Stevia Side Effects
What Are the Dangers of Stevia? How to Use it Safely!
Photo by FrauBucher
Stevia Side Effects
Here are some of the stevia side effects as reported by stevia users:
- An after taste similar to licorice or metal
- Tastes like an artifical sweetener
- Some users have reported feeling nauseous
- Some have reported that stevia isn't sweet enough
- Too much of this natural sweetener is just as bad as not enough
- Changed the flavor of their coffee
- Packets of stevia powder can become hard if not refrigerated
- Clumped together in hot oatmeal
- A scum forms if added to a cold liquid and then heated
- Disolves slowly in cold drinks
What is Stevia?
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a small perennial shrub indigenous to the the countries of Paraguay and southern Brazil. The native populations of these two countries have been using the leaves of the stevia plant for hundreds of years as a sweetener. They have either chewed the leaves or added them to their native drink, "mate".
Experts state that stevia is 100-300 times sweeter than sucrose and does not contain any calories. Studies show that leaves from this South American shrub may actually be good for your health. Stevia has been approved as a food additive in twelve different countries.
This natural sweetener has been in use in Japan for the last thirty years. The Japanese government banned aspartame and other chemical sweetners leading to the expanded use of stevia. By 1994 it was estimated that in Japan 40% of products containing sweeteners were using stevia as their main sweetening ingredient.
There have been unconfirmed reports that stevia use can cause the following health problems or conditions:
- Reproductive problems in men and women.
- That there is an ingredient derived from stevia that may cause some forms of cancer.
- There have been reports that native women used stevia as a contaceptive. A recent study does not support stevia having any contraceptive characteristics.
- Some studies report that long term stevia use can have an adverse effect on the kidneys. Other studies indicate just the opposite.
- Stevia may help lower blood pressure. Those who suffer from hypotension should not use stevia.
We support additional scientific research of the benefits of stevia and its safety. Based on its wide use in Japan and in South America over a period of many years we feel confident in recommending stevia as a healthy alternative to refined sugars.
Benefits of Stevia
Here is a list of some of the health benefits of this South American herb:
- Lowers blood pressure (A new study contradicts this conclusion)
- Does not contain any calories
- Immunomodulatory actions
How to Use Stevia?
Stevia comes in both a liquid and powder. The powdered form is used to sweeten drinks like coffee, tea, smoothies or other drinks.
Many people like the convenience of taking a few packets of stevia along with them to use when they eat out.
The powdered form of this natural sweetener is added to cakes, pies and other baked goods. Using stevia in recipes is an excellent way to reduce caloric intake.
Due to the fact that stevia is much sweeter than sucrose a person needs to be careful about adding too much stevia to their drink or recipe. A little goes a long way! Where it calls for a teaspoon, one eighth or one fourth teaspoon of stevia should be sufficient.
There continues to be a high degree of interest in the medical community regarding possible stevia side effects and its possible health benefits too. We encourage addition stevia research.
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