Monday, March 2, 2009

Sweet Tooth? Try Stevia! By Bob Hubbard

Sweet Tooth? Try Stevia!
By Bob Hubbard

Walk through your sweetener area and you’ll find a wide range of choices. Cane Sugar our old stand by, as well as corn syrups, molasses, and a wide array of artificial sweeteners made in labs, each with it’s own associated health risks and concerns. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a safe natural low/no calorie sweetener to use instead of sugar, that tasted as good, and didn’t have the concerns of the laboratory creations?

Time to check out Stevia.

Stevia, or “Sweet Leaf” is an natural sweetener, tracing back to Central America. The leaves of the Stevia plant have 30–45 times the sweetness of ordinary table sugar with a slower onset and longer duration. It’s negligible effect on blood glucose makes it an attractive natural sweetener, and it’s low calorie nature helps make it a choice alternate to regular sugar and it’s high calorie count.

The United States banned it’s use as a sweetener in the 1990’s, but recently partially reversed that at the urging of Coca Cola and Pepsi, and there are now several Stevia derivatives available at your local super market under names such as Rebiana, Truvia and PureVia. Stevia has been widely used as a sweetener in Japan, and is also available in Canada as a dietary supplement.

Native tribes in South America used Stevia to sweeten various medical compounds. Recent research has shown Stevia to be a promising aid in treating obesity, high blood pressure and hypertension, as well as possibly enhancing glucose tolerance. It’s being researched as a possible treatment for osteoporosis as well. Stevia’s nature also makes it a good option for diabetics.

Stevia is however not without it’s controversy. Critics claim a wide range of concerns such as its compounds breaking down into mutagens, carcinogens, etc.

In general stevia constituents have not been found to be harmful. There is no evidence that stevia constituents cause cancer or birth defects. For over thirty years millions of Japanese have been using stevia with no reported or known harmful effects. Similarly, stevia leaves have been used for centuries in South America spanning multiple generations.

The World Health Organization performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies of stevioside and steviols conducted on animals and humans, and concluded that there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity, or birth defects, and that there is some evidence of pharmacological effects in patients with hypertension or with type-2 diabetes, but that further study was required.

Overall, Stevia looks to be a safe, natural alternate to sugar, free of many of the concerns of artificial chemical sweeteners. Look for it at your local supermarket and health food store. Remember, a little bit goes a long way with Stevia.

Bob Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing in affordable solutions for martial artists. Bob can be reached at
Article Copyright © 2009 - Bob Hubbard - All Rights Reserved. This article may be reproduced provided all text, the author bio and these terms are kept intact.

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Copyright © 2009 Bob Hubbard. All rights reserved.