Stevia, also known as Stevia rebaudiana, is a green, sweet herbal plant originating from South America. The plant resembles mint and is a calorie-free sweetening option.
Stevia faced an FDA ban in 1987 based on research suggesting potential cancer risks. However, it made a comeback in 1995 and established itself as the most sought-after dietary ingredient not only for its sweetening properties but also for its nutritional content.
Stevia is 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. Unlike sugar, Stevia won’t increase your carbohydrate intake, or calories, or cause insulin spikes. This helps you maintain balanced nutrition and manage your weight effectively.
Moreover, stevia is rich in sterols and antioxidants like kaempferol, a flavonoid that has potential cancer-fighting properties. So, using Stevia in your daily routine can bring you health advantages.
The Beginning Of The Plant’s Use
The stevia plant’s use began in the 16th century when it was mixed with tea for its sweet taste. The Guarani tribe in South America has been using Stevia for 1500 years. Countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina have also been using stevia as a sweetener in their beverages and desserts.
The Diseases Stevia Can Protect You From
Stevia has many advantages, including the ability to help you control diabetes and make your weight loss plans more effective. Stevia leaf powder has the potential to lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels. It also contains beneficial compounds such as sterols and antioxidants, such as kaempferol, which have cancer-preventive properties.
Who Should Not Use Stevia?
For some people, the use of Stevia can have potential side effects. Its ability to lower blood sugar and blood pressure and function as a diuretic may pose a risk to some people. Stevia can also interact with some medications, which makes it essential to consult with a doctor before consuming or buying the product.
Are Stevia Products Totally Free Of Calories And Carbohydrates?
Stevia is much better than sugar in terms of causing calories and blood sugar spikes. Nonetheless, stevia products might contain fewer caloric or carbohydrate components. You can deal with this by selecting Stevia products labeled “calorie-free” or “zero-calorie”.
Stevia Usage During Fasting
Fasting involves staying away from food and drinks completely, or almost completely, for a certain stretch of time. Reasons to do so include spirituality, religion, and health. There are different types of fasting, such as intermittent fasting, partial fasting, religious fasting, water fasting, or dry fasting.
Stevia is permitted if you are taking a fast that permits you to eat, such as intermittent fasting. But make sure you use pure Stevia extract with no other additional ingredients.
The acceptable daily limit of Stevia that you can have, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is 1.8 mg per pound (4 mg per kg) of body weight. If your weight is 68 kg, that equates to about 272 mg per day.
Finding The Purest Stevia To Flavor Your Coffee While Fasting
Stevia is a great option to add flavor to your coffee while fasting. However, stevia is available on the market in various packages, and some of them may not be suitable for a fasting person.
Some Stevia products contain small amounts of dextrose or maltodextrin, which are carbohydrates and have calories that can disrupt your fast.
The best way to prevent this is to make sure you are using the purest form of stevia, which can be found by looking for pure stevia extract and products free from dextrose or maltodextrin.
Does Stevia Help Reduce Sugar Intake?
Stevia is considered safe when taken in small amounts, but consuming large doses may have consequences. Only when you stop consuming foods high in concentrated sugar will you start to appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits or other natural sugars.
Definitely, the best approach to cutting back on sugar is to break the addiction. Thus, alternatives such as xylitol, raw honey, or date sugar are more appropriate.