The Pros and Cons of Stevia Leaf Extract

Stevia is a popular sugar substitute that can reduce calories in food and drinks. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), even for pregnant women. However, it can also have some adverse effects, such as nausea, bloating, low blood pressure, and hormonal disorders. In addition, it may provide certain health benefits compared to sugar. If you decide to try stevia, look for products with stevia as the only ingredient.

It is important to read the label carefully to make sure that the product does not contain any other ingredients that could cause digestive problems or increase blood sugar levels. The most common forms of stevia are stevioside (or stevia leaf extract) and products made with sugar alcohols. Stevia extract has been used as a sweetener and traditional medicine for centuries by local people in South America. Among the commercial brands, SweetLeaf is a sweetener made with stevia extract, and both Truvia and Pure Via are based on stevia.

While stevia extract is considered safe for people with diabetes, some brands contain dextrose or maltodextrin. In vitro metabolism of glucoside sweeteners, the mixture of stevia and enzymatically modified stevia in the human intestinal microflora has been studied. The effects of sucrose, sucralose and stevia administration on body weight and food and water consumption (with and without sweeteners) in male and female albino mice have also been studied. Long-term administration of stevia significantly increased IgG, IgE and IgA levels in men and women. Obviously, chronic consumption of stevia puts pressure on the liver, resulting in increased ALT, AST and impaired bile production. Therefore, it is important to use stevia in moderation to avoid any potential side effects.

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