Stevia is an all natural, zero calorie sweetener derived from the leafy green foliage of the Stevia plant grown in South American rain forests and Asian mountain valleys. I love that this Stevia is sweet, delicious, and doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste. I also love the low-carb aspect. When I was suffering with Type 2 diabetes I looked anywhere to get something sweet that would not elevate my blood sugars. I was using lots of Splenda but we know what some of the side effects are of Sucralose, right?
Though Splenda and Stevia are both considered zero-calorie sweeteners, and so share some similarities, there are a number of differences in the two. Typically, when people speak of Stevia, they mean Stevia Rebaudiana, a Central and South American herb, the leaves of which have been used for centuries as a sweetener. Splenda, on the other hand, is a manufactured product, the main ingredient of which (sucralose) is the result of a chemical process where pairs of oxygen and hydrogen atoms in sugar are replaced with chlorine atoms. Yuk!
Maybe I should research and find out how to grow your own Stevia plants.
Stevia and Pregnancy
Stevia is not currently considered safe for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Neither are Truvia or Purevia, the only two sweeteners derived from stevia currently on the market. It’s not that any of the three are known to be dangerous or unsafe for pregnant women, rather there is no evidence to support or deny its safety at this time. Given the absence of scientific data proving that Stevia is safe, organizations like the FDA and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) will not recommend the use of stevia as a sweetener to pregnant women. Technically, neither stevia nor its derivatives are approved by the FDA for use by anyone.
The FDA declined to object when Coke and Pepsi, the makers of Truvia and Purevia asserted that they were going to start using those sweeteners in their products.
Does Stevia or Truvia Have Side Effects?
more cautious observers wonder if the herb has some negative side effects that outweigh its usefulness as a sweetener. Who’s right? There are some commonly and not-so-commonly reported side effects to Stevia usage. Here are eight side effects that you may experience when consuming Stevia:
Dizziness: Some users of Stevia have reported dizzy spells, although this doesn’t appear to be a long-term hazard.
Bloating and Nausea: Bloating, nausea, and mild gas–more common and not very fun side effects reported by stevia users.
Mild Muscle Pains: Other users have reported mild muscle pains, as well.
Numbness: Some users have reported numbness, although this is not long-lasting either.
Infertility: Some studies have shown that Stevia does, in fact, have a contraceptive effect on the body, although other studies have shown that it does not.
Cancer: This is particularly controversial because in one study, Stevia was made into a mutagenic compound, meaning one that causes cancer. However, that study has been criticized for being poorly conducted. Other studies suggest that it does not have any carcinogenic effect on the body.
Interferes with Blood Sugar: Studies have shown that Stevia can actually lower blood sugar naturally, which means it should be used with caution by people with diabetes.
Lowers blood pressure: Studies also show that Stevia may play a role in lowering blood pressure. People who have low blood pressure already should avoid using the sweetener as a sugar substitute.