100 % Natural Sweetener With No Nasty Side Effects
Looking for a 100% natural sweetener? Stevia extract is definitely the answer for me. I have a sweet tooth but also a desire to get healthy and occassionally do a sugar detox.
Stevia rebaudiana bertoni is a herb from South America and its leaves have a naturally occurring sweet substance, glycoside
or stevioside. As the negative effects of sugar and the dangers of many artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are further researched, Stevia extract is fast becoming more popular as a sugar substitute / natural sweetener and I can see why.
The History of Stevia as a Natural Sweetener
Stevia has been used as a natural sweetener for many centuries by native Indian tribes in South and Central America. They would use the herb from which Stevia is extracted and which they knew as “Kaa he-he” or “Khaa Joe” to sweeten herbal teas as well as simply to chew on for its sweet flavour. By the 1800’s Stevia, or Kaa He-he was commonly used throughout Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina as a sweetener.
In 1905 Dr Moises Santiago Bertoni published a study that stated that “the sweetening power of Kaa he-he is so superior to sugar that there is no need to wait for the results of analyses and cultures to affirm its economic advantage.”
Today Stevia extract is used in many different countries but is particularly popular in Asia where it is used in many diet drinks instead of aspartame as the sweetener.
Health Benefits and Stevia Side Effects
Stevia sweetener is virtually calorie free and contains no carbohydrates and ranks zero on the glycemic index. It doesn’t have the many negative side effects of other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or saccharin.
The Stevia herb in its natural form is approximately 10 to 15 times sweeter than common table sugar. Stevia Extract in the form of Steviosides can range anywhere from 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar.
And best of all, Stevia does not seem to affect blood sugar metabolism. Some studies even report that Stevia reduces plasma glucose levels in normal adults. This makes it a great tool in weight loss programs, but it also has a number of other benefits especially for diabetics.
Stevia extract may be used by diabetics as it does not affect the blood sugar levels. Current research indicates that Stevia may help to regulate blood sugar levels but further studies need to be done. The effects of it however should be carefully monitored with each individual diabetic when it is first introduced. It may even help to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Some studies show that Stevia may also help to lower blood pressure levels if you have high blood pressure, but does not seem to influence normal blood pressure levels.
Stevia has anti-bacterial properties in that it helps to inhibit the growth and reproduction of harmful bacteria that lead to disease.
If you crave sweets while trying to conquer addictions to tobacco and alcohol then the sweetness of stevia can help to fulfill these cravings in a healthy manner and not play havoc with weight and blood sugar.
Stevia and Detox Diets
Most Detox Diets and especially a Sugar Detox require sugar to be cut out of your diet. Stevia makes a great sugar substitute as a natural sweetener. A sugar detox will also help to stop sugar cravings and heal Candida infections that are so common in society today.
Sugar detox is generally best taken slowly as going cold turkey can be quite painful. You can gradually replace sugar in your diet with stevia and reap the benefits of this wonderful, medicinal herb and avoid the dangers of excess processed sugar.
Cooking with Stevia and Stevia Recipes
As was mentioned previously, Stevia is also good when used in cooking and maintains its flavour where many other sweeteners
lose their flavour when heated. When replacing sugar with stevia in recipes you should note that Stevia extract is about three hundred times sweeter than sugar and so where a recipe calls for a few cups of sugar you will probably only need a few drops of stevia. Stevia recipes are also a great way for diabetics to enjoy sweet dishes and desserts without having to worry about their blood glucose levels.
Stevia Dangers and Safety
Although the FDA in America does not currently accept Stevia as an approved “sweetener”, it is recognized by them as a dietary supplement. There have never been a reported case of any adverse reactions to Stevia.