To Prevent or Ease Arthritis, Put Down the Sugar and Pick Up Stevia

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Mentioning sugar and arthritis in the same breath: what’s up with that? Consider this: The US has more than 78 million obese adults, according to the National Institutes of Health. A report compiled by researchers at GlobalData estimates that by 2022, the US will have the largest population of overweight people worldwide. But that’s not our only health crisis. More than 50 million Americans have arthritis—and many of them are obese. In fact, aging and obesity are the chief causes of arthritis, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A report in the November 8, 2013 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report notes, “The increase in arthritis definitely has to do with the aging of our population, but it’s also potentially linked to the obesity epidemic.” The report found that almost one-quarter of US adults—52.5 million—have some form of arthritis. The report predicts 67 million Americans will have arthritis by 2030, and obesity could be the cause of this surge.

Although aging can’t be stopped, the impact of arthritis can be decreased. Losing weight and exercising are some keys to fighting the disease. 

One company actively working to stem that tide is Stevia First Corporation. Based in Yuba City, California, Stevia First is headed by its bioengineer CEO Robert Brooke, who fully appreciates the importance of creating a healthier sweetener than anything now on the market. To that end, Stevia First is focusing on growing and processing the stevia plant in a whole new way, so that it provides a tasteful alternative sweetener for food and beverages with no bitter aftertaste. In other words, the company is aiming to give people the satisfying experience they crave without any of the guilt or potential side effects.

The market for an all-natural sweetener is expanding so quickly that Credit Suisse reports that over the next 5-10 years there will likely be a significant reduction in sugar consumption and a marked increase in the role played by high-intensity natural sweeteners in foods and beverages. Stevia First is working on two levels: harvesting and processing stevia plants for use by industry giants (particularly in California’s Central Valley growing region), and developing consumer products of its own, including SF Natural®.

“Giving the public and food and beverage companies a viable way to replace sugar and high fructose corn syrup, a task that isn’t trivial but can be accomplished, can help to reduce obesity. In turn, we expect this will reduce the incidence of a number of obesity-related health burdens, including arthritis and many others,” says Brooke.