Stevia - A Natural Sweetner

Stevia - A Natural Sweetner
    • Refined sugar is incredibly harmful.For this reason, people are looking for healthy alternatives.There are many low-calorie sweeteners on the market, but most of them are artificial.
    • However, there are a few natural sweeteners out there that taste just as good.What aftertaste would you expect from a powdered sugar extract from green leaves? Perhaps bitter, peppery or simply tasteless? Well, not this green powder. It is actually sweet i.e. "STEVIA"
    • Stevia is a green, leafy plant that is native to South America.It is a 100% natural, zero calorie sweetener with a number of health benefits.It has been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries. The plant has also been bred for its strong, sweet flavor and used as a sweetener.
Benefits of Stevia:-
    • Stevia Can Lower Blood Pressure - Studies have shown that taking stevioside (one of stevia’s sweet compounds) as a supplement can reduce blood pressure.These were the results after two years in the group taking stevioside:
    • Systolic blood pressure: went from 150 to 140 mmHg.
    • Diastolic blood pressure: went from 95 down to 89 mmHg.
    • In this study, the stevioside group also had a lower risk of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, an enlarging of the heart that can be caused by elevated blood pressure. The stevioside group also had improved quality of life.
    • 2.Stevia May Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Help Fight Diabetes -Type II diabetes is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.It is characterized by elevated blood sugar in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.Stevia has been studied in diabetic patients with impressive results.n one of the studies, type 2 diabetic patients took either 1 gram of stevioside with a meal, or 1 gram of maize starch.The group taking stevioside had a reduction in blood sugar by about 18%.
    • 3.Stevia consumption is connected to breast cancer reduction-  wo years ago, Nutrition and Cancer highlighted a groundbreaking study that, for the first time ever, connected stevia consumption to breast cancer reduction. It was observed that stevioside, enhances cancer apoptosis (cell death) and decreases certain stress pathways in the body that contribute to cancer growth.
      Negative Effect of Stevia :-

      There is one study that indicates consuming stevia in very large amounts could effect hormones because its glycosides have a similar structure to plant hormones such as gibberellin.

      Not All Stevia Is Created Equal!

      Here is what you need to know about the various brands of stevia.  There are three main categories that you need to be aware of.

      • 1. Green Leaf Stevia - This is the least processed of all types of stevia and the leaves have basically been dried and ground into powder form.  This is the type of stevia that has been used in Japan and South America for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy.  This stevia is sweet, slightly bitter and isn’t quite as potent as most stevia products.  This type of stevia is about 30-40 times sweeter than sugar.
      • 2. Stevia Extracts - Some brands of stevia today extract the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside) which doesn’t have the health benefits found in stevioside.  This type of stevia may be a better option than other regular sweeteners but there aren’t many studies available yet showing it’s effects.This type of stevia is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.
      • 3. Altered Stevia and Truvia- This is the type of stevia that you want to stay away from and in reality isn’t stevia at all.  The problem with these stevia products is the processing and added ingredients.According to the United States patent for the Coca-Cola Company, Truvia goes through a 42 step process to make this processed sweetener.  First, the rebaudioside is extracted from the stevia leaf then, chemical solvents are added including acetonitrile which is toxic to the liver and is a carcinogen.  They then add in a GMO corn derivative in erythritol.
      • Truvia or rebaudioside stevia products are about 400 times sweeter than sugar.Also, many other stevia products contain additives such as sugar and dextrose that come from genetically engineered corn.
      • This point cannot be stressed enough: not all stevia products are created equal. There is a HUGE difference between consuming real stevia and the chemically processed Truvia.