Stevia is a ZERO calorie sweet ingredient used in drinks and several food options available commercially.
In full disclosure, I love Stevia. In fact, I use Reb M Stevia in my electrolyte blend. If you’ve ever had something with Stevia in it and thought it tasted bad/bitter you’re not alone. That bitter taste is due to the compound / rebaudiosides BUT the good news is: there are variations that do NOT taste bitter (like Reb M). More on that in a bit.
What is Stevia?
All of the Stevia variations are brought to you by the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) plant, an herbal shrub. Its leaves and extracts have been sold as dietary supplements for many years. The sweet purified extract is called steviol glycosides and is considered to be safe by the FDA.
How is Stevia made?
The Stevia plant is typically grown on small farms in Asia, South America or other tropical/sub-tropical climates. In order to cultivate the sweet, stevia leaves are first harvested and then they’re dried. Then… the leaves are steeped in hot water. And after multiple stages of filtering and centrifuging, the concentration of the sweetest components of the leaf are collected.
Is Stevia bad for you?
It’s been commonly consumed for over 10 years and it’s tough to find data on negative impacts of Stevia consumption. However, don’t go overboard with consumption, there’s no need and high amounts of it could cause stomach discomfort and maybe negative issues that we just don’t know about.
There is mounting evidence that stevioside (Stevia) is beneficial to type 2 diabetics.
“Stevioside tended to decrease glucagon levels, while it did not significantly alter the area under the insulin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide curves. In conclusion, stevioside reduces postprandial blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients, indicating beneficial effects on the glucose metabolism. Stevioside may be advantageous in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.” – PubMed
Is Stevia Keto?
Oh yeah and not only that, I’d give it a PALEO stamp as well. And by Paleo, I’m referring to the modern diet and not the way people ate a long time ago. Stevia will not take a person out of Ketosis, it doesn’t raise blood sugar.
Here’s a look at Zevia and how it impacted my blood glucose (Zevia is a Stevia sweetened drink)
I’ve been testing products including Stevia via CGM for years, this is the common response: no rise in blood sugar.
Is Stevia Natural?
This is Stevia:
With that plant in mind, and as explained above: The Stevia ingredient you eat is NOT the plant, it’s derived from a process (as indicated above) – so naturally speaking – yes, the plant is all natural but the Stevia ingredient NEEDS a process “processed food” to become a powder for use in products.
Is Stevia a sugar alcohol?
No, it’s not.
Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates with a chemical structure that kind of resembles sugar and partially resembles alcohol. However, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol. Confused? A sugar alcohol is absorbed and metabolized by the body and typically doesn’t raise blood sugar.
Common sugar alcohols include:
- Maltitol syrup
- Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates.
Does Stevia raise blood sugar?
For me, it does NOT raise blood sugar. I test via CGM all the time and in no circumstance has Stevia raised my blood sugar. This seems to be the case across broad spectrums of research too.
“Hence it can be said that Stevia can safely be used as an anti‐diabetic herb, as a sweetener substitute and may help to prevent cardiovascular diseases in patients with long‐standing diabetes.” – Wiley Online Library
“The results suggested that stevia leaves do have a significant role in alleviating liver and kidney damage in the STZ-diabetic rats besides its hypoglycemic effect. It might be adequate to conclude that stevia leaves could protect rats against streptozotocin induced diabetes, reduce the risk of oxidative stress and ameliorate liver and kidney damage.” – Science Direct
Is Stevia okay while fasting?
Yes. I believe without question that Stevia is perfectly suitable for anyone who is regularly intermittent or extended fasting. I would caution against consuming stevia if therapeutically fasting.
Are there different types of Stevia?
In short, yes! If you’ve tasted bitter Stevia, there are alternate options that DO NOT taste bitter.
Steviol glycosides all have a common basic backbone called steviol. They include compounds like stevioside and many different forms of rebaudiosides, the most common of which is rebaudioside A (or reb A). Some steviol glycosides are also made through processes called bioconversion and fermentation, which allow sweeter and less bitter stevia rebaudiosides, such as reb M, to be produced on a larger scale. – FoodInsight.org
I am a HUGE FAN of REB M Stevia – I use it in my electrolyte blend. It tastes amazing and has zero impact on blood sugar. It’s a beauuuuutiful thing. – Bee Movie
Stevia is natural and does not impact blood sugar in the general population which makes it a perfect sugar substitute for diabetics, those on a Keto diet, and/or insulin resistant individuals.
Key takeaways about Stevia:
- Stevia is a zero calorie sweetener
- There are different variations of Stevia (some bitter, some not)
- Stevia is not an artificial sweetener
- Stevia is not a sugar alcohol
- Stevia is not bad for you
- Stevia does not raise blood sugar
- Stevia is great on a Keto Diet
- Stevia is safe for diabetics
This content is for informational purposes only and should be construed as medical advice.