The beverage and food industries have sought the "perfect sweetener" for decades. It's no secret that standard table sugar (sucrose) and its even worse cousin, high-fructose corn syrup, rots teeth, leads to obesity, and is a major contributor to diabetes. So chemical companies have concocted an armada of synthetic sugar alternatives such as saccharin and aspartame that have been linked to everything from cancer to neurological disorders.
Now Coca-Cola and Cargill have announced they have "developed" the perfect natural sweetener. The sweetener is stevia, a zero calorie plant-based sweetener that has been used for hundreds of years. In Japan, 40% of the sweeteners consumed are from stevia, so it can't really be called a "new" sweetener. But here in the U.S., likely due to lobbying of the FDA by synthetic sweetener producers, stevia has been hidden in the shadows by strange labeling requirements that keep the average consumer from even understanding what stevia can be used for.
Coca-Cola and Cargill plan to bring a patented version of stevia to the mainstream as the perfect natural sweetener by removing some of the bitter aftertaste. Is this good news or bad news? What's your opinion?