Monday, June 24, 2024

Is Stevia Safe For Diabetics

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Risks Of Using Stevia

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1. A lot of stevia products are mixed with sugar alcohols to counter-effect the bitter aftertaste that stevia has. Sugar alcohols are gotten from fruits, like berries. And although some like erythritol have no carbs or calories, others like dextrose and maltitol have small amounts of carbs and calories. These sugar alcohols are not harmful when taken in small quantities. They have less calorie and carbohydrate contents when compared to sugar and other sweeteners, but large amounts can affect blood sugar levels.

2. Hypoglycemia: although its blood sugar level reducing property is beneficial to patients with Diabetes Mellitus, continued use requires constant checking blood sugar levels to note when blood sugar levels are getting too low. Hypoglycemia in diabetic patients often results in complications like a diabetic coma. Also, if non-diabetic people use this regularly, they are prone to suffer from hypoglycemia.

3. Although sugar alcohols are not bad for diabetics, some people react to them. Reactions associated with sugar alcohols include bloating, nausea and vomiting, stomach pains and cramps, and other digestive issues.

4. Risk of low blood pressure in healthy people: although lowering blood pressure is beneficial to diabetes mellitus. It can be an issue for otherwise healthy patients who consume stevia regularly.

Different From Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar alcohols are often synthetic, similar to artificial sweeteners. But these two classifications of sugar alternatives arent the same. Sugar alcohols are different because they:

  • can be metabolized without insulin
  • are less sweet than artificial sweeteners and sugar
  • can be partially digested in the intestine
  • dont have the aftertaste of artificial sweeteners

Research suggests that sugar alcohols can be a sufficient replacement for sugar. But reports also say that it wont play a significant role in weight loss. You should treat sugar alcohols the same as sugar and limit your intake.

Sugar alcohols are also known to produce side effects such as gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. However, erythritol is usually better tolerated, if youre concerned about these side effects.

Stevia Benefit #: Supports Weight Management By Reducing Calorie Intake

If you want to lose weight, theres a simple rule that you need to follow: You need to make sure that youre burning more calories each day than youre consuming.

Added sugar can increase the calorie count of the foods you consume. A teaspoon of sugar contains 20 calories. This can eventually have a big impact on calorie intake, especially when you consider how many foods contain added sugars.

So, what is stevia doing to support weight management? Stevia contains zero calories. If you use it as a sugar substitute, it can create notable reductions in your calorie intake over time.

Stevia benefits your efforts to cut calories. And by doing this, it can help you lose those extra pounds or maintain a healthy weight.

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What Does The Research Say About Diabetes And Stevia

There have been several studies that have researched the effects of stevia on blood sugar levels.

2010 A small-scale study where researches gave participants a snack to eat before their main meal . The snack contained either stevia, aspartame, or sucrose . The sucrose snack had 493 calories, and both the stevia and aspartame snacks had only 290 calories. Despite the difference in calories, all three groups of participants reported very similar hunger levels. The people who ate the stevia snack, however, had significantly lower blood glucose levels after meals when compared to the sucrose group. They also had lower insulin levels than both the aspartame and sucrose groups.

2013-A study in rats reported that whole stevia leaf powder as a dietary supplement led to lower blood sugar levels. The results also suggested that stevia may be able to help reduce liver and kidney damage in the rats.

2015- A study conducted on mice showed that nonnutritive sweeteners such as stevia had antioxidant potential and showed significantly lowered blood sugar levels in the mice.

2016- This study reported that dried stevia leaf powder significantly lowered blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, both while fasting and after eating. The participants also showed a reduction in triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

Is There A Brand Of Stevia That You Recommend


I like to cater this recommendation to the patient, says Watkins. If it is someone that does not eat a lot of sugar or sweets, I try to steer them away from stevia or any sweetener altogether, she admits.

In these cases, we just focus on controlling the amount of natural sugar or carbohydrate totals at one meal or snack, she says. If it is a person that struggles with controlling their sweets, sometimes eliminating these foods altogether for at least a period of time can make a big difference in cravings and eliminate the need for sweeteners.

Watkins says if it helps a patient to use a little sweetener, they will choose a product based on their specific needs.

For example, for her IBS patients, or those that have sensitive guts, she steers them away from brands with sugar alcohols that might cause more GI upset.

Sometimes it comes down to what brand people can tolerate the taste of.

Then we focus on using minimal amounts of any sweetener, to get used to the natural sweetness in the foods they choose to eat., she says. As you decrease cakes, cookies, pies, and candy, maybe even stop altogether for a period of time, most people will find they appreciate and enjoy the natural sweetness in foods again, such as fruit.

In conclusion, stevia products are considered safe, even for people who are pregnant or who have diabetes. However, its important to keep in mind more research needs to be done to provide conclusive evidence on diabetes and weight management.

