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Is Stevia Bad For You?

Stevia is simply a sweetener or sugar substitute which is extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is often regarded as safe and healthy, given its function in sweetening foods without the adverse effects that refined sugar causes.

Moreover, it possesses a plethora of health benefits, such as a decrease in sugar and cholesterol levels, calorie intake, and the risk of developing cavities. It is preferred to table sugar because it is 200 times sweeter, and it contains no calories.

Yes, it is an excellent alternative for those who want to lose weight and reduce their sugar intake.

Well, in as much as it contains numerous health benefits, it may have a negative impact on the body if caution is not employed. For instance, a review indicated that a non-calorie sweetener such as stevia could affect the beneficial bacteria of the gut, which play a crucial function in the prevention of diseases, immunity, and digestion.

Another study carried out in 893 people revealed that alteration in gut bacteria has a tendency of affecting weight gain, triglycerides, and good cholesterol levels. Many kinds of research have suggested that non-calorie sweeteners, such as stevia could cause you to consume more calories daily. Thus, this brings about an increase in body weight and waist circumference.

More so, a study in 30 men led to the discovery that consuming a stevia-sweetened beverage caused them to consume more food later on in the day as opposed to the consumption of a sugar-sweetened beverage.

Furthermore, given that stevia could reduce blood pressure and sugar levels, it could interfere with medications which are designed to treat these health deficiencies. Thus, it is necessary to be moderate in consuming non-calorie sweeteners such as stevia. 

However, as earlier mentioned, stevia contains a whole lot of fantastic health benefits, and we shall closely consider them one after the other.

Reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer

Stevia as a non-calorie sweetener contains antioxidant properties, especially kaempferol and numerous sterols. Studies have proven that kaempferol aids in the reduction of the risk of pancreatic cancer by over 23 percent.

Combats diabetes

Stevia is very beneficial to people suffering from diabetes. It is a natural sweetener that stabilizes blood sugar levels, significantly increases glucose tolerance and suppresses glucose levels.

Artificial sweeteners like saccharin can change the bacterial composition in the gut which can indirectly lead to high glucose tolerance. Studies show that the intake of artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of weight gain and diabetes.

However, Stevia as a low-calorie natural sweetener unlike artificial sweeteners can work as a sugar substitute and even fight diabetes to the barest minimum.

Researchers have found out that Stevia activates a protein called TRPM5 which is associated with the perception of taste. The TRPM5 causes the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin after food consumption. This doesn’t only help to regulate blood sugar levels but also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Improves the heart health

Stevia contains compounds that are very beneficial to the blood vessels. These compounds act as diuretics. They relax the blood vessels, facilitate the excretion of excess sodium and increase urination.

This however, helps the cardiovascular system work less and function properly. It also protects the heart, reduces the chances of having hardened arteries and prevents severe conditions like heart attacks, stroke or cardiac arrest.

Furthermore, Stevia also contains phenols, flavonoids and phytochemicals which lower blood pressure, reduces inflammation and protect the cardiovascular system.

Supports weight loss

There are a lot of factors that causes people be overweight or suffer from obesity. It could be as a result of an increased intake of foods that are high in added sugar or fat.

This could be detrimental to the health as it could cause you to gain too much weight and reduce the control of blood sugar levels which could most likely lead to diabetes.

Stevia, just as earlier mentioned contains no sugar and very few calories. It can be added to your balanced diet to help you lose weight.

Sugar cravings are one of the major causes of weight gain. They are caused by an overgrowth of the candida that causes a voracious appetite for sugar.

However, replacing your regular sugar with Stevia natural sweetener could play a vital role in helping you lose weight. It could help to increase your alertness and energy and also curb sugar cravings.

Improves the bone health

Taking Stevia can help to improve your bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Stevia supports the absorption of calcium in the body and further improves the bone density. It also improves the cartilages in the body which helps the bone maintain its solid structure.

Benefits the dental health

When bacteria in the mouth come in contact with fermentable carbohydrates such as starches and sugar, the bacteria would turn these carbohydrates into organic acids that could effectively harm the enamel of your teeth.

