7 Reasons Why Stevia is Better Than Refined Sugar

Stevia

Stevia is a natural sweetener, derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant that was first discovered centuries ago in Paraguay by the native population. But it wasn’t until the late 19th century that a Swiss botanist working in South America documented the so-called “sweet leaf”, and brought it back with him.

Stevia is available in many forms. The most popular is white extract powder, but you can also buy dried stevia leaves, stevia liquid extract, or as small pellets to sweeten your coffee with. The sweet leaf sweetener is also available in its granular form in small packets.

However, the all-natural stevia sweetener is different from sugar in many ways, and there are several reasons why stevia is a better option than sucrose, whether you’re diabetic or just looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. So let’s go and have a look at them!

1. Stevia is very, very potent

The raw leaves of the stevia plant are approximately 40 times sweeter than sugar, and the powdered sweetener derived from them is up to 200-300 times sweeter. What this means, is that just a tiny bit of stevia will suffice for most of your sugar free recipes. The sweet leaf’s shelf life is about 5 years, so it most certainly is a worthwhile investment.

2. Stevia has no calories

Refined sugar makes you fat, there’s no denying it. Sucrose contains a lot of calories and there are so many sugary products nowadays that it’s become almost a full-time chore to avoid them. As a consequence, 34% of adults in America are obese and for our children – who are being exposed to sugar from a very young age – that figure is 17%.

These alarming rates are three times higher than they were thirty years ago. Luckily, the stevia sweetener harbors no calories whatsoever. While it isn’t by any means a weight loss product, the benefits of stevia and its huge potential in this area are obvious.

3. Stevia helps to suppress cravings

As we all know, sugar is addictive. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose may not have any calories or glycemic index, but they still promote cravings for sugary sweets. On top of that, an increasing amount of consumers over the years has reported negative side effects when using artificial sweeteners, ranging from headaches and dizziness to rashes and stomach pains. Stevia on the other hand, has been reported to suppress cravings.

Time for a bit of trivia: did you know that stevia has been approved as a sweetener in Japan since the 1970′s, and is now the number one sweetener there, with a market share of over 40%? And all this without any reports of unwanted side effects!

4. Stevia is Good for Your Teeth

Stevia Plant

When you consume sugar, an adhesive layer of bacteria is formed on your teeth, causing dental plaque and cavities in the long run. So-called “sugar alcohols” (also called “polyols”) such as Erythritol, Maltitol and Sorbitol are popular ingredients in chewing gums and toothpastes because the dental bacteria cannot ferment them and thus, can’t adhere to your teeth.

There is a downside to sugar alcohols though: they still contain a lot of calories and some of them still have a high glycemic index which is harmful for diabetics. On top of that, they cause bloating and gas in individuals who are sensitive to them. Stevia has the same benefits as the polyols, but doesn’t come with all the discomforts.

5. Stevia is Great For Diabetics

The reason why sugar is so bad for diabetics, is that it contains large amounts of carbohydrates. In order to illustrate which food types are fit for diabetics and which ones aren’t, a system called “the glycemic index” was developed.

We will spare you the details of this system, but what it boils down to is that food types with a glycemic index value of less than 50 are considered relatively safe for diabetics; the lower the number, the better. To give you an idea: apples have a GI of 39. French fries have a GI of 95. Tabletop sugar has a GI of 80. Stevia has a GI of 0 (yes, zero). This makes the sweet leaf ideal for keeping your diabetes symptoms at bay without having to compromise any sweetness in your food.

6. Stevia Regulates Hypertension

For generations, native tribes in South America have been using stevia to sweeten their maté, a type of herbal tea. Aside from the sweetness, they have also been using it to lower blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. Nowadays, South American doctors even officially prescribe medicine containing stevia to help control high blood pressure. Extensive testing has shown that stevia does not lower blood pressure in healthy individuals.

7. Stevia Helps With Candidiasis

Candida albicans is a natural type of yeast that’s present in every human’s intestines. But in some people, this yeast population can grow excessively large and that’s when an infection called “candidiasis” occurs, causing symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The main culprit with candidiasis is the fermentation of sugar in the intestine, and therefore many candida diets are based on eliminating sucrose from a person’s eating patterns.

Raw stevia cannot be fermented by candida albicans and does not promote candidiasis, so it should be perfectly safe to substitute sugar with stevia for people with this condition. Always consult your physician before altering your diet though, and be careful to use pure stevia only. Some commercially available brands add inulin or maltodextrin to some of their products: substances which are to be avoided when you’re prone to candidiasis.

Bottom Line on Stevia

When you’re used to sugar, stevia’s taste may take a bit of getting used to. It contains two sweet components (called “glycosides”); stevioside and rebaudioside A. Try to find products based on the latter, because stevioside can have a bitter aftertaste that not everyone is fond of. But when you add everything up, the benefits of stevia vastly outweigh the temptations of sugar. You owe it to yourself to give the sweet leaf a try!

