I have been meaning to post this article for awhile now; there is much debate recently about artificial sweeteners including herbal or “natural” being bad for you. I want to share this information with you in order that you might make an informed decision…..
The person in the post below discusses how stevia is bad for you; mainly because of the additives included in Stevia in the Raw, Stevia, Stevia extract, etc. It is very important to read labels and know what is going in your food. Personally our family uses Stevia in place of sugar in most cases. If we do use sugar it is Sugar in the Raw! You can also order Stevia seeds that can be planted in your home. I recommend ordering from Baker’s Greek Heirloom Seeds.
Commercial preparations of stevia are safe for daily use.
Stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, can be a zero-calorie substitute for sugar, honey or other sweeteners. However, because research on stevia is still limited, it’s difficult to know whether there is an upper limit above which stevia becomes unhealthy. Even the type of stevia you use can make a big difference, since food manufacturers have created refined versions that do not have the same effects as the unrefined version.
Whole-leaf stevia, the natural form of this sweetener, is only sold as an herbal supplement. It is green in color and tastes about 300 times as sweet as sugar. Whole-leaf stevia has not been approved by the FDA as a food additive, so it cannot be used in commercial products, such as baked goods or soft drinks, in the U.S. Crude extracts made from stevia leaves are also in this unapproved category and can only be sold as dietary supplements. In 2008, the FDA approved a refined form of stevia, made from just the component called rebaudioside A, for use in food. This version is now sold at the grocery store as an artificial sweetener and included as an ingredient in commercial foods. Many other countries, including Japan, allow the use of whole-leaf stevia in commercial food products.
Blood Sugar and Stevia
Some of the components in whole stevia leaf or stevia extracts may lower blood sugar in diabetics, but not in individuals without diabetes, according to Drugs.com. This could be a concern for individuals who need to keep their blood glucose levels stable throughout the day. However, the specific amounts of stevia needed to cause this effect and which specific components of stevia affect blood glucose are still under investigation. The components stevioside, steviol, isosteviol and glucosyl-steviol have all shown effects on blood glucose levels in preliminary trials. Rebaudioside A, the component found in commercial stevia products, does not affect blood sugar levels at all.
Side Effects of Excess Stevia
In some people, stevia can cause nausea, bloating or gas. The effects of pure stevia on the kidneys, cardiovascular system and reproductive system remain under study, because animal research has revealed conflicting results that might indicate areas of concern. No adverse effects have been shown to result from excessive consumption of rebaudioside A, and commercial stevia products made with this component are generally recognized as safe by the FDA.
Using commercial stevia products in place of sugar may help with weight management when included as part of an overall balanced diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, if you plan to use whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts, talk to your doctor about the potential side effects and adjusting the dosages of medicines you are currently taking, such as diabetes or blood pressure medications.
Whether you choose to use Stevia commercially made or grow your own, always make sure to read labels and know your sources. Feel free to post any comments or reviews or your experience with Stevia!