Although, Stevia is sweet, it doesn’t contain any fermentable carbohydrates. It rather helps to prevent the formation of cavities and builds a stronger enamel for your teeth.

Moreover, Stevia contains antibacterial and inflammatory compounds. These compounds prevent the movement of bacteria from the mouth and around the gums. Thus, this hinders the formation of tooth plaque that could lead to the onset of gingivitis.

Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

Stevia is contained with a compound known as retinoic acid which reduces the progression of wrinkles to the barest minimum.

It doesn’t just prevent the formation of sebum but also breaks down elastin and collagen. Stevia reduces wrinkles by preventing involuntary contractions of the muscles that can cause the skin to wrinkle.

However, mixing the stevia extract with your regular face cream can not only prevent fine lines and wrinkles but also give you a healthy glowing skin.

For quicker results, apply Stevia extract directly on your face and wash it off after fifteen minutes.

For better hair growth

Stevia extract could also prove beneficial for better hair growth. It is enriched with a lot of nutrients that can improve the growth of your hair.

More so, Stevia extract contains anti-microbial properties that help to reduce dandruff and repair damaged and dried hair.

It is beneficial for people with dry scalp, dull, dry and thin hair because it gives luster to the hair.

You can also add few drops of Stevia extract into your shampoo and use it on a regular basis. It can also be used to condition your hair by applying on the hair after washing with shampoo and then rising properly after five minutes.

Improves cuts and wounds

Stevia blocks the growth of harmful bacteria and aids the treatment of minor skin infections, wounds and cuts.

It also helps in the alleviation of pain associated with sores and burns. Stevia can also be used to treat athlete’s foot.

Improves children’s diets

Adding stevia to foods and beverages helps in reducing the calories of unwanted sweeteners in children’s diets.

Since it is natural and a perfect substitute for sugar, it has been used to make thousands of edible products such as snacks and beverages. Its availability affords children to consume foods and drinks with a sweetened taste while beating down their sugar levels!

 Obesity and cardiovascular disease could result from the excessive intake of calories and sugars.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a health condition which involves the hardening or clogging of blood vessels or arteries in the body. This health deficiency is caused by plaques which are the resultant effect of the excessive accumulation of fatty materials. 

Stevia is quite capable of lessening the occurrence of this health condition in different ways. It functions by restraining the clogging and hardening of the arteries by decreasing oxidized low-density lipoprotein, fats, and macrophages. In so doing, the plaque is gradually reduced.

Anti-bacterial functions

Of course, stevia contains anti-bacterial properties, and they are quite beneficial in combating infections and bacteria in the body. It has proven to be effective in the treatment of deficiencies such as tooth decay, cavities, dandruff, and other diseases.

Improves cholesterol levels

The regular consumption of stevia has shown positive improvements in the lowering of cholesterol levels. So, if you want to beat down your cholesterol levels, stevia is the perfect option.

Controls blood pressure

Stevia is also useful in the relaxation of blood vessels and the removal of excess sodium from the body. It also helps in lowering high blood pressure.

Protects the liver

Stevia contains antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties that shield the liver from damaging chemicals or properties.

A healthy sweetener

As opposed to sugar, stevia is quite healthy for consumption, given its numerous benefits and sweet taste. Excessive consumption of sugar could lead to obesity and high blood sugar levels (which increases the tendency to develop diabetes), but regularly taking stevia does exactly the contrary.

It reduces your weight, your blood sugar levels, and it also gives your tongue that sweet taste it craves! So, with stevia, you gain a plethora of benefits, and you also get to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Bottom line

In summary, stevia is a natural sweetener that serves a wide range of benefits. It can be added to sweeten your foods, it is used in the making of beverages, and it improves the overall health of the body.  

 

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/stevia/faq-20057856

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/well/eat/stevia-sweetener-sugar-side-effects-downsides.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627124/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Response_to_readers_More_about_stevia_a_non-approved_sweetener

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