The natural stevia sugar substitute has been known since ancient times and is widely used today. But is stevia useful and safe, and can this dietary supplement really help you lose weight? In this article, we will explain how stevia actually influences health.
Reducing sugar intake is one of the most obvious and effective steps that can be taken to achieve the goal of improving your physique, regardless of whether you are trying to get rid of excess fat or build muscle. But many people know that giving up sweets is one of the most difficult aspects of good nutrition.
Stevia is a natural non-nutritive sugar substitute that is added to many foods. Of course, the sweetish taste of stevia is not completely identical to the taste of sugar, but it is very similar to it, which is why many people use stevia as a non-nutritive analog of sugar as part of a weight loss program. This dietary supplement is recognized as the best way to satisfy sweets cravings.
How does stevia work?
Stevia is the abbreviated name of the plant Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni, which grows in the countries of Central and South America (mainly in Paraguay and Brazil). There are more than 110 different subspecies of stevia, but only 18 of them have the properties of a sweetener. Powders and liquid extracts are made from naturally sweet stevia leaves, which are then used as a sweetener in the production and consumption of various food products. The active ingredient that is in the leaves of stevia and is responsible for its sweet taste is called stevioside. It is the stevioside extract that makes stevia a non-nutritive sweetener, which is 100-300 times sweeter than sucrose. For the first time, stevia was officially used as a food supplement in 1995 in the United States of America, and today it is widely used to sweeten a wide variety of products, from coffee and bakery products to protein powders.
Useful properties of stevia
For centuries, the indigenous inhabitants of South American countries have used stevia to treat various diseases, but its beneficial properties have been scientifically confirmed relatively recently.
The main benefits of stevia intake are related to controlling body weight and blood glucose. Recent studies have demonstrated the ability of stevia to maintain normal blood glucose, not only because it replaces sugar in the diet, but also because of the beneficial properties of phytonutrients in stevia. A number of studies have also pointed to the benefits of non-nutritive and low-calorie sweeteners for reducing body weight and controlling calorie intake.
More and more studies are showing that stevia can also have a positive effect on the functioning of the cardiovascular, and immune systems, as well as on improving the health of teeth and gums, in part due to the phytochemicals contained in the stevia plant.
What are the side effects of stevia?
Recent studies on the toxicity and safety of stevia have demonstrated that it is safe to use as a sweetener for both healthy people and people with diabetes, and does not cause an allergic reaction. However, as with any other nutritional supplement, it is recommended that you consume stevia frugally. If you have any concerns about whether stevia is safe specifically for you, consult your doctor before taking the supplement.
What are the alternatives to stevia?
Along with stevia, a number of other stevia-based sugar substitutes are also available on the food supplement market, such as Truvia and Pure Via. However, in addition to stevia, other sweeteners are also part of these products. Pure Stevia is commonly sold as a supplement called Stevia. In any case, we recommend that you carefully read the composition of the ingredients.
Do you use stevia as a sweetener in your diet?