Ah, the quest for a sweet life. We all long for it! What’s sweeter than life itself? The perfect blender of natural sweetness and health, of course, and that’s where Stevia comes in. Understanding the basics of Stevia can be the key to unlocking a sweet and healthy lifestyle. But is Stevia actually allowed on a sugar-free diet?
Let’s start at the beginning. What is Stevia? Stevia is a naturally occurring herb that has been used for centuries for its sweet taste, medical and beauty benefits. It’s a member of the Compositae family that includes sunflowers, daisies, and chrysanthemums. Its leaves are thirty times sweeter than sugar and different varieties can be used for different purposes. Its green leaves are commonly used for recipes, whereas its white leaves can be used as a sweetener for beverages.
Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of including Stevia in a sugar-free diet. First, the positives. One major benefit of using Stevia is that it has zero calories. Unlike other artificial sweeteners, it doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels or make you crash after consuming it. It also helps to reduce cravings and has a positive effect on overall health. Since it is natural as opposed to processed, it is lower in sodium and doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals. Whereas regular sugar can contribute to diabetes, stroke, and other health problems, Stevia has been tied to fewer health issues.
But don’t think that Stevia is all positives. Opponents of using Stevia on a sugar-free diet argue that it has an aftertaste which can be off-putting. They also cite that since it is natural it can spoil quickly, meaning it won’t keep well for an extended period of time. Additionally, Stevia has been linked to blood sugar issues, increased heart rate, and a feeling of being “off.” It has also been linked to interfering with other medications and can interact with diuretic medications.
If you’re thinking of incorporating Stevia into a sugar-free diet, there are some things you should keep in mind. First, be sure to read the label before purchasing. It’s also important to be aware of the sugar content since some brands may be packed with sugar to enhance the flavor. Additionally, be sure to keep in mind that Stevia can be deceiving since it does not always taste like sugar.
To maximize the health benefits of Stevia it’s important to limit your use. A teaspoon or less can take the edge off a recipe without using too much of the sweetener. If using Stevia powder, it’s best to mix it with an equal part of cornstarch or arrowroot to make it easier to dissolve. When using liquid extracts, keep in mind that manufacturers usually dilute the extracts with water, glycerine, or alcohol.
Lastly, no matter what you decide, always be sure to follow the accepted amount of recommended use. Stevia, just like any other sweetener, should be used in moderation. Too much of a good thing can cause health risks and you don’t want to negate the good that comes with the natural herb.
So the bottom line on Stevia and a sugar-free diet? Well, if our funny, sarcastic, yet knowledgeable blogger had it his way, he’d probably say that being proactive about your diet and including a little bit of Stevia can help in your quest for a sweet, healthy life. As long as you use it responsibly, there’s no reason to worry about the consequences. And really, what’s more important than that? Now go live your sweet life!