What Is Rebiana and Is It Safe as a Sweetener?

How Rebiana Is Processed and Used in Food Products

Stevia sweetener in powder form.
Stevia sweetener in powder form. Dennis Lane Photography/Getty Images

Rebiana is the name of a zero-calorie sweetener made from stevia. Rebiana is derived from a specific part of the stevia plant using a highly refined process. Rebiana is made from steviol glycoside rebaudioside A (Reb-A).

FDA Approval for Rebiana

In December of 2009, the FDA issued a letter stating the Rebiana and other products made from a specific part of the stevia plant and meeting purity standards of 97% or higher would be "non-objectionable" as food additives.

This was a semi-reversal of the FDA's previous stance on stevia products. Until 2009, stevia products were banned as food additives in the U.S. because of research that indicated a possible cancer risk. Cargill, the agricultural giant, was able to demonstrate to the FDA that Reb-A containing products were safe and the FDA agreed.

Taste the Rebiana

Rebiana, also referred to as high-purity rebaudioside A, is anywhere from 200-300 times more potent than table sugar. It has a clean, sweet taste without an aftertaste. It is used in various beverages and foods as well as in smoothies or alongside other carbohydrate sweeteners. It is stable under dry conditions and has much better stability than aspartame or neotame in aqueous food systems. You can find Rebiana in assorted products, most notably the sweetener Truvi which is sold as a stand-alone sweetener and also found in Coco-Cola products. Research also reveals rebiana is sweeter when cold.

Safety Questions Surrounding Rebiana

Although it's said to be natural, both truvia and purevia packets have additives. Erythritol is added to the Reb-A sweetener to eliminate the potency of the licorice aftertaste. Erythritol is a natural extract and is a sugar alcohol. Large amounts of sugar alcohol are known to cause digestive issues.

Rebiana is said to be safe for use by diabetics as well but is a very small portion of truvia. While technically there is some stevia in the product, it is actually made from 99.5% erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and only 0.5% rebiana.There is little data and a lack of independent, peer-reviewed, research on Rebiana A, but it is widely used around the world and has been for some time. If you are concerned about using rebiana A, talk to a nutritionist.

Truvia Rebiana

Rebiana is actually the trade name for a stevia-based sweetener used in food products. While the FDA has not permitted the use of whole-leaf Stevia or crude Stevia extracts because these substances have not been approved for use as a food additive, Rebiana, the highly processed version of stevia, is approved.

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