Facts and Benefits of Stevia Sweetener
Stevia sweetener has taken the world by storm as a replacement for other artificial sweeteners on the market today and natural sugar, which as we all know can be dangerous and in some cases deadly. Stevia is extremely popular because it has health benefits and is said to aid in lowering blood pressure, to help with weight loss, prevent certain types of cancer, help with diabetes, prevent oral problems, help with skin care, and even help to build strong bones. That’s quite a lot of benefits for one little sweetener, but studies show that this sweetener does exactly all that. Stevia is derived from a plant and has actually been used for centuries in some other countries.
There are many, many benefits associated with this little sweetener and even three different types for us to talk about. In this blog, we will go into what Stevia is, the types that you can use, and some of the benefits and facts you need to know. As with anything else in the world today, Stevia sweetener comes with its own set of dangers and side effects that need to be addressed as well. We’ll go into a few of those in this blog also. Now, without further ado, let’s get into our blog on the facts, benefits, and even the dangers of Stevia sweetener that you should know about before using it yourself or giving it to your family members.
What Exactly is Stevia Sweetener?
Before you decide to use this sweetener, it’s a good idea to know exactly what it is. Stevia is a sweetener that actually comes from an herbal plant that is known to be green and leafy. The plant is from South America and has been used for many centuries because the leaves are said to be extremely sweet. It is said that though these leaves are 40 percent sweeter than natural sugar, they don’t still don’t affect your blood sugar levels. As of 2011, this sweetener has been approved for use as a substitute for sugar in 27 nations, though that number may have risen by now. There are three different types of Stevia to be had. We will go into a little bit about those types below.
Types of Stevia
Stevia can be found in three different forms, depending on the level of processing it has gone through. Those forms can be found below.
Green Leaf Stevia: Green leaf Stevia is said to be 30 to 40 times sweeter than natural sugar, but does have a slightly bitter taste. This is the least processed form of Stevia there is.
Altered Stevia: 200 to 400 times sweeter than natural sugar, this is often said to be the worst form of Stevia and not recommended by some. This is the most highly processed form of the leaves and contains GMO ingredients.
Stevia Extracts: The extracts from this are said to be 200 times sweeter than natural sugar and is quite a bit less bitter than the green leaf Stevia is.
It is important to research the type of Stevia sweetener you are using to ensure it’s the right choice for you and your health needs. Now that we know a little about what Stevia sweetener is and the types that you have to choose from, it’s time to jump into the health benefits of this sweetener that is proving to be very beneficial to some people’s health. Ready? Then, let’s get started.
Health Benefits of Stevia Sweetener Revealed
There is a list of health benefits that using Stevia sweetener instead of other sugar substitutes and natural sugar is said to bring to your body. Read on below for a few of those health benefits to be revealed, so that you can make an informed and educated decision as to whether the sweetener is the right choice for you and your family.
Can Help to Control Diabetes
The thing that is most praised about Stevia is its ability to control blood sugar levels in your body. This makes it the perfect replacement for sugar for anyone who has diabetes or is anyone that is on a controlled-carbohydrate diet as now they can eat the sweet foods they crave, within reason, of course, without having to worry about any complications. This is the perfect alternative for those who love sweets but can’t have them due to the above conditions.
Can Help with Weight Loss
Since Stevia is said to be very low in calories, but is much, much sweeter than natural sugar, according to the form, it makes it possible for dieters to eat cookies, cakes, pies, candies and more that are made with a Stevia sweetener and not have to worry about packing on the calories or feeling super guilty afterward. It’s also a great way to control extra sugar content in the foods that your children love as well. It’s a win-win, they get the sweets and you get the peace of mind of knowing that it’s really not that bad for them and won’t cause obesity.
Can Help to Regulate Blood Pressure
This sweetener is also said to help regulate your blood pressure, which means you are less likely to end up with heart disease or having a stroke. This is not to say that you should stop what you’re doing and just start using Stevia. It is best to contact your primary care provider before changing your diet up in any way, even though this is natural and said to be better for you, just to be on the safe side.
Can Help to Prevent Cancer
Stevia contains many rich antioxidants, which makes it a great supplement to help to prevent certain types of cancer, among other things. Antioxidants are powerful in everything from preventing aging to helping with conditions like heart disease, so it stands to reason that this powerful sweetener would help as well since it contains so many of these natural compounds.
