Stevia: What You Need to Know

So, it’s become common knowledge in the health food world that sugar substitutes should be avoided due to harmful chemicals and a high dosage of sucralose. With this, there’s a new craze on the market – Stevia.

Stevia
What is Stevia?
Stevia is derived from a plant! The plan Stevia rebaudiana to be precise, and unlike many other sugar substitutes, it contains 0 calories. When you think about it, calories come from the micro-nutrients in the foods we eat, so if there’s not even a single carb, then what the heck is in Stevia?! Well, it comes down to how the body digests it; Stevia quickly passes through the digestive tract and is eliminated before the body can truly even process that it was there. Sweeeeeeeeeeet.

Does it really Work as a Sugar Substitute?
The short answer is yes. Stevia is actually 200x sweeter than sugar when in the raw, and has been consumed by the native Guarani population as a treat for centuries. Many believe that Stevia contains many health benefits and can even be used to treat diseases such as Type II Diabetes and Hypertension, but there is not enough supporting research that exists on the subject right now. Studies have been done, however, as a test to how Stevia affects the body and how food is processed after a meal. The people in question had lower blood sugar after consuming a meal made with Stevia as opposed to sugar, and eating foods with Stevia resulted in lower insulin levels than those with sucrose.[1]

person holding cup with coffee latte with spoon inside

Photo by Beata Dudová on Pexels.com

So the #1 question I’m sure you all have, is it safe? The long answer is, there truly isn’t enough research behind the subject to 100% know. There has been some evidence of Stevia causing low blood pressure, which could actively affect individuals taking blood pressure medication. There is also research being done to dive deeper into how Stevia interacts with other drugs out there, such as anti-microbials and drugs used to treat Cancer. At the end of the day, one should always discuss concerns with their physician, dietician, or nutritionist in order to figure out the best course of action for them.

If you are interested in further exploring the possible health benefits of Stevia or looking to use it as a sugar substitute, by all means go for it! It comes down to the #1 rule in any “diet” (I like to call it a quest for the best food for YOU): Moderation. Keeping anything in moderation is key because anything in excess isn’t good for the body (did you know that there’s such thing as TOO MUCH SPINACH? There is, and it can be detrimental to your health if you eat too much ^^’), and a well-balanced diet is the way to go.

Peep my recipe section for a tasty Fall inspired treat including Stevia you won’t want to miss!
Stay hungry my friends

[1] Cox, Lauren. What is Stevia? LiveScience. 26 April 2018. Web. Accessed 17 October 2018.

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