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According to a 2008 study by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, 64%of adults are either overweight or obese; 26% are obese. Such statistics have fed the demand for calorie reduction in foods and beverages, and over the last year stevia—particularly rebaudioside A—has received significant attention as a natural, zero-calorie sweetener alternative. The material is extremely sweet, with a bitter aftertaste, which has necessitated masking and enhancing technologies. Yet, as Mariano Gascon, vice president of R&D at Wixon notes, “Not all stevia has been created equal.”

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