Is Stevia Bad For You?
Is Stevia Bad For You?
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Is Stevia Bad For You?

Stevia, its botanical name Stevia Rebaudiana, is part of the flower family called Chrysanthemum. This herb is found in Paraguay and Brazil, and is traditionally picked wild from the bush. While there are over 300 species of Stevia plants, this particular one is the only one which produces the Steviocide of up to 10 percent.  Consequently, when mixed with other glycosides, the natural properties enable stevia to produce its sweet taste.

What is Stevia?

Stevia is a natural sugar substitute that, while not recognized by the FDA as a “generally recognized as safe” substance, is legal to use as a food additive and available in powder, liquid and extract forms and comes in various flavors such as grape, cherry, orange, vanilla and more. The Stevia sweetener, in its raw form has few calories and in other forms is considered as a “non-caloric’ substance, which means it has no calories at all.

Independent studies, such as the one by Purdue University, show that stevia will not raise a person’s blood sugar and is considered to be safe for most diabetics. However, while there is no Glycemic index value, diabetics should consult with their doctor because it is considered a supplement and studies are conflicting. Stevia leaves, when in their natural state or in powdered form are about 10 to 15 times sweeter than sugar. However, the extract form is much sweeter at about 300 to 400 times sweeter than regular refined sugarstevia stevia

Contrary to the traditional effects of sweet substances on the teeth such as sugar, a study conducted by A Purdue University research group for Dental Science concluded that Stevia is safe to use in conjunction with fluoride. They also concluded that it might help reduce plaque, thus serving as a cavity fighter. In fact, some gum brands currently use stevia as a combination sweetener and cavity fighter.

Stevia sweetener may just be the perfect sugar substitute. Unlike artificial sweeteners, this is an all natural and extremely sweet herb, which may promote an individual’s overall health. Furthermore, stevia is available everywhere and recommended by many health food critics as well.

Stevia and Diabetes

Stevia has been used by many diabetics as a healthy alternative to commercial sweeteners.  Since stevia is natural, calorie free and has a zero glycemic index, it has become an increasingly popular sweetener for individuals suffering from diabetes.  One of the most appealing aspects of stevia is the fact that it stimulates the release of insulin and normalizes the glucose response, especially in regards to individuals with type 2 diabetes.  Additional diabetic benefits include reducing blood pressure and improving the muscle tone and health of the heart.  Using stevia enables diabetics to enjoy well balanced meals and various food products, without worry about any negative effects which may result from using traditional commercial sweeteners.  It should be noted that it’s important for diabetics using insulin or individuals taking any other medications to consult a physician prior introducing stevia into ones diet.