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Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Phenylalanine in diet soda: Is it harmful?
- Diet soda: Is it bad for you?
- Stevia: Can it help with weight control?
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Healthy diets (10)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
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Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
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Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- Calories in sushi: What are the low-cal options?
- White whole-wheat bread: Is it nutritious?
- Sodium nitrate in meat: Heart disease risk factor?
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Nutritional supplements (18)
- What is wheatgrass — And why is it in my drink?
- Do the benefits of vitamin C include improved mood?
- Prenatal vitamins: OK for women who aren't pregnant?
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Stevia: Can it help with weight control?
What is stevia? I've heard it's good for weight control.
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Stevia is the common name for extracts from the plant Stevia rebaudiana. In the U.S., a purified component form of the plant — called rebaudioside A (rebiana) — is "generally recognized as safe" by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may be used as an artificial sweetener in foods and beverages.
Refined stevia preparations (Pure Via, Truvia, others) are considered nonnutritive sweeteners and, as such, may appeal to people trying to lose weight. But there's no evidence that they offer an advantage for weight loss over other artificial sweeteners. In addition, these highly refined stevia extracts may cause mild side effects, such as nausea or a feeling of fullness.
The FDA hasn't approved whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts for use as food additives because of concerns about possible health effects. In particular, the FDA has concerns about the effects of whole-leaf or crude stevia on blood sugar control, the kidneys, and the cardiovascular and reproductive systems.
Remember that while sugar substitutes, such as refined stevia preparations, may help with weight management, they aren't a magic bullet and should be used only in moderation. If you eat too many sugar-free foods, you can still gain weight if they have other ingredients that contain calories.Next question
Is it safe to store food in takeout containers?
- Is stevia an FDA-approved sweetener? U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm214864.htm. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- Lemus-Mondaca R, et al. Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, source of a high-potency natural sweetener: A comprehensive review on the biochemical, nutritional and functional aspects. Food Chemistry. 2012;132:1121.
- Nonnutritive sweeteners: Current use and health perspectives. A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/07/09/CIR.0b013e31825c42ee.citation. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- What refined stevia preparations have been approved by FDA to be used as a sweetener? U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm214865.htm. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- Stevia. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012;112:739.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 20, 2012.