What is Rebiana?

Jamey Jones, B.Sc.

Rebiana is the common name of Rebaudiside A, an extract of the stevia plant, or Stevia rebaudiana. It serves as a natural-sourced, non-caloric sweetener that is from 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Unlike stevia, Rebaudiside A has a sweet taste without the bitterness found in the whole herb.

Rebiana is an extract of the stevia plant.
Rebiana is an extract of the stevia plant.

Products on the market include Truvia™, from Cargill and The Coca-Cola Co. It contains both rebiana and erythritol, another sugar substitute that is from 60 percent to 70 percent as sweet as sugar and has an almost zero caloric value. This is a value so small that the calories do not need to be listed on food labels.

The majority of a diabetic's diet should be composed of unprocessed foods, although the occasional sugar substitute is OK for most people.
The majority of a diabetic's diet should be composed of unprocessed foods, although the occasional sugar substitute is OK for most people.

The stevia extract can be used in a variety of foods and beverages as an alternative to calorie-containing sweeteners. One packet of TruVia&trade is equal to 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of table sugar. Rebiana products can be found in many grocery stores, restaurants and in certain finished beverage and food products.

A combination of rebiana and erythritol is sometimes used as a zero calorie sweetener in beverages.
A combination of rebiana and erythritol is sometimes used as a zero calorie sweetener in beverages.

Rebiana was developed in response to restrictions on use of the whole stevia herb as a result of the possible adverse effects of the herb on the liver. The extract is purified so it doesn’t contain steviol, the component thought to be responsible for liver damage. Extracting it also removes the bitter taste found in the stevia plant.

Rebiana has a lower glycemic index than sugar, making it safe for most diabetics to consume.
Rebiana has a lower glycemic index than sugar, making it safe for most diabetics to consume.

Rebiana has been studied for safety in humans. The equivalent of daily intake by a 150-pound (68 kg) person of up to 2,000 8-ounce (237-mL) beverages sweetened with rebiana was found to not cause any adverse health effects. In addition, for people concerned about lowering blood sugar levels, rebiana was found not to raise them.

Rebiana does not contain steviol, the component thought to be responsible for liver damage.
Rebiana does not contain steviol, the component thought to be responsible for liver damage.

Stevia has been used all over the world since ancient times as both a sweetener and a medicine for the reduction of blood sugar levels. In contemporary society, it serves as a valuable sweetener with zero calories. The stevia extract is especially helpful for people on a reduced-calorie diet and for people wanting to reduce their intake of sugar, whether as a method of better controlling their diabetes or for other reasons.

Some concern has been raised about how the safety studies done on rebiana were funded by the companies that developed the product, suggesting a bias may exist in the results. In addition, some of the safety studies supporting rebiana were actually performed on another component of stevia: stevioside. Stevioside is molecularly similar to Rebaudiside A, however, and said to react similarly in the body.

Truvia contains rebiana.
Truvia contains rebiana.

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