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Stevia, natural sweetener

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

Stevia, a natural alternative to sugar

The  Stevia or Stevia is a natural sweetener  that has become fashionable now that people are realizing the damage it causes us excessive consumption of sugar in the diet, but are real all the benefits attributed to him? Next, we are going to explain in detail what stevia is, how it is extracted and how it benefits us, as well as the possible side effects derived from its consumption.

The Stevia (E-960) is marketed in extended form for a few years, after being widely studied to see if the properties attributed to him were real and that is when alternatives appear to sweeten that we do not provide calories, extend like gunpowder, but we must be careful with what we consume because all that glitters is not always gold.

A large part of the sweeteners that we find under the name of Stevia are compounds with other sweeteners of which a small proportion belongs to   steviol glycosides , the active principle of said sweetener, so we must ensure that what we consume is really stevia, already This is not always the case because the extraction process for stevia is more expensive than other chemically designed sweeteners.

Where is Stevia extracted from?

The stevia is extracted from a small evergreen shrub, Family chrysanthemums. This plant is native to Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where it grows spontaneously and Guarani natives and consumed since centuries .

The leaf is the sweetest part of the plant and where its therapeutic and nutritional properties reside. Since the origin of stevia is the same as that of Yerba Mate, it is not surprising that it was used to sweeten this infusion so widely consumed in South America.

At the moment, it has been shown to be the only natural sweetener with no health risks . It has been studied as a sweetener, on which it has been determined that; in terms of taste , it is slower than that of sugar, although it lasts longer . It is not necessary to add as much amount as sugar because as it persists longer, the flavor becomes more intense.

They have also concluded that it is the lowest carbohydrate sweetener and that it has an almost negligible effect on blood glucose values; which makes stevia the best sweetener for diabetics due to its low glycemic index . It does not add calories so it is very interesting if you are doing a weight loss regimen.

Properties and benefits of Stevia

The Stevia , known as stevia , steviol or steviol glycosides , is a sweetener that is not genotoxic, ie does not have genetic mutations or affect the body and which also has carcinogenic effect as other sweeteners such as saccharin or aspartame, although in low doses they are safe, their habitual consumption is not recommended.

Stevia, in addition to its sweetening power, has been used in other cultures for its nutritional and medicinal properties, of which we highlight the following:

  • Facilitates digestions.
  • It has a mild hypotensive effect.
  • It is antifungal (antifungal effect).
  • Helps reduce anxiety.
  • Fight fatigue.
  • It is cardiotonic.
  • It has antibiotic and antibacterial effects.
  • It is diuretic, it helps us fight fluid retention.
  • It has vasodilatory properties.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels due to its hypoglycemic effect.
  • Fight constipation.
  • It has anticaries action.
  • It stimulates our immune system making it more resistant.

What do studies say about steviol?

It has been used and marketed in many countries in America for years, but in Europe it was approved for marketing in 2011 after subjecting it to multiple studies. Once studied, they have realized that it is the most beneficial sweetener for the body, as it does not cause rapid rises and falls in blood glucose. Besides being low in carbohydrates, I don’t like glucose.

Within sweeteners or sweeteners we can find numerous options like, aspartame , the saccharin , the honey , the maple syrup , the agave syrup , the sugar , etc, but all with their pros and cons, but what It is true, it is that they all have a higher glycemic index than stevia , and greater risks for the body ; That is why stevia has positioned itself as the best sweetener for health , after being subjected to multiple studies.

Stevia, is it as safe as they say?

The consumption of Stevia is classified as safe with a dose of 4mg per kilo of weight , this dose should not be exceeded, and if as a reference we take other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which is one of the most criticized, whose established dose As safe is 40 mg for every kilo of weight, we can realize that steviol glycosides are less safe than aspartame. Therefore, we should not trust everything that we are told about artificial sweeteners , which are a good ally to detoxify from excessive sugar consumption but we must control their consumption so that we do not overdo it.

Is buying natural Stevia possible?

Of course, you should read the detail of the product well because sometimes, they sell us as stevia, sweeteners that barely have 3% stevia extract or even less. Thus, they have little stevia, it is the case of those that mix with erythritol , another sweetener without calories that resembles the caloric properties of stevia and that is minimally cheaper than stevia; For this reason, we must carefully monitor what we consume.

Let’s not forget that when a star product comes out, which is widely beneficial to health, there are always those who are interested in adulterating it to cut costs, earn more money, etc.

We can find natural stevia the herbalists, they sell the ground leaves or the powdered extract. We must emphasize that the ground leaves when dry can alter the flavor of what we consume, so we will have to get used to the flavor little by little.

Stevia side effects

It has no side effects, and it is low in carbohydrates , which gives it the property of not altering blood glucose, its healing properties are currently being studied in depth.

There are cases in which side effects appear related, apparently, to excessive consumption of stevia; Among which we can highlight abdominal swelling, nausea, dizziness, etc.

  • If you are diabetic, keep in mind that stevia consumption can interfere with your diabetes medication due to its hypoglycemic action.

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