International Stevia Council

The International Stevia Council Supports the European Obesity Day

Obesity is a grave health risk for current and future generations. The International Stevia Council supports the European Obesity Day which aims to create awareness about obesity and help European citizens make the necessary changes to their lifestyle to manage their weight and improve their health.

It is currently reported that over half of the European population is overweight or obese and that child obesity is becoming a grave health risk for future generations. This is particularly prevalent in Western Europe led by the UK where over 23% of the population are currently classified as obese. Carl Horn, Vice-President of the International Stevia Council, says, "Excess weight and obesity in the European population is constantly rising. Stevia extract - a plant-based calorie-free sweetener – offers people a great variety and natural origin alternative to reduce total calorie intake and reach a desirable weight management."

Consumer research shows that European consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about their calorie intake (1). This concern is a general trend across Europe which accounted for 50% of individual stevia-sweetened lower calorie product launches globally in 2012 – the highest growth of any region (2). 

"The use of stevia extracts is a natural part in lowering total calorie intake and provides a suitable solution to those consumers that want a sweet treat with lower calories", - Sebastian Winkelhaus, Treasurer of the International Stevia Council

Stevia extracts are naturally sourced from the Stevia plant - a small herb native to South America whose leaves have been used for centuries by native tribes to sweeten food and drinks. Stevia extracts (the short name for steviol glycosides) are the sweet compounds found in the leaves of the stevia plant, whose sweetness is released by water extraction and further refining of the sweet components of the stevia leaf.

Research has demonstrated that stevia extracts do not affect blood glucose levels, do not interfere with insulin and are therefore suitable for people with diabetes. Pre-clinical and clinical studies show that the use of stevia extracts is safe for the general population including people with diabetes, children and pregnant women and that there are no known side effects or allergies (3). The International Stevia Council recommends including stevia as part of a natural and well-balanced diet to anyone wishing to maintain a desirable weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle.


1 68% of French consumers are now concerned about the amount of calories they consume compared to 55% 3 years ago and 62% of consumers in the UK are concerned, up from 43% 2 years ago. This is based on “Consumer insight studies” conducted by PureCircle in June 2010, July 2011, March 2013.

2 Mintel/PureCircle Data 2013.

3 In the last 5 years leading food safety and regulatory agencies have issued positive safety opinions on the safe use of purified stevia extracts in foods and beverages, including the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), the French ANSES (National Agency for the Security of Food, the Environment and the Work), the Food Standards of Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

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