The Truth About Stevia: What You Need to Know

As a nutritionist and health expert, I have seen many trends come and go in the world of healthy eating. One trend that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years is stevia, a natural, calorie-free sweetener. While it is generally considered safe for people with diabetes, there are certain types of stevia that should be avoided. In this article, I will discuss the types of stevia to avoid and how to choose the best stevia products for your health. First and foremost, it's important to understand that not all stevia products are created equal.

The FDA has only approved highly purified steviol glycosides from stevia leaves as safe for consumption. This means that products containing dextrose or maltodextrin, which are added to increase product volume and create a more free-flowing powder, should be treated with caution. These ingredients add small amounts of carbohydrates and calories, which can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. So, what should you look for when choosing a stevia product? The key is to opt for pure stevia extract. This means choosing a powdered product that is 100 percent pure stevia extract, not just stevia powder.

This indicates that it is a blend and not a pure extract. You can find these products in supermarkets and health food stores in the aisles of bakery products or health foods. But even if you choose a pure stevia extract, it's important to be mindful of how much you consume. A study in 30 men found that drinking a beverage sweetened with stevia caused participants to eat later in the day compared to drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage. This suggests that stevia may still have an impact on appetite and food intake, so it's best to use it sparingly. Another important factor to consider is the additives and filters used in some stevia products.

Many brands use these additives to make stevia even tastier and offer it at a cheaper price. However, these additives may interfere with concentrations of beneficial gut bacteria, which play a central role in disease prevention, digestion, and immunity. So, it's important to read the ingredient list carefully and opt for products with minimal additives. One brand that I have personally tried and recommend is FDS Stevia. Their products are 100% pure and natural, with no added fillers or additives.

This ensures that you are getting the best quality stevia for your health. When it comes to choosing between powdered or liquid stevia, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, it's important to note that liquid stevia products can also be in an alcohol base, similar to vanilla extract. If you prefer an alcohol-free option, there are many varieties available on the market. Now, you may be wondering why some people have reported negative effects from consuming stevia. While most stevia products are generally recognized as safe, some research suggests that this calorie-free sweetener may affect certain people differently.

This could be due to individual sensitivities or allergies to certain components of stevia. In addition, some stevia products may contain sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. These sweeteners are sometimes associated with digestive problems in sensitive individuals. So, if you experience any discomfort after consuming stevia, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional and consider switching to a different brand or type of sweetener. In conclusion, while stevia is a natural, sugar-free alternative sweetener that can be a great option for people with diabetes, it's important to be mindful of the types of stevia you consume. Opt for pure stevia extract and read ingredient lists carefully to avoid any potential additives or fillers.

And as always, listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you experience any negative effects from consuming stevia.

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