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

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  • http://thecrunchycoach.com/ Emily

    Finding a stevia without an aftertaste is critical, esp. if you’re trying to get a spouse to switch from sugar!

  • Chuck Polley

    Tried it. Tastes like crap

  • Bill

    Sure would be nice if your webpage provided a more printer-friendly layout. I wanted to print this out for my wife, but, I really detest having to Cut and Paste everything.

  • jack t

    I tried it in my coffee. Tastes like artificial sweetener. It was awful. I had to pour out the coffee.

    I haven’t tried cooking with it… but who wants sacharin in their banana bread?

    Those who thump about healthy food are usually people who can eat what they want and never gain a pound.

  • Joel

    I used to be unable to use Stevia, because the aftertaste was horrible and it seemed to give me a headache if I had more than just enough to sweeten one glass of lemonade. But I recently went through the HCG diet, and strangely I don’t have those problems any more…no more headache, no more bad aftertaste. I’ve been going crazy drinking sweet tea and making desserts. Weird but extremely nice side effect of the HCG diet.

  • Weebitski

    Stevia is 10,000 times worse than aspartame for me. Aspartame is bad it gives me strange headaches etc. But Stevia is like dropping acid. I tried some when I was on the HCG diet. Instant hallucination. Half my brain felt like it was turned off the other half went some where weird. From talking to my doctor, she some people have reactions. Mine was the strangest she had heard of.

  • Cliff

    I use Stevia in my homemade toothpaste and it works great!
    Wished I had found out about it sooner.

  • Steve

    My girlfriend and I have been using Stevia for a couple of years now and while there are some you can get that have a bitter aftertaste there are just as many brands that don’t. The health benefits far outweigh the negatives of using sugar. The product is now finally starting to gain traction worldwide since the FDA has realised it’s positive effects. If we all stopped eating vegetables because of the taste then we would hardly eat any food. I know, let’s just all eat junkfood and sweets because it tastes nice. Get real people! Oh and we made a cheesecake using stevia, served it up to all our family without telling them it was sugarfree, guess what, they didn’t know the difference.

  • http://therealhealthyerin.blogspot.com Erin

    I’m wondering what brand of stevia you used. Most “stevia products” are adulterated with additives that negate stevia’s natural benefits. Some may contain high concentrations of additives that may result in reactions in some people. It’s more likley that your reaction was to an additive within the stevia product than to stevia itself.

    (employed by Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia)

  • Nina

    Hi,

    Would you kindly share your toothpaste recipe?

    Many thanks,

    Nina

  • candace

    more likely the HCG diet chemical. I ended up in ER from that, never from stevia.

  • candace

    try using a lot less of the stevia

  • Melissa

    I used it in a raw cheesecake at the weekend and it tasted fine!

  • Turbo Jam

    I was wondering if there is any other alternatives than Stevia?

    I am definitively going to try it, But I have also heard some negative comments about it, so I want to know if there are other sweeteners like Stevia

  • Nambula A J

    How do i get this product here in uganda i could earn big from ppel who are diabetic and those who wish to go natural

  • http://www.steviakaufen24.de Stefan

    For those who mentioned a bad taste. In order to not have a bitter taste when you consume stevia you need to get one that has at least 97% Rebaudiosid A with it. Then you should be fine.

  • jfiwojf444

    Domino’s sugar has a cane sugar/stevia blend which is great. I use it in my cofffee, tea and to cook with. No headaches, no aftertaste (xcept for the coffee breath – bleah).

  • Lorraine Tan

    I have also been looking for alternatives to sugar since my Mom was diagnosed with diabetes, Most of them have a bitter after taste which makes it unpalatable. Recently I tried Greenlite by Nuvia and I have to admit that it has the least bitter aftertaste out of all that I have tried. Of course, it will never taste like sugar!

  • Lorraine Tan
  • david

    I think you have other issues that you are not Stevia related. While some people have “adverse” reactions to Stevia, its often because of additional medications etc. I have an allergy to the skin of apples. Just because I personally have an allergy to them does not constitute apples being unhealthy for the overall public.

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  • Anandah

    Probably weren’t using an organic brand of stivia and or were using to much. Like the article said its 200-300 times sweeter than sugar in concentrated from.

  • K

    If Stevia is all natural then why does it also contain Maltodextrin?

  • ghc_health

    K,
    What a great point you bring up! Maltodextrin is most always GMO and should be avoided at all costs. However, Most organic liquid stevia products do not contain maltodextrin and are safe. Thanks!
    -Dr.G

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  • Jon Anthony Hamilton

    yes, please share your recipe!

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  • Kittysafe

    So I tried Stevia for the first time, KAL Innovative Quality brand, noticed it had added Maltodextrin and the after taste is horrid… I used a serving size scoopful in my coffee, which is the tiny scoop that comes with the product. can you recommend some brands? THANKS!

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    I don’t have a favorite but I have noticed a quality difference between organic and non organic selections.

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  • Jay Jay

    Do you sell organic Stevia ?

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    We do not, but it’s not hard to find.

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