Over the centuries, the evolution of humankind was marked by the succession of many social-political organization stages and civilizations, each one characterized by its administrative, economic, religious and cultural particularities, with which were concomitantly developed –as well known –the food possibilities and customs.
The qualitative and quantitative excess appeared in the modern landscape (especially against the background of the usage in a predominantly manner of refined and concentrated foods, in association with the sedentary life specific for the modern civilization) with food deficits, often serious and with bad consequences over the health of some still extended segments of the global population.
It is already proven at the moment that the nourishment plays an important role in promoting and maintaining the state of health in the course of the life, a unsafe diet playing an important role in determining numerous connected chronic diseases which have an alarmingly increasing rate in the present civilization, like obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis and tooth diseases.
The carbohydrates must constitute 50-55% from the daily energy input. It is recommended to consume mainly complex carbohydrates and to limit the simple ones. (e.g. sugar) to 10%.
Although the craving for sweet has not changed, the modern lifestyles have. There are fewer opportunities to be physically active and many more occasions to eat and drink. Because the energy consumption has diminished, the daily energy necessary has diminished also, leading to a present necessity to consume fewer calories in order to maintain an optimal weight.
The weight excess and obesity have become a global public health problem, for adults as well as for children. Many times, the added sugars introduce unwanted calories to the diet. In spite of the invention of the sugar replacements, the consumers still prefer a natural sweet source, with few or no calories.
Stevia (Stevia Rebaudiana) is a plant which originates in South America and has been popular for hundreds of years in the area of Brazil and Paraguay. It is a natural sweetener, without calories and a zero glycaemic index, so it is adequate to be used by the person who desire to lose weight or that need to control the glucose level from the blood, like the persons with diabetes.
Prof. Dr. Mariana GRAUR
President of Romanian Nutrition Society