We all know that Stevia is the new sweetener on the block and everyone is raving about how awesome it is.
Can you really consume it and beat that addiction to sugar and get that 6-pack you have been working towards?
Here’s what you need to know...
The first fact is that Stevia is not artificial. You can believe the TV commercials and advertisements that it is an “all-natural” substitute for artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, etc.
Stevia is actually a small plant that is a perennial that can grow in the southwestern US as well as the Brazilian Highlands.
You can also grow it in a garden in your kitchen as long as it is semi-humid and warm.
The compounds responsible for producing the sweet taste of Stevia comes from several different natural glycoside compounds.
Less is More with Stevia
It is 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar and has not negative side effects such as promoting cavities.
You only have to use about 1/8 of a teaspoon of Stevia leaf extract to have the same sweetness flavor as 1 tsp of sugar.
Or if you are cooking think of it as 2 tablespoons of Stevia compared to 1 cup of sugar.
What about a bitter aftertaste?
Sometimes people report a subtle bitter aftertaste when consuming products that contain Stevia. This can be due to the tannins, flavonoids and essential oils that the stevia leaf contains.
Look for Stevia that is primarily rebaudioside A (Reb A) as this contributes less to the aftertaste.
You can also look for products containing low calorie erythritol or maltodextrin. Both of these will help to cut out the aftertaste and they also help to keep Stevia from clumping when mixed with liquids.
Is it Safe?
There have been more than 40,000 clinical studies conducted on Stevia and it has been found to be safe.
It is a perfect substitute for diabetics and there doesn’t seem to be an allergic reactions to it.
It has also been tested with people who had high cholesterol and they saw their triglycerides and bad cholesterol reduce while their good cholesterol go up.
Studies have shown that it is a great substitute for table sugar.
Does it help with hunger?
In a recent study Stevia was compared to Aspartame and Sucrose for its effects on blood glucose, insulin, satiety and food intake.
The participants were fed all the same breakfast included cream cheese sweetened with either Stevia extract, aspartame or sucrose.
The results showed that Stevia had similar effects on hunger and appetite fullness compared to sucrose (table sugar). They did not eat more calories at the lunch or dinner following the Stevia meal compared to the sucrose meal even though it contained less calories.
It also showed that their glucose levels were significantly lower in the Stevia groups compared to the Sucrose groups.
These types of beneficial effects have long term applications for body weight management and blood sugar control. It means you won’t deposit as much body fat compared to eating something that will raise your blood sugars like sugar does.
Stevia has a long line of data showing that it is safe and it also has many other benefits compared to the alternative options.
The more we can start making substitutions for healthier sweeteners such as Stevia the faster we are able to reach our goals as well as break our addiction to sugar.