Stevia Leaf: The Natural Sweetening Alternative
Hey All! In our ongoing coverage of sweeteners, we here at Body360 have been informing you, our dear readers, of the health benefits and warnings about artificial sugar substitutes and weighing in on the health benefits and alternatives of natural sweeteners.
One of these many such sweeteners is stevia leaf extract.
According to WebMD, stevia is a plant that is found in South America. Native peoples of the continent have cultivated and used stevia as a food additive to increase its sweetness for centuries. The natives also used it as a medicine. Modern people use stevia not only to flavor their food but also for such purposes as blood pressure control and for weight loss.
Does Stevia Leaf Taste Bitter?
Despite its benefits and being used as an additive to food, many people complain about—or even actively dislike—the taste of stevia. Business Insider reports that those surveyed on its taste often report that stevia has a flavor of “cough syrup” or “chemicals.”
Business Insider goes on to explain that stevia reacts with both the tongue’s sweet and bitter receptors, which is why many people report it as having a somewhat unpleasant taste or bitter aftertaste. This may explain why products flavored with stevia also balance out the bitterness quotient with other sweeteners as well.
However, it’s important to note that the taste of stevia leaf has improved dramatically in the last decade plus. So don;t be too quick to dismiss it.
Does Stevia Leaf Raise Blood Sugar?
Because stevia use has been linked to blood sugar issues, it is a good idea to ingest it in moderation. According to National Geographic, stevia, like other sugar substitutes, may actually raise blood sugar levels—while not as appreciatively or as precipitously as real sugar, the changes are notable.
Research has shown a tentative link between artificial sweetener consumption and the body’s natural microbial balance being thrown off, but those findings are inconclusive, National Geographic reports. National Geographic also found that while sweeteners may lead to elevated blood sugar levels and associated problems like diabetes, they made sure to point out that many study participants already led lifestyles that often lead to conditions like heart disease and pre-diabetes.
As we’ve discussed in this blog, cutting back on sugar is a great thing for your general health picture, and natural sweeteners like stevia can be a good way to reduce sugar intake while still getting some sugariness flavor in your foods.
In short, stevia leaf extract surely can add a zing of flavor but without piling on the calories. This way you can add that the sweet” into your diet regimen of muscle-construction entrees or protein shakes while simultaneously not ramping up your sugar intake.
Do you get what I’m saying?
I mean, many protein shakes, snack bars and so called “health foods” might as well have labels saying “Hi, here’s 10 scoops of sugar!”).
Until next time … Be safe out there folks!
Do you have any questions on sweeteners, natural or otherwise? Let me know if the comments below!