Stevia is Sugar substitute
Today, stevia is part of the sugar substitute market. According to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) high-purity steviol glycosides, an extract of the stevia plant, is considered generally safe for use in food. On the other hand, the FDA stated that stevia leaf and crude stevia extracts are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and do not have FDA approval for use in food.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Americans added more sugar to their diet every year since the 1970s until 2000. When Americans dropped the added sugar, they turned to sugar-like extracts. The sugar substitute market was estimated to be worth $13.26 billion in 2015, according an analysis by Markets and Markets research firm. The firm projected that the market would reach $16.5 billion by 2020.
Just 18 percent of U.S. adults used low- or no-calorie sweeteners in 2000. Now, 24 percent of adults and 12 percent of children use the sugar substitutes, according to a 2012 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.