Stevia

Stevia is an all-natural sweetener derived from a plant in the sunflower family that is native to North and South America. The plant has been used for decades in some places such as Japan as an alternative to sugar or honey as a sweetener. However, until recently it was banned in the United States unless labeled as a “dietary supplement.”

In 2008, stevia was approved for use as an alternative sweetener in the United States, under the brand names Truvia and PureVia, but neither product contains whole stevia leaves. They are instead made up of a highly purified product derived from stevia. Whole stevia leaves remain banned in the United States, making any stevia product highly controversial.

Many people swear by the non-caloric sweeteners Truvia and PureVia, using them in everything from baking to sweetening their morning cup of coffee. On the other hand, some researchers have advised people to limit their use of stevia due to  potentially dangerous side effects. Before you decide to introduce Stevia into your diet, consider these pros and cons:

Stevia Benefits

  • Stevia is 250-300 times sweeter than regular cane sugar, meaning you can use much less to get the desired level of sweetness.
  • Truvia and PureVia are both low calorie sweeteners and do not affect blood glucose levels.
  • Stevia products can be used in place of white sugar in baking and cooking.
  • Some research suggests that taking a stevia supplement of 750-1500 mg per day can significantly reduce high blood pressure and can be particularly effective for people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Stevia Concerns

  • After eating stevia, some people experience unpleasant side effects that include bloating, nausea, dizziness, muscle pain and numbness.
  • Since stevia is derived from a plant close to the ragweed, it may cause an allergic reaction in those sensitive to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.
  • If you have low blood pressure, stevia could be potentially dangerous as it could lower your blood pressure more.
  • While some research suggests stevia could aid in managing diabetes, some research proves the opposite. It is best to consult a doctor if you have diabetes before using stevia.
I personally use pure stevia in my recipes, but it took me a while to pick the right one. I didn’t know before that Stevia can taste different( how can the sugar taste different), anyway my first try was Whole Foods brand and it tasted just terrible. In a few months I made the second try with Trader&Joe’s Brand and it still tasted horrible.
 Finally I found NuStevia, that was the right choice. It tastes just like sugar. I use it sometimes in my salad dressings or desserts.
What about you?
Do you use Stevia? If so what kind?
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6 thoughts on “Stevia

  1. Don’t use any sugar, stevia or similar to it sweeteners. Using raw honey, figs or dry fruits instead. I’m still deciding on Agave syrup, not sure which one is good and if it is good at all. Do you use it?
    I’m a bit confused, if pure stevia is banned in US, how did you manage to buy it?

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    • I do use Stevia. I don’t see anything bad about it. It’s just a leaf. It sounds so funny, US banned stevia, but at the same time sell tons of food with really dangerous chemicals.
      I love to use honey, but only in raw recipes. I don’t heat it up. I also use coconut sugar or coconut sugar syrup.

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      • Is the coconut sugar a healthier option? Just curious I didn’t do a lot of research on sugar. Not even sure why the regular sugar is so bad (if eating in moderation). There are also so many different kinds of regular sugar, and some of them are “healthier” than others..so I just gave up and sticked to honey.

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      • Coconut sugar doesn’t spike blood sugar as the regular sugar. It is less sweet to my taste. I am ok with sugar in moderation, but try to go with the healthier options.
        If you decide to stay with honey, you should learn more about the heating process and why it’s not recommended to heat the honey up to the high temperature.

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  2. I like to use dried, ground stevia leaf if possible, but if I do buy it packaged I usually get Sweet Leaf powdered stevia because it is the only brand I have been able to find that is not processed at high temperatures, contains no “natural flavors”, and no added sweeteners, such as dextrose.

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