Diabetes specialist Preeti Jain talks about the natural sweetener called stevia which is 300 times sweeter than traditional beet or cane sugar and could be a way for people with a sweet tooth to satisfy their sugar cravings totally guilt-free.
- Stevia is a non-caloric herb native to Paraguay that has been used as a sweetener for over 1,500 years in South America, without harmful effects.
- The herb, related to the lettuce family, has also been used in Japan since the early 1970s to sweeten pickles and other foods.
- The FDA has now added the natural stevia extract to the GRAS list as well.
- Stevia can be used in cooking and as a tabletop sweetener
- It is available in USA from most grocery stores, in liquid form, powder and even in the convenient small packets.
Stevia has many helpful properties
- No sugar and no calories.
- Anti-inflammatory effects.
- Is 100 percent naturally derived 250 to 300 times the sweetness of sugar.
- Heat stability to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit).
- No fermentation properties.
- Flavor-enhancing qualities.
- Plaque-retardant and Anti-caries properties to help prevent cavities.
- Been recommended for diabetics because it does not spike insulin.
- Anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
- Been shown to lower blood pressure in those with hypertension.
Amazing Facts about the new guilt free sweetner
- Over 100 phytochemicals have been discovered in Stevia, and it is rich in terpenes and flavonoids.
- Besides having been in use for hundreds of years, extensive testing in animals has demonstrated no harmful effects.
- Its main sweet chemical, stevioside, has been found to be nontoxic in acute toxicity studies with rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds.
- It also has been shown that it does not cause cellular changes nor affect fertility.The natural stevia leaf also has been found to have no mutagenic activity.
STEVIA HAS BEEN STUDIED EXTENSIVELY
- A 1991 study in Thailand found that even at doses 1,000 times normal human dosage, hamsters demonstrated no difference in growth rate or sexual performance — even through three generations.In 2004, researchers Belgium organized an international symposium on ” The Safety of Stevioside.” Scientists from all over the world who attended concluded that stevioside is safe:
- Stevioside is not carcinogenic. On the contrary, studies in Japan have proven that stevioside reduces breast cancer in rats as well as skin cancers in animal models.
- Stevioside is not absorbed by the human gut. Only bacteria of the colon degrade stevioside to steviol. Part of this steviol is absorbed through the intestine but is quickly metabolized to steviol glucuronide and excreted in the urine. No free steviol is detected in the blood.
- The bottom line is that there is no compelling evidence that stevia in any reasonable dosage causes cancer.
- In fact, it is worth noting that the incidence of cancer in Japan is very low, although stevioside has been used there for over 25 years.
- There is no meaningful laboratory evidence that stevia has any effect on male or female fertility, nor on the development or state of the fetus.
- It should also be noted that all of the studies against have used purified stevia at levels far, far, far higher than would ever happen in a normal human diet.
- In the real world, stevia has been in use with hundreds of millions of people throughout Asia and South America for as much as a quarter of a century.
Do you think STEVIA is the new solution to our sweet tooth problems? Please share your views and experience with us.
By Preeti Jain