Rebiana: The new stevia-derived sweetener.

A series of published studies support the safety of rebiana, which is the trade name for a stevia-derived sweetener being developed by The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill. Truvia is Cargill’s brand name for the same product.

Wikipedia has a good overview of stevia and it’s relationship to rebiana.

Here’s what we know from recently published studies.

In animals

  • Male and female rats were fed rebaudioside A 0, 7500, 12,500, and 25,000 ppm for two generations.
    • Rebaudioside A is one of the glycosides (the other is stevioside) with a sweat taste.
  • No adverse effects were reported.

Type 2 diabetes

  • 122 diabetic adults were given 1000 mg of rebaudioside A or placebo for 16 weeks.
  • There was no difference in A1c (the best long-term indicator of diabetes control).
  • There were also no differences in fasting blood sugar levels, low blood sugar occurrences, blood pressure, body weight, and fasting lipids between the groups.

Healthy adults with normal or low blood pressure

  • 100 adults with normal or low blood pressure were given 1000 mg of rebaudioside A or placebo for 4 weeks.
  • There were no differences in seated blood pressure, mean arterial pressure (an approximation of the pressure needed by organs to get enough blood flow), heart rate, or 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure levels between the groups.

The bottom line?
Coca Cola and Cargill would like the FDA to approve rebiana this year.

Some people are apoplectic about rebiana. See if you can figure out what’s upsetting this commenter. Read further and you’ll see that a 1985 study in rats reported that the stevia could cause mutations in the liver. And some European food-safety officials cited concerns about the potential for fertility problems in men.

Whether it’s safe or not will be determined over time. Remember however, the benefits of any sugar substitute are limited to the number of calories saved by not using sugar. Rebiana will not be the magic bullet for weight control.

7/11/08 16:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.