Stevia: is It Safe Sugar Alternative??
For people who choose to avoid the use of the chemical-based sweeteners that dominate the marketplace, such as saccharin (Sweet 'N Low), aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal), and sucralose (Splenda), many of us have been using stevia instead because it contains ZERO calories and carbohydrates. That's certainly impressive nutritional info for a natural alternative to sugar.
Stevia, a glycoside formed by three molecules of glucose and one of steviol (made from the South American plant Stevia rebaudiana), is one such product. While considered a food additive in countries such as Japan, Brazil and China.Stevia is already being used in Diet Coke-in Japan, where stevia boasts a robust 40% of the sweetener market, as well as in Brazil, China, and nine other industrialized countries.
Questions linger about the possible health effects of saccharin and aspartame, two of the oldest sweeteners, while the newest entry in the marketplace, the herbal product stevia, has only limited oversight from the FDA since it's labeled as a dietary supplement, rather than a food additive.
The stevia story gets even better. Independent researchers’ preliminary scientific studies show stevia may improve the function of cells required for insulin production in the pancreas. It may also improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes. Unlike any other sweeteners, stevia has been reported to possess anti-viral properties. Preliminary evidence also suggests stevia possesses blood pressure lowering properties and may be a useful treatment for hypertension.
The days of aspartame's dominance as a sweetener are nearly over. Sucralose is far more popular today (even though it has its own health concerns), and recently, Coca-Cola teamed up with Cargill in an effort to develop stevia for mass-market use in soft drinks and food. They have isolated what they say is the plant’s best-tasting sweet compound, with none of the bitter aftertaste that can accompany stevia, and are marketing it under the brand name Rebiana. Since stevia does not alter blood sugar levels, it also offers potential in the diabetic market and therby to legalize stevia in the United States as a GRAS sweetener (meaning they could use it in foods). Once stevia is legalized, you will see a swift and industry-wide shift away from aspartame and towards stevia-based sweeteners.
There are several different variations of stevia products coming to market. Optimal varieties that have a clean sucrose-like taste without the presence of a bitter aftertaste are being produced through plant-breeding techniques that's part of the sunflower family. It can be used in far less quantity than sugar, yet provides an intensely sweet flavor.People who cannot drink green tea for its bitter taste despite its possible health benefits but when you mix it with lemon herbs and stevia, an herbal sweetener, it becomes palatable.
It is approximately 300 times as sweet as sugar with a slower onset and a longer duration. It is also heat- and pH-stable, non-fermentable and does not invoke a glycemic response. The FDA could reportedly be petitioned to approve stevia as a food additive.
It has none of the usual junk found in multi-vitamins for kids (no artificial colors, no sugars, no chemical sweeteners, etc.), but it's loaded with plant extracts and even tastes great thanks to the xylitol and stevia in the formula.This South American herb has long been used by natives as a “sugar alternative”. It has no calories.
This leaf is not only calorie-free, but also non-toxic, heat-stable, non-fermentive, non-carcinogenic, non-addictive, flavour enhancing and above all, free of calcium cyclamate saccharin aspartame that leads to side-effects.
For the most part, refined sugar is not good for you. People trying to cut back or eliminate altogether. Blackstrap molasses or honey are better choices. Stevia root is a natural calorie free sweetener, you can find it in healthstores. A good one is “Stevia Plus.” When having a sugar craving, have fruit instead.
Stevia can be used for cooking and baking since it’s heat stable, plus it blends well with other sweeteners such as honey. Liquid Stevia drops, in clear or flavored, can be added to milk or water for a flavorful zing.Delicious yet healthier desserts can be enjoyed when stevia replaces the sugar or artificial sweeteners and healthier ingredients are used in the recipes.Chilly Cherry Soup from Sensational Stevia Desserts is a perfect choice for a summer treat.
This plant, best known as a natural sweetener called sweet leaf, needs some protection in the coldest part of our winter. Mulch it well, plant it close to the house and it will return each year to sweeten your life and your herb teas. If you like caffeine, green tea is the way to go providing an outstanding source of anti-oxidants. Plus, it is also known to lower cholesterol.Dry it and mix with your herbal tea to add a non-sugar sweeetner.Sweetened or diet type juices should be avoided as possible.A drop or two of Stevia might be a good alternative.
Natural toothpastes and mouthwashes are sweetened with vegetable Glycerin, stevia or xylitol, none of which fosters bacteria growth. Xylitol, a natural sugar made from Birch trees, has been shown in studies ;its anti-microbial property actually prevent tooth decay and gum disease.'
Stevia leaf tea is found to offer excellent relief for an upset stomach. Like cucumber, a wet stevia leaf bag provides a cooling effect to eyes. "Apart from all these, the leaf helps in weight and blood pressure management, acts as an anti-tumour agent and induces insulin secretion," Dr. Naidu says ;a researcher of Sri Venkateswara University's Biotechnology Department in India.
A new herbal supplement has been introduced by Amazon Botanicals that contains the botanicals Passion Flower and Stevia. The combination of these two is highly effective, relaxing blood vessels and alleviating the symptoms of hypertension. The chemical ingredients of these medicinal plants can also improve the cardiovascular system in general and can be implemented in a healthy diet with ease.
These two herbs do not have any side effects but doctors recommend certain precautions. However, there have been no drug interactions reported. The leaves can be used as a general tonic, not only reducing blood pressure but also the stress levels, which are closely connected to such afflictions.Amazon Botanicals LLC is a leading supplier of herbal supplements based in Newark Delaware and Peru.
Howover,U.S. health regulators warned Hain Celestial Group Inc about a potentially unsafe herb in some of its herbal teas, saying it might be dangerous to blood sugar, reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems.
Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Hain for calling the herb, a natural sweetener made from a South American herb called stevia, "an unsafe food additive." The agency released the letter on its Web site .
The FDA letter said that although it has received requests to use stevia in food, "data and information necessary to support the safe use have been lacking."It also said "literature reports have raised safety concerns," including those "about control of blood sugar, and the effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems."
A spokeswoman for Boulder, Colorado-based Hain had no immediate comment.
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