I will be the first to admit that I love artificial sweeteners. In high school I was an aspartame junkie; and I couldn’t live without diet soda. Now, that I am older and possibly “wiser;” I have learned that aspartame and even sucralose (splenda) can cause some terrible side affects. Even thought I had cut my artificial sugar down to a minimum, I still couldn’t kick this addicting substitute. It wasn’t until my mom introduced me to Stevia Clear; that I ditched the horrible sugar substitute for a natural, calorie free sweetener.
What is Stevia?Stevia is of the Composite family, related to lettuce, marigold and chicory. It was “Officially” discovered in the late 19th century by Dr. Moises Santiago Bertoni. He was given samples of the plant and he reported that “one small piece of the leaf will keep the mouth sweet for an hour”. He named the plant Stevia Rebuadiani Bertoni in honor of a Paraguayan chemist name Rebaudi. Bertoni found that the Guarani Indians had been using the leaves of the plant to sweeten bitter teas and as a sweet treat.
Is Stevia Safe? Stevia has been used since pre-Colombian times with no reports of ill side affects. Stevia has also withstood years of research that has proven Stevia to be safe for human and animal consumption
I have heard that stevia has side effects?
* Toxic? – No. Stevia has been used in Japan since 1970 and there have been no reports of toxicity or other side effects.
* Mutagenic? – No. The Japanese Food and Drug Safety Center has found stevia not to be mutagenic. Only one study has shown stevia to be potentially a mutagenic and this study has been criticized for errors in procedure. Scientist in Great Britain said that according to the study’s formula, distilled water is mutagenic.
* A contraceptive? Two studies showed stevia to have a contraceptive effect. The first study was done in Uruguay over 30 years ago and since then no one has been able to reproduce the results. The second study was done by a graduate student in Rio de Janeiro and the results and methods have been questionable. Multiple other studies have shown that stevia has no contraceptive effect.
* Is Stevia Safe? Absolutely. Steviahas been used around the world with NO reports of stevia overdose or toxicity to humans in the past forty years.
What are the benefits of Using Stevia?Studies have shown the following benefits from using Stevia in one’s diet. These benefits have not been approved or confirmed by the FDA.
* Sugarless with no calories
* Will not effect blood sugar levels like sugar does.
* 100% Natural
* 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar
* Heat stable to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit)
* Flavor enhancer
* Plaque retardant Anti-caries (prevents cavities)
* Recommended for diabetics
* Non-toxic Extensively tested in animals and Extensively used by humans with no adverse effects (source).
If you are like me, then you love to eat sweets. The best brand that I have tried would have to be “Sweet Leaf.” The liquid form in a dropper bottle seems to be the best. You just have to make sure that you don’t use it like sugar. You need a minimal amount to get the same affect of sugar. If you use too much then you will get a bitter taste. Start by using one or two drops (of the liquid form). Later you can increase it. Using stevia can keep you from spiking your insulin and gaining weight.
(CES, PES, CPT, BS)