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Stevia: Health Benefits and Safety

The Complete Herbal Guide / Nutrition  / Stevia: Health Benefits and Safety
Stevia

Stevia: Health Benefits and Safety

In Japan, stevia was approved as a sweetener since the 1970′s and is now the number one sweetener in Japan and there are no reports of unwanted side effects.

What is stevia?

Stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia plant and contains no calories.  It can be used cup-for-cup as a replacement for sugar.  You can use it for baking, and you can sprinkle it in your coffee or on berries or oatmeal.

Why is stevia better than sugar and other artificial sweeteners?

You do not have to use as much: The raw leaves of the stevia plant are approximately 40 times sweeter than sugar, and the powdered sweetener derived from them is up to 200-300 times sweeter. What’s good about this is that you just need a tiny bit of stevia and you can use it in most of your sugar-free recipes to give it a little beat of a sweet kick.

Stevia has no calories

Refined sugar makes you fat. Sucrose contains many calories and there are so many sugary products nowadays that it has become almost a full-time chore to avoid them. Therefore, 34% of adults and 17% of children in America are obese from consuming too much sugar in their diet. These alarming rates are three times higher than they were thirty years ago. Fortunately, Stevia has no calories.

Stevia helps to suppress cravings

As we all know, sugar is addictive and the more sugar you eat the more you want to consume.  It has been reported that stevia suppresses cravings.

Stevia is good for your teeth

When you consume sugar, an adhesive layer of bacteria is formed on your teeth, causing dental plaque and cavities in the end. Sugar alcohols also called “polyols” such as Erythritol, Maltitol, and Sorbitol are popular ingredients in chewing gums and toothpaste because the dental bacteria cannot ferment them and thus, cannot stick to your teeth.

Stevia is great for diabetics

The reason why sugar is so bad for diabetics is that it contains large amounts of carbohydrates. Food types with a glycemic index value of less than 50 are considered relatively safe for diabetics. The lower the number, the better it is for someone who has diabetes. Tabletop sugar has a GI of 80. Stevia has a GI of zero. This makes Stevia ideal for keeping your diabetes symptoms at bay without having to compromise any sweetness in your food.

Stevia regulates hypertension

For generations, native tribes in South America have been using stevia to sweeten their herbal tea. Aside from the sweetness, they have also been using it to lower blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. Nowadays, South American doctors even officially prescribe medicine-containing stevia to help control high blood pressure. Extensive testing has shown that stevia does not lower blood pressure in healthy individuals.

Stevia helps people who suffer from Candidiasis

Candida albicans is a natural type of yeast that is present in every human’s intestines. However, in some people, this yeast population can grow excessively large and that is when an infection called “Candidiasis” occurs, causing symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The main culprit with Candidiasis is the fermentation of sugar in the intestine.  Many candida diets are based on eliminating sucrose from a person’s diet. Raw stevia cannot be fermented by Candida Albicans and does not promote Candidiasis. Therefore, it should be perfectly safe to substitute sugar with stevia for people with this condition.

What are the side effects of Stevia?

In addition, these highly refined stevia extracts may cause mild side effects, such as nausea or a feeling of fullness. The FDA hasn’t approved whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts for use as food additives because of concerns about possible health effects.

People with sensitivity to sugar alcohol may experience bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea, though one type of sugar alcohol, erythritol, poses less risk of symptoms than others. As long as stevia is highly-purified and used in moderation, it will not cause side effects and can be consumed worry-free.

 

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Herbal Guide Staff

schillemi@thecompleteherbalguide.com

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.