Can Help to Lower Cholesterol Levels
Studies have shown that the consumption of Stevia sweetener, as opposed to natural sugar and other artificial sweeteners, can lower bad cholesterol levels and help to maintain and regulate the good cholesterol levels. This in itself is worth giving this sweetener a try, wouldn’t you think?
Can Help with Your Oral Health
Stevia has been proven to reduce the harmful bacteria that sits in your mouth waiting to attack your mouth, teeth, and gums. It works so well for this in fact that it is now a popular additive to many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes. If you have ever had a cavity or any type of gum disease then you truly know how important reducing that harmful bacteria can be to your oral health and your overall health as well.
Can Help with Skin Care
Topical application of Stevia is said to help with many skin care conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis. It is not a substitution for visiting your doctor to get the right treatment for these conditions, but it is a natural way to help treat and improve them.
These are just a few of the primary health benefits that people are finding when using Stevia sweetener instead of other artificial sweeteners and natural sugar. Below you can find a few of the foods that you can use Stevia sweetener in to bring these health benefits into your and your families lives.
Foods to Add Stevia Into
- Beverages, such as coffee and tea
- Ice cream
- Other dairy products
- Soft drinks
It is possible to use it in various dishes you cook at home as well, though it is important to measure carefully and put the right amount of Stevia in the dishes you prepare.
Stevia is said to work quite well at helping treat, prevent, and aid the conditions above. So, if you have any of them or are trying to lose weight, then Stevia might be the best option for you. However, it is best to contact your doctor to ensure this is the right course of action for you.
Even into the best sweetener, it seems a little problem must fall. As with anything else in the land, Stevia sweetener is said to have its own set of dangers and side effects. We will talk about all of this in the next section of our blog below.
Dangers and Side Effects of Stevia Revealed
While Stevia is certainly gaining in popularity as a natural sweetener and it has pretty much been proven to be more beneficial to your health than artificial sweeteners and even natural sugar itself, there are still dangers and side effects that you should be aware of. In this section of our blog, we will go into a few of them and even go into who Stevia is not recommended for as well.
May Cause Kidney Damage
Since Stevia is considered to be a diuretic, it increases the speed that your body gets rid of urine and electrolyte. In some people this can lead to kidney damage, so you need to contact your doctor right away if you have kidney problems or there is a history of kidney damage in your family, if you have been taking Stevia or if you want to start taking it as well.
May Cause Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Stevia has been reported to cause gastrointestinal symptoms in some users, because of the sugar alcohol it contains. If you are experiencing the below symptoms, it might be best to stop taking the Stevia.
Other Dangers and Side Effects Possible
There are a few other dangers and side effects that could happen from using a Stevia sweetener. We will list these below for your perusal.
- Reproductive difficulties
- Energy metabolism problems
- Muscle pains
- Allergic reaction
- Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar
- Low blood pressure
- Endocrine disruption
There are also a few different names that Stevia goes by in case you want to use it or just in case you need to stay away from it. Those names are listed below as well.
Other Names for Stevia
- Only Sweet
Below you will also find a list of people who should not use Stevia, no matter what name it is sold under.
Should You Not Use Stevia?
- Someone with a liver condition and on liver medications
- Someone with a blood pressure condition and on blood pressure medications
- Someone with a kidney condition and is on kidney medications
- Someone with a heart condition that is on heart medication
- Someone who is taking a hormone regulation medication
- Someone who is taking steroids
- Someone who is taking cancer medications
It is also thought that low levels of Stevia could be okay for pregnant women, however, it is best to check with your doctor before using this and anything else that might affect your health or the health of your unborn child. There are also unsafe types of Stevia out there, so you need to do your research and talk to your primary health care provider before you take any Stevia that you aren’t sure of.
The biggest takeaway from our blog on Stevia should be that though it has many health benefits, it also has quite a few dangers and side effects. If you aren’t sure whether using Stevia in place of other sweeteners and natural sugar is the right choice for you, do your research and then consult with your doctor before taking it at all.
This concludes our blog on the facts, benefits, dangers, and side effects of Stevia sweetener that you should know about. Remember, do your research, take your time, and then make an informed decision on whether this is the right sweetener for you. Until next time, stay healthy, everyone!
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