10 Apr The Downside to Stevia
We all know that eating lots of sugary foods isn’t healthy. Often when people are looking for a healthier sweetener, Stevia is marketed as the perfect natural sweetener. Is this really the case at all?
What is Stevia?
Stevia, or Stevia rebaudiana, is an herb found originally in South America. Even though it’s found around the world, Stevia was actually banned in 1991 in the U.S. due to early studies that suggested the sweetener may cause cancer. The active compounds of Stevia are steviol glycosides and they have 150 times the sweetness of sugar, plus they are heat stable.
The Truth About Stevia
While the Stevia leaf in fresh or dried form is definitely a better sugar alternative, chances are you’re buying something different once you get to your supermarket. Most of the powdered Stevia sold to consumers are a whole different story. They go through dozens (to even hundreds) of steps including processing, bleach and alteration- making it less of a healthy choice after all.
There are two compounds that make up Stevia’s sweetness and they’re called Stevioside and Rebaudioside A.The most frequently bought Stevia’s are not only toxic, but they contain added erythritol from corn, dextrose or other artificial sweeteners. Stevioside is actually the part of the plant that contains the most benefits, however it has more of a bitter aftertaste. You won’t find enough Stevioside in any of these products, due to its taste.
Most Stevia products sold, including Truvia, contain less than 1% of the beneficial parts of the Stevia plant. Companies like Coke and Pepsi create Stevia’s sold in stores by using proprietary blends and methods that make Stevia cost effective rather than keeping it natural. The power of marketing is phenomenal, causing most people to believe that Stevia really is the healthiest substitute and causing consumers to think they’re actually benefiting from the product.
Is all Stevia bad?
As previously stated, Stevia in its natural form has proven to have its benefits. The only way to attain this Stevia is by growing it in your own garden or purchasing unadulterated leaves from a natural foods store or supplier.
It’s important to note that there are not enough long term studies on Stevia’s effect on human consumption, making it worth thinking about twice.
Potential Side Effects
What sweeteners are safe?
If you’re looking for something that scores 0 on the glycemic index and does not spike your blood sugar, you’re in luck. Monk Fruit is an antioxidant sweetener that works for diabetics and keto dieters.
Not only is it a better alternative with 0 calories, it’s known as the “longevity” fruit, thanks to its superpower antioxidant levels.