Is Stevia Safe as a Sweetener?
If you haven’t read our blog on Why Added Sugars Are Killing You, do it. It’s really a prerequisite to this blog.
If you have read it, bravo Big Brain. You know added sugars are bad for you, and you’re researching alternative sweeteners like stevia, hmmm?
Good. Great. Grand.
Let’s talk about it.
Stevia is gaining popularity in the fitness community. Before making its debut, many people turned to aspartame, saccharin and other not so healthy alternatives to sweetening their food and beverages.
These artificial sweeteners are linked to obesity, brain disorders, seizures, increased caloric intake, diabetes and even cancer.
In fact, one study showed that those who drank artificially sweetened drinks had a 47% higher increase in BMI than those who did not.
But sugar causes obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease….
Women should only have around 100 grams of added sugar per day and men 150 grams. Yet the AHA says people are consuming around 3 times that amount which is causing tons of health issues.
So….neither are good choices…
As you can see, substituting alternatives for sugar is a smart idea— if you’re smart about the execution. Taking anything over sugar, just because it isn’t sugar, can be as harmful as sugar itself—or worse.
And we know you’re smart about execution…you’re considering stevia?
Stevia is a Natural Sweetener Made from a Plant
Stevia is derived from a Paraguayan plant called Stevia rebaudiana. Rebaudioside A, often referred to on food panels as Reb A, is the sweet compound from the stevia plant. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar after it has been refined and offers a host of scientifically supported benefits.
While sugar is extracted from sugar cane, stevia is take from the leaves of the Stevia plant. It is within the leaves the sweetness is found, from substances called glycosides.
It is nearly calorie free and natural.
But…just because its natural, does it mean it’s safe?
Stevia is Natural and Safe
If you were wondering when science was going to be invited to the blog, the answer is now.
Of course we want some scientific stuff to support the statements about stevia. So, what does science say?
It reduces post-meal blood sugar.
Subjects in studies consumed less food during the day when taking stevia.
It lowers insulin levels after eating.
Stevia increases insulin sensitivity in this study.
It has been found to not cause subjects to compensate for the lack of calories by eating other things, as theorized many times. So, less calories=weight loss.
Stevia is not linked to any cancers or diseases and based on the published research, independent scientific experts globally and in the United States, it has been scientifically concluded that stevia is safe for people of all ages as a sweetener. In fact, it’s been used as a sweetener for centuries.
So between it being safe, natural, having science and a whole “couple of hundred of years’ worth of use” you probably have your answer.
Quality Supplements Will Offer Natural Sweeteners
If stevia is in your training supplement for sweetening purposes—that’s a good thing. You’re on the right track. While you definitely want dextrose (glucose) in your post-training supplement for glycogen replenishment, you don’t want added sugars or artificial sugars for sweetening purposes.
Quality supplements will choose more expensive natural sweeteners over cheaper artificial sweeteners, that’s because they care about your health, like you. If your pre-workout or post-training supplements have artificial sweeteners, ditch em’. Find a better alternative. Start here.