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Should I Avoid Sugar Altogether

We all know we need to eat a healthy, balanced diet thats low in saturated fat, sugar and salt to keep our weight, cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure in check. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate and because all carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels, reducing your sugar intake can help to keep blood glucose levels under control. As sugar contributes no nutritive value, apart from carbohydrates and calories, it has empty calories and so is not good if youre looking to manage your weight. This doesnt mean that people with diabetes should have a sugar-free diet. In fact, its almost impossible to have a sugar-free diet in the long term. And, its also worth remembering that products labelled sugar-free arent necessarily low-calorie.

Risks And Side Effects Of Stevia

Some forms of stevia have previously been banned by the FDA, due to the toxicity of some parts of the plant in earlier studies. Since then, the FDA has enforced more stringent regulations on extracts of stevia, so make sure any form you consume is FDA approved.

Though stevia itself, when regulated and consumed in a pure form, tends to have minimal side effects, certain common additives to stevia can have some negative side effects.

For example, sugar alcohols like erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol, which are often added to stevia, have been known to cause bloating, vomiting, nausea, and indigestion in some cases.

In addition, some of stevias documented benefits lowering blood glucose levels and blood pressure can be dangerous if you already have hypoglycemia or hypotension.

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What Are Natural & Artificial Sweeteners

The FDA defines sweeteners as: commonly used as sugar substitutes or sugar alternatives because they are many times sweeter than sugar but contribute only a few or no calories when added to foods.

This means that regular sugar, honey, and Agave nectar/syrup dont fall into the sweetener category. However, I do want to address these quickly before moving on to the real natural and artificial sweeteners, since Ive seen claims of how honey and agave wont impact blood sugar in the same way as sugar.

Who Should Not Use Stevia

Is Stevia Good for Diabetes? Is Stevia Sweetener Good for Diabetics? Is Stevia Safe for Diabetics?

Regular stevia use for non-diabetic people can bring about side effects due to its suppressing properties. Stevia for diabetes lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, and acts like a diuretic, which is what a diabetic person needs. Inhibiting some of the functions in the body for a non-diabetic person is dangerous. This means that the normal body functions will not run as expected in addition to the possibility of the product having harmful side effects. Moreover, stevia can also interact with medications as such, it is important to inform your physician before consuming it.

There are several factors that increase the risks of using stevia. These are:

High blood pressure and its medication

Hormone-regulating drugs

Liver illnesses and their medication


Heart conditions and their medications

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Sugar And Diabetes: Why The Type Of Sugar Matters

One of the first major myths about diabetes is that all sugars are bad for you, when in fact this isnt true.

Refined sugars, added sugars, and artificial sweetening agents are all a form of sugar called simple carbohydrates, which are definitely on our red light list of foods to avoid, especially if youre living with diabetes.

These sugars are directly correlated with higher risk of heart disease and obesity.

Meanwhile, natural sugars like those from fruits and vegetables are on our green light list of foods that you can eat ad libitum, or as much as you want.

These foods your risk of all-cause mortality , and can actually contribute to reversing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Most sweeteners, like table sugar and many forms of syrup, are refined sugars, which we definitely recommend avoiding. But what about stevia, and other nonutritive sweeteners?

Sucralose The Most Popular Sugar Substitute

This sweetener is excellent for people with type 2 diabetes. Thats because Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar, yet those little yellow packets have no effect on blood sugar, says Keri Glassman, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City.In addition, Splenda passes through the body with minimal absorption. These attributes have helped it become the most commonly used artificial sweetener worldwide, according to an article published in October 2016 in Physiology & Behavior.

The Food and Drug Administration , which has approved sucralose, recommends an acceptable daily intake of 5 milligrams or less of sucralose per kilogram of body weight per day. A 132-pound individual would need to consume 23 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach that limit.

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Types Of Artificial Sweeteners

There are various artificial sweeteners licensed for use in the UK. These include:

  • aspartame, used in Canderel, Hermesetas granulated
  • saccharin, used in Hermesetas mini sweeteners
  • sucralose, used in Splenda
  • acesulfame potassium , used in Hermesetas Gold sweetener
  • cyclamate, used in Hermesetas liquid.

Some products are made from a combination of two artificial sweeteners. For example, Hermesetas Gold sweetener is made from a blend of aspartame and acesulfame-K.

Stevia Benefit #: Safe For Diabetics

Stevia for Diabetics

Many of us are naturally drawn to sweet foods, but sweets can raise your blood sugar levels. This can be problematic if youre a diabetic. If a diabetics blood sugar levels rise, it can bring on symptoms and worsen the disease.

