If you have ever tried to lose weight by trying to cut down on your sugar intake, then you have likely tried all sorts of artificial sweeteners, like erythritol and monk fruit. Some are certainly better than others, both tastewise and for your health. If you have never heard of stevia, a popular, up-and-coming sugar substitute, you might want to try it.
With all of the discourse surrounding sugars and sugar replacements, it can be hard to know what to believe and what not to. So here is a little breakdown on stevia and the benefits that no one is talking about.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a sugar replacement made from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, which commonly grows in North and South America. It’s originally native to Paraguay and Brazil. You can grow the stevia plant at home, but you can’t easily turn it into the sugar substitute you buy at the store under the name stevia.
The stevia sugar replacement is made from an extract of stevia leaves (called steviol glycosides) that is refined many, many times to reach the level of sweetness desired. This extract is called rebaudioside A, or Reb-A. Reb-A is a lot sweeter than regular table sugar, 200 times sweeter, to be exact.
Sweeteners made with stevia are typically blended with other sweeteners, which puts them in a category known as novel sweeteners.
What Are the Health Benefits of Stevia?
Using a stevia-based sweetener can have a lot of benefits that may not be advertised prominently. Read on to find out how stevia benefits you.
Stevia Has Virtually Zero Calories
While stevia is not completely calorie-free, it is so close that it is negligible. It’s incredibly low in carbohydrates, too. If you are trying to lose weight, this is a big advantage. You can use stevia sweeteners exactly the same way you would use traditional table sugar, but instead of layering in calories, you are only layering in sweetness.
If you like a little sugar in your coffee, put some stevia in; baking a cake, stevia. Because it is as versatile as sugar, it gives you sweet options on a diet. You can also find stevia-sweetened candies and chocolates out there.
And there are stevia-based soft drinks now too! VINA offers a collection of prebiotic sodas that are sweetened with stevia. We strive to make healthy sodas, using real fruit juices and natural sweeteners like stevia to bring you a soda that works with your body instead of against it.
If you are looking for a soda that is great tasting and great for your health, look no further than VINA.
Stevia Can Help To Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Ingesting stevia instead of normal sugar may impact your blood sugar level, which could greatly benefit diabetics.
One study of both lean and obese individuals showed that stevia lowers both insulin and blood glucose levels. Participants in the study also found that they were full and satisfied to the same degree as regular sugar, even though stevia is much lower in calories.
This could be huge for diabetics that want to enjoy the taste of sweets. This is also a big deal for people struggling with diabetes who miss soda—another great reason to try VINA.
Stevia Can Assist in Managing Cholesterol Levels
There is some evidence that consuming stevia extracts might be responsible for managing cholesterol levels.
In one study, several participants consumed 20 milligrams of stevia leaf extract every day. At the end of the study, participants logged lower LDL cholesterol levels, also known as bad cholesterol, and higher HDL cholesterol—good cholesterol.
While 20 milligrams a day is a large amount of stevia extract, and there’s no evidence for what a lower daily dose does for your cholesterol levels, it’s still worth your consideration.
Are There Any Side Effects That Come From Consuming Stevia?
Stevia glycosides like Reb-A are considered safe by the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration. That said, the FDA has not approved raw stevia leaf and unrefined stevia leaf extracts for use in food and drugs.
There is some concern that raw stevia leaf may lower blood pressure too acutely and that it could cause harm to your kidneys. Research is ongoing to determine the safety of other types of stevia products.
There is also a taste trade-off when using stevia as opposed to regular sugar. Many people say that stevia sweeteners have a licorice-like taste or that stevia products leave a bitter aftertaste in the mouth. While this is completely subjective, and many people love the taste of stevia, this is something to keep in mind when looking for sugar replacements and substitutes.
You should also avoid raw stevia leaf during pregnancy. There is not enough evidence to show that raw stevia is safe during pregnancy. Stevia extracts and sweeteners are safe during pregnancy, however, so do not feel like you have to shy away from stevia-sweetened products during pregnancy.
Stevia Facts Roundup
We have covered a lot about stevia today, so here is a quick roundup summary of everything we have covered so far in this breakdown:
- Stevia sweeteners are derived from extracts from the stevia leaf that are heavily refined to achieve the proper sweetness.
- Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener.
- Stevia can help lower blood sugar levels.
- Stevia sweeteners are helpful in managing healthy cholesterol levels.
- While stevia sweeteners are FDA approved, raw stevia leaf is not and should be approached with caution.
- Stevia sweeteners are safe during pregnancy.
This should give you a good overview of what stevia is and the incredible benefits of including stevia in your diet.
Stevia is a perfectly safe sugar replacement that you can use in the same ways that you would use sugar. Stevia is perfect for people trying to lose weight, diabetics, or the regular person looking to make a healthier choice than regular sugar.
If you are looking for a soda that uses stevia instead of sugar or other artificial sweeteners, look no further than VINA. Not only is VINA sweetened with stevia sweeteners, but VINA is also a prebiotic beverage, so instead of damaging your intestinal microbiome with soda, you can support it.
VINA is made with natural ingredients like fruit juices and other prebiotic ingredients to make a soda that is not just zero-calorie but is actually healthy for your body.
Stevia is a great option for people looking for a sugar replacement that is natural and zero-calorie, especially those who are dealing with weight gain. With stevia, you get sweetness along with amazing health benefits that other sugar replacements and substitutes just can not boast. Give stevia a try and see what you think.