Stevia belongs to a family called Terpenoids. According to my book called The Organic Constitutents of Higher Plants by Trevor Robinson, 2nd edition, page 158, "This class of glycosides (terpenoids) often have physiological effects on mammals and microorganisms." Perhaps the affect is good, perhaps it is bad; I don't know, but its molecular structure resembles a steroid. It is not SCD™ legal.
There are all kinds of steroids. The ones we take for IBD (ie prednisone which mimicks cortisol) reduce inflammation and scale down the immune system. But there are steroids that do the opposite. I think the point is that plant steroids could have any number of effect in humans and vice versa.
Elaine writes 7/26/04:
My present opinion is that its similarity in molecular structure to a steroid and limited research (on my part into it) results in my not favoring it as a sweetener. However, if all else fails: people still afraid of saccharin in spite of my showing that taking it off the market was purely political so as to sell aspartame, or that people have a phobia about anything made synthetically as saccharin is, in spite of the fact that almost 100 years of its use by diabetic specialists proved its safety - if after all that, these folks still do not want to use it (and it can be obtained here in Canada under a name of Hermesitas – then I say, use stevia which has unknown physiological consequences if they are determined to do so. Obviously, they are still afraid of honey in spite of the fact that Dr. Haas recommended it and I know its chemical composition and used at the beginning of the diet in small amounts (and then can be used as desired in larger amounts).
The very people who have scared them away from honey have approved of grains…which shows that they know little or no biochemistry.
Stevia may be used in minuscule amounts in supplements. - Elaine 10/11/04
From the LI listserve