider any amount of refined sugar “safe” for human consumption—and the scientific research into sugar’s effects on the body continue to support my view.

The study, conducted at the University of Utah, fed mice a daily diet of 25 percent extra sugar—the equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans (36 fluid ounces) of sugar-sweetened soda. That’s about the size of a typical convenience store or fast food large fountain drink.

The study was conducted over one year, the average life span for a typical laboratory mouse. So in effect, this was a lifelong study on the animals to look at the effects of chronic sugar consumption. The study results showed that consuming 25 percent more sugar (an amount that is currently considered safe for humans) changed the way mice lived in a contained, natural habitat.

The findings showed that the mortality rate in female mice went from 17 percent to 35 percent (meaning they were twice as likely to die) and male mice produced 25 percent fewer offspring compared to mice on a controlled diet.

James Ruff, a post-doctoral student involved with the study, said the sugar increase was bad for the rodents. “The sugar has done something to their physiological systems that make them worse at competing–worse at dealing with the day-to-day struggles of mouse life. It makes the male not be able to give it their all every day in order to defend and maintain their territories, and it makes it harder for the females to do the incredibly intensive things they have to do–forage for food, gestate, and take care of their pups, which is incredibly taxing,” he said.

Despite the added sugar, the mice didn't become obese or demonstrate significant metabolic symptoms. However, the types of effects the researchers did see were just as harmful to the mice's health as the type of health problems that arise from being the inbred offspring of two cousins. A study on inbred mice was also performed, and researchers said the effects of increased sugar were similar to what was seen among inbred mice. Both the inbred mice and the mice on the added sugar diet lost about 30 percent of their health and fitness and reproductive output.

The study's senior author, biology professor Wayne Potts, said the impact of the sugar was more significant than he expected and stressed the relevancy of the study to humans. “I was surprised how big the effect was that we are actually talking about mortality,” he said. “That’s a pretty big kind of end-point.” "Our results provide evidence that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic adverse impacts on mammalian health," Potts said in a press release. "I have reduced refined sugar intake and encouraged my family to do the same," he added.

Currently, the National Research Council recommends that added sugar should not account for more than 25 percent of a person's diet. That does not include naturally occurring sugar found in fruits, vegetables or other non-processed food. Thirteen to 25 percent of Americans consume a dose of added sugar equivalent to that used in the study, Potts said.

The University of Utah researchers said that while mice and humans have different physiological makeups, they are close enough that the side effects of sugar might be something people should consider eliminating from their diet. The results indicate that we need to learn a lot more about what sugar is doing to metabolic mechanisms, and that follow up studies are necessary.

So what to do with a sweet tooth? Use stevia, or other natural sweeteners that have not been shown to have detrimental effects on health.

Truvia Sued for Deceptive Advertising PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Cargill, the huge agribusiness firm that makes Truvia, just can't get a break.

The makers of Truvia, the highly processed stevia creation, are being charged in a new class-action suit claiming that it's marketing is "unfair, unlawful, and fraudulent..." and "likely to deceive" consumers into believing its "stevia" brand sweetener is natural when it is in fact a substance that is "highly chemically processed." The complaint (seen here) was filed in Hawaii federal court in July.


in 2012, Dee McCaffrey, Founder of Processed-Free America, said Trivua is not a natural product - it is misleading to the consumers - "It comes from stevia, but it isn't stevia. It isn't the real deal." Ms. McCaffrey says. Click here for the link to this podcast:

In fact, only a minute fraction of stevia-derived ingredient is in Trivia. The remainder is all synthetic erythrotol that comes from corn starch (ah, there's that GMO corn again) that is created in a highly processed way (which they don't tell us how, except to say that it's converted to glucose through "the biochemical process of enzymatic hydrolysis").

And this, on top of Cargill being sued for it's other product, high fructose corn syrup. Back in June, Cargill and five other HFCS manufacturers are being sued for product liability, failure to warn, reckless conduct, gross negligence, and injuries to a Buffalo-area woman and her 14 year old daughter who has type-2 diabetes, saying there is indeed a "direct, causal connection" between this poor girl's condition and her consuming HFCS. For more info on this, click here:

But Cargill isn't taking any chances. According to Domain Name Wire, the giant scooped up names like and other derivates. Better safe than sorry, as they say. Always good to try to control the conversation while toiling on the wrong side of history.

Splenda Affects Insulin Response PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A team of researchers at the Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis recently found that Splenda indeed has effects on the body’s response to sugar, which can therefore affect diabetes risk.

As everyone knows, sucralose, the main ingredient in Splenda, has zero calories and shouldn’t produce an insulin response. However, this new study of 17 very obese people who are not diabetic and don’t normally consume artificial sweeteners, is showing new evidence to the contrary.


The participants consumed either sucralose or plain water before taking a glucose challenge test that is typically used as a tool to determine if a person has gestational diabetes. The results concluded that consuming sucralose was connected with higher blood sugar peaks and 20 percent higher insulin levels compared with those that just consumed water. The researchers stated that more studies need to be done.


SOURCE: Splenda, Sucralose Artificial Seetener, Could Affect Body's Insulin Response

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