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What is Stevia?
Also known as Stevia rebaudiana, Stevia is a plant that is famous for its health benefits. It is counted as a healthy substitute for sugar. Stevia is one of the unique food ingredients because it does not add calories like most of the sugar substitutes. This sweet-tasting plant is used to sweeten many beverages. It is also used as an herbal supplement and non-nutritive sweetener. It tastes 200-300 times sweeter than actual sugar. Also, it is classified as no-calorie as it has negligible or low calories.
Stevia is amongst the best substitute of the sugar and it does not have calories and does not add to the blood sugar levels. In addition to this it has the following health benefits:
Good for Diabetics
Stevia has natural sweetening properties that can be altered with sugar. Owing to all these health benefits, it is good for diabetics. It does not have calories or carbohydrates which are an added benefit of using stevia. In addition to this, it is no effect on the insulin or blood glucose level. Therefore, people with diabetics can add stevia to their drinks and foods.
Helps in Weight Control
Another health benefit of Stevia is that it helps to control the weight. One of the prominent causes of weight gain is increased intake of calories. Since Stevia does not have many calories, you can add it to your food and drinks in order to control the weight.
May Reduce the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
It is packed with numerous sterols and antioxidants like Kaempferol. This compound is found to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23%. This is one of the additional Stevia benefits.
May Helps to Reduce High Blood Pressure
Stevia extracts are believed to dilate blood vessels that increase the sodium excretion and the output of urine. This could help in lowering the blood pressure and regulating the heartbeat.
Stevia Does not cause any Allergy
It is found that steviol glycosides are not reactive and are not mobilized to reactive compounds as well. Because of this reason, there are lesser chances of Stevia causing any skin or body allergy.
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Stevia can be used as an alternative to table sugar. Moreover extracts from stevia leaves are available in a dietary supplement. Since it has naturally occurring sweetener compounds, people can add Stevia into numerous foods and drinks for sweetness. Stevia sweeteners can be used in the following:
- Pickled food
- Soft drinks
- Chewing gum
- Prepared vegetables.
Also Read: Top 7 Substitutes for Sugar
Stevia Side Effects and Risk
As everything comes with its pros and cons, similarly, Stevia also has its side effects that are as follows:
Can Damage Kidney
It tends to increase the speed at which the body flushes out water and electrolyte in the form of the urine. The primary role of the kidney is to filter and create urine thus; long term consumption of stevia can damage the kidney.
Can lead to Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Some of the stevia products have added sugar alcohols that can give way to common health problems like nausea, indigestion, vomiting, bloating, and cramping.
Can Cause Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, can be caused due to the increased consumption of Stevia.
Low Blood Pressure
Since Stevia helps to reduce high blood pressure, it can also low down the blood pressure when consumed on a regular basis. People with chronic blood pressure should consult their doctor before consuming stevia.
Stevia can lead to Endocrine- disruption
It is a type of steroid that can interfere with hormones that are controlled by the endocrine system.
Stevia is plant-based and has natural accruing sweetening a compound that makes it an ideal substitute for table sugar. However, it has some side effects as well. To avert health problems one should consult the doctor before starting the consumption of the stevia.