Stevia is a natural sweetener and a sugar substitute widely consumed by people suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance, blood sugar and the like. It is already high in demand for weight loss and for children to make them avoid sugar, which results in early cavities.
More and more people are nowadays suffering from different kinds of insulin problems. These are basically symptoms of an increased amount of sugar in the system. The store-bought foods, grains and cereals you are consuming are most probably laced with sugar and eventually cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. This induces a pre-diabetic condition, ultimately leading to diabetes, weight gain and even issues relating to the nervous system. Sauces, dressings and almost all restaurant foods use high amounts of sugary products to make the food taste good. Here is where stevia comes in as a saviour. Plain, unadulterated stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar but has 0 calories and no side effects to our health.
The plant from which stevia leaves are extracted hails from Paraguay, Brazil and other parts of South America. The Guarani people of South America have been working with this plant for more than a 1000 years. Presently you can also find this in China and Japan. Since before the 16th century, stevia has been used extensively used for sweetening teas and beverages. It has also been included in the development of certain medicines, making them edible enough for the diseases ridden to consume.
As a plant it has certain parts which are actually sweet, these are steviol and glycosides. These sweet components are prepared crudely via the dried stevia leaves. At present countries all over the world are harvesting and using it as an ingredient for a variety of products.
Approved in over 60 countries
With the rise in calorie consciousness and diabetic conditions, steviol glycosides are approved in over 60 countries. These include China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Paraguay, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, and Argentina. In the US it is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) as a tabletop sweetener. The food industry paired with a health-conscious audience are rooting for this sweet miracle. The fight against an unhealthy lifestyle is a growing industry in itself which supports and motivates good nutrition. Innovations involving stevia are an ever-growing component in the field of food science and with time it will be used in most staple households.
6 incredible benefits of stevia
1) Firstly, it does not add calories or carbohydrates to the diet. Pure stevia, in its liquid or powder form, carries almost no calories. This is good news if you count your daily calories! Due to its complete lack of carbohydrates, it can also be used in diets like paleo and keto, since they recommend food low in carbs.
2) Secondly, it helps in lowering blood sugar levels and insulin. People suffering from high blood sugar can really benefit switching from sugar to stevia. 100% natural stevia is 300 times sweeter than regular table sugar, hence satisfying your sweet tooth without giving it cavities or increasing insulin.
3) Thirdly, it prevents a pre-diabetic condition, insulin resistance and helps diabetic patients. Sugary foods can overtime increase insulin levels tremendously, inducing a pre-diabetic state. Consuming stevia can help substitute sugar as a result of which you automatically consume less or no sugar. Thus, bringing down your insulin levels and protecting you from insulin resistance and diabetes.
4) Fourthly, it helps you cure your sugar addiction. Stevia being much sweeter than sugar helps satisfy your sweet tooth. Remember, its 100% natural self has a mild aftertaste but eventually leads to a complete reduction in sugar cravings. The time period from sugar to stevia might result in withdrawal symptoms because sugar is basically an edible drug. Over time these symptoms will disappear, resulting in a happier and healthier you.
5) Fifthly, it is perfect for losing weight. Weight Watchers have a hard time avoiding their favourite desserts. Solution? Add a pinch of stevia to your cookie or cake recipe and you will find it much easier to stick to your weight loss goals.
6) Lastly, it lowers cholesterol and promotes good gut bacteria. An NHI report suggested that stevia supports the growth of good bacteria in the gut. It lowers bad cholesterol and helps in flushing out toxins from the body by preventing blockage.
The worse kind of stevia
Many leading food industries have adopted this plant in their process of production, but with a slight twitch. Stevia is best consumed by customers in its all natural form. The worst kind of stevia is one which has these in its ingredient label: Maltodextrin, Sucralose & Dextrose. Basically, you want to stay away from anything which has these in its label. Currently, most of the commercial artificial sweeteners and even stevia itself are laced with these chemicals. Anew of its side effects are digestive issues like bloating, gas, a laxative effect, and diarrhoea. Maltodextrin is used for bulking food products and can be found in many sodas and even baby foods! It can cause allergic reactions, rash, muscle cramps and can cause side effects to people with gluten sensitivity.
Why is it demonized by some?
Many people when first introduced to Stevia, have an immediate response. Some think that just because it tastes like sugar it must be having the same effects sugar on the body. this assumption leads to a complete elimination of the product. But it couldn’t be further from. In fact, stevia helps diabetics to eradicate and prevent a lot of health issues which is induced by sugars. A continued use of sugars in our daily diet has got us craving more of it. Sodas, sweet cereals, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, sugar-laced dressings, desserts are some of the items we eat on a daily basis. This makes it harder to develop healthy habits. Stevia helps us break free from this routine. A regular use of 100% natural stevia will reduce cravings, thereby making it easier for you to make healthier choices in life.