CHICAGO, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Global Stevia Institute (GSI), a newly formed organization committed to promoting accurate, credible and consistent information about the natural, no-calorie sweetener stevia, today announced the launch of its website, www.globalsteviainstitute.com, and the formation of its international scientific advisory board and expert panel. The fact and science-based approach of the Institute will be instrumental in advancing the knowledge base of the industry, especially as use of stevia gains popularity worldwide and information about the plant-based ingredient becomes more widely available. This entity and approach is the first of its kind in the industry and will fuel online and offline educational opportunities in the year to come including webinars, events, continuing education and professional presentations.
The GSI board and expert panel represents a cross-functional group of nutritionists, medical doctors, and health educators to ensure that stevia information is disseminated in a way to best educate the public and industry. The esteemed members include:
Keith T. Ayoob, EdD, RD, is an internationally known nutritionist who has worked extensively in the area of obesity, heart health, child nutrition and family dynamics. He received his EdD from Columbia University.
Global Scientific Advisory Board
Jean-Michel Cohen, MD, PhD, a nutrition specialist in France and an award-winning and best-selling author on the subjects of nutrition and obesity. His books have been translated in more than 10 languages. Dr. Cohen received his PhD and MD from the University of Paris.
Mauro Fisberg, MD, PhD, specializes in adolescent nutrition, childhood obesity, food intake and consumption, anemia and nutritional intervention. He received his PhD in pediatrics from the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo.
Alan Rogol, MD, PhD holds the Vice President position with The Endocrine Society. He received his doctoral and medical degree from Duke University.
Marilyn Schorin, PhD, MPH, RD, FADA, is a registered dietitian with expertise in food, health and nutrition communications, and food laws and regulation. She received her PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from Columbia University and Masters in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Michigan.
Robyn Webb, MS – Nutritionist, author, culinary instructor. She provides nutrition education for patients who have diabetes and serves as the associate editor of the award-winning Diabetes Forecast magazine. She received her Master of Science degree in Nutrition from Florida State University.
Anne-Marie Nichols – professional food blogger and owner of ThisMamaCooks.com. She currently serves as a Social Media Manager at Mom Central and is the Managing Editor of several of their blogs, including Mom Central Food. She received her journalism degree from San Diego State University.
Across the globe, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases are becoming a top concern and a growing priority. As government and non-government organizations around the world are calling for a reduction of added sugars in the diet, stevia is poised to help bridge the gap between calorie reduction and great taste. Each GSI advisor and expert lends cross-functional expertise in nutrition, health and disease, food and beverage ingredients, regulatory policy, culinary arts and social media to advance the Institute's mission to promote accurate and consistent information about stevia.
GSI calls for consistent terminology
Dr. Keith T. Ayoob, internationally known nutrition expert and now executive director for the GSI notes that, "One of our goals is to have consumers around the world recognize the word 'stevia' to mean natural, no calorie and sweet. The GSI will broaden the understanding of stevia, its origins, its safety and its applicability to food choices and sweetening options around the world."
As a first step in its education efforts and to avoid consumer confusion, the GSI is calling for consistent terminology when referring to the various sweeteners from the Stevia plant. In consumer communications, all sweet extracts should be referred to as stevia, rather than the numerous scientific names (such as rebaudioside, reb A, steviol glycosides). This call to action is highlighted in the GSI's first white paper, which is available on the new website. The white paper also discusses the role of stevia in the world of sweet.
Website will be ongoing resource for health professionals and consumers
The Global Stevia Institute website will be an educational destination for the industry and consumers alike, highlighting important facts on stevia, news and findings from recent published scientific articles, patient education materials, and events. As information about stevia evolves and emerges, health professionals can sign up for ongoing updates and alerts for continued education.
"Stevia couldn't be more relevant to today's global dietary needs," said Magomet Malsagov, CEO and Managing Director of PureCircle. "As the market leader, we made it a point to engage top-level expertise and thought leadership to help advance the global understanding and acceptance of stevia. It's critical that we do it right. The recent global webinar for health professionals hosted on June 24 is the first of many educational outreach efforts to come from the GSI."
The GSI is sponsored by PureCircle, which announced its creation last month.
Stevia (stevia rebaudiana) is a plant native to Paraguay. The leaves from the plant have been safely used for hundreds of years in Paraguay and Brazil to naturally sweeten local teas, and as a "sweet treat". There are several related substances that can be derived from the stevia plant, with Rebaudioside A (Reb A), being one of the best tasting, and sweetest of all of them.
Stevia was first included in tabletop sweeteners and beverages, and has quickly made its way into other categories because of its ability to naturally reduce calories. According to the June Mintel GNPD Database, thirty- six countries across six continents have now launched a stevia-sweetened product. According to Mintel, 237 new products sweetened with stevia have been launched so far in 2010.
The Global Stevia Institute is supported in full, by PureCircle, Limited™. PureCircle is the global leader in the production of high purity stevia products – its stevia-derived Reb A has helped customers eliminate half-trillion calories from American diets(i). Stevia by PureCircle is the natural, no-calorie sweetening ingredient of choice by major companies and brands around the world.
PureCircle is a pioneer in the extraction of natural goodness from plants and a leading global producer of natural high-intensity sweeteners, including high-purity Rebaudioside-A (Reb A). The company has a vertically integrated supply chain operating in three continents. Activities range from breeding of proprietary stevia varieties, sourcing of dry stevia leaves and extraction, and purification of extracts into sweetening ingredients to the marketing of these ingredients to food and beverage manufacturers worldwide. PureCircle is listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market with the ticker symbol: LSE.PURE. For more information, visit www.globalsteviainstitute.com or www.purecircle.com.
(i) Based on product sales through the end of 2009.