Stevia benefits diabetics due to its effect on blood sugar. Unlike regular sugar, stevia wont raise the bodys blood sugar levels after you consume it. For this reason, a stevia sweetener can be safely consumed by someone with diabetes.

Furthermore, some research suggests that stevia may have the effect of actually lowering insulin and glucose levels. In a 2010 study, stevia reduced the insulin and blood sugar levels of the participants.

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What Is The Best Form Of Stevia

The highly purified version of stevia is the only form that is recognized as safe by the FDA.

Whole leaf stevia and the raw version are not approved to add to food products due to lack of safety studies, indicates Watkins, so in food products, you will receive the purified form, therefore, its best to stick to one without as many added ingredients.

The refined extract version can be found in food, as a non-nutritive sweetener.

Truvia and Purevia are purified versions of stevia with added ingredients.

Natural & Artificial Sweeteners That Wont Affect Blood Sugar

None of the natural and artificial sweeteners I list below will affect your blood sugar in their raw form, but you have to make sure that the manufacturer hasnt added anything else to the product such as fillers or flavors.

With the exception of aspartame, none of the sweeteners can actually be broken down by the body, which is why they wont affect your blood sugar. Instead, theyll pass through your systems without being digested, so they provide no extra calories.

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Sugars Sugar Substitutes And Sweeteners: Natural And Artificial

If youre living with diabetes, or even if youre not, you might think sweet foods are a barrier to your healthy, balanced diet. As a general rule, everyone should be eating less sugar but sometimes, only something sweet will do.

If want to lose weight, or youre trying to keep your blood glucose levels stable, you may want to know whether artificial sweeteners could help. If you browse around your local supermarket, youll see a huge range of sweeteners on offer, so it can be baffling to know which, if any, to go for.

Are There Any Risk Factors Of Stevia For People With Diabetes

Growing Stevia – Illegal Sugar? A Natural Sugar Substitute

The FDA recognizes stevia as being generally safe for most people. Studies have also confirmed that there are no reported negative side effects of stevia as long as it is consumed in moderation.

Some stevia products contain additives that may cause side effects. For example, sugar alcohols may be present in some stevia products and can cause mild symptoms such as:

  • bloating
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach pain and cramping

However, in most people, including those with diabetes, sugar alcohols are safe to consume. According to the ADA, sugar alcohols contain fewer calories than sugar and do not effects blood glucose levels as much as other carbs.

Examples of sugar alcohol additives some manufacturers may put in their stevia sweeteners or other artificial sweeteners include:

  • erythritol

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Is Stevia Safe For Diabetes

Stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener, which means it contains little to no calories. It is a natural sweetener that comes from the plant called stevia rebaudiana, which is a South American shrub that has a long history of being used as a sweetener. People in Japan and Paraguay have been using stevia leaves for decades to sweeten herbal tea and even medicines. It is also approved by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India , Food and Drug Administration , and also European Food Safety Authority.

Stevia is used as a healthy sugar substitute in many meals and beverages. The sweet-tasting compounds found in stevia sweeteners occur naturally. This characteristic helps people who prefer naturally sourced foods and beverages. The low calorie count also makes Stevia to be a healthier sugar alternative for diabetics.

Diabetes is on the rise across the globe. Worldwide estimates show that 1 in every 11 adults is living with diabetes, and one of the biggest questions that most of them have on their minds is whether stevia is safe or not. Well, lets clear this up.

Many studies have shown that stevia do not contribute calories or carbohydrates to the diet. Stevia even has no effect on blood glucose or insulin response. This means people with diabetics can enjoy food items with stevia as a sweetener. Another study on the effects of stevia on metabolic outcomes showed minimal to no effects on blood glucose, insulin levels, blood pressure, or body weight.

Stevia Is Great For Weight Control

Excessive sugar consumption is often cause for weight gain but hey, who doesnt fancy a sweet treat once in a while?

Stevia can sweeten food and drink without adding additional calories to it, so a bit of sweetness can be enjoyed without consuming anything nutritionally extra.

In this respect, one of Stevias best benefits is that it doesnt just help curb sweet tooth cravings, but can also help avoid the need for snacking and additional unhealthy intake throughout the day.

This all said, it remains important to remember that Stevia isnt a miracle tool to weight loss. Instead, its one tool to hold in your armoury alongside a well-balanced diet, perhaps a weight loss shake and lots of activity and exercise.

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Healthy Pumpkin Muffins Recipe

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Which Sweeteners Are Best For Cooking

Is Stevia Good For Diabetes

Artificial sweeteners come in granules, tablets or liquid form. Most of them can be used in cold and hot foods, but not all can be used for cooking:

  • Aspartame loses some sweetness at a high temperature.
  • sucralose and acesulfame-K can be used in cooking and baking.

Only small amounts of artificial sweeteners are needed as they are intensely sweet.

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