Dinner last night at a friend's house. We all brought a dish over. One guest brought a pitcher of sweet tea. It tasted a bit odd but I assumed that I just didn't like whatever artificial sweetener must have been in it and I moved on to other beverages. The woman who brought the tea didn't say anything until the end of the evening. Then she began telling us all about this wonderful natural sweetener called stevia that she used in the tea and how difficult it us to get, how little you have to use, etc.
I looked it up this morning and got pretty scared, pretty fast. It seems that it's been banned for use as a food additive (rightly or wrongly seems to be a matter of debate, but still...) in the US and the EU. It's approved as a "dietary supplement." That part was only annoying, not so scary.
What scared me is the fact that there are numerous warnings against using this sweetener if you are taking calcium channel blockers for hypertension - which the Spouse is. It seems that stevia is being researched for its medical use in combating hypertension but if you're already taking these medications consuming stevia can send your blood pressure dangerously low.
Fortunately the Spouse didn't drink much of the tea since he didn't care for the taste, either. However, I feel we got away very lucky.
Should the provider of the tea been responsible to warn us off? I'm assuming she didn't even know there was a possible interaction but since the additive isn't FDA approved, should one assume there's a good reason for that? The Spouse couldn't have known to avoid the tea since A) we didn't know it was in there and B) it wouldn't be listed in known interactions for the meds since stevia is not commercially used here.
What is anyone's (mine, the Spouse, the food provider, the host, etc.) responsibility in a situation like this?
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