ARE WE SWEETER WITHOUT SUGAR? A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Diabetes II and of course I had to change a lot of my eating habits. One of the first, but not only, change was to eliminate one of the culprits…..SUGAR. Oh no, I thought “not my sugary sweets and a true southerner….sweet tea!” I went farther than sugar when CARBS were thrown into the mix. With a lot of negative postings about aspartame, I looked into Stevia as a substitute for my sweet tooth. After a couple of years, I wanted to share my research. I am not advocating Stevia as I haven’t seen all of the positive effects some of the articles (studies) but neither have I seen any negative side effects. I am inserting some information which can be helpful if you consider “Are we sweeter without sugar?“
Can Diabetics Use Stevia?
by Amber Olson, Demand Media
Stevia delivers lots of sweetness without the calories.
When you crave something sweet, you likely reach for sugar-filled foods. But sugar, and other natural sweeteners such as honey and molasses, can elevate blood sugar levels. Stevia, which comes from the herb Stevia rebaudiana, is widely used as a sweetener around the world and is safe for diabetics. Unlike most other sweeteners, stevia can even be grown in a home garden.
The whole leaf from stevia is about 30 times sweeter than sugar. Several sweet compounds of stevia have been isolated and named including stevioside, steviobioside, dulcoside A and rebaudiosides A, B, C, D and E. These isolated substances vary in sweetness ranging from 50 to 450 times sweeter than sugar. Pure stevia powder is so sweet that you must first dissolve it in water and then dispense the solution by drops. The sweetness of 1 teaspoon of the liquid is equivalent to a cup of sugar.
The effect of steviol glycosides, isolated from Stevia rebaudiana, in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics was evaluated in a study published in 2008 in the “Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology” journal. The results showed that post-treatment blood glucose levels were not significantly different from baseline measurements in the groups that were given stevia. Additionally, stevia was well tolerated by the subjects and had no side effects.
A study published in 2005 in the “Hormone and Metabolic Research” journal evaluated the effect of stevioside, a glycoside in Stevia rebaudiana, in rats fed a diet consisting of 60 percent fructose. Stevioside was found to decrease plasma-glucose concentrations, improve insulin sensitivity and delay the development of insulin resistance in the rats. Based on these results, the authors concluded that stevia may also be helpful for diabetics.
Stevia has no calories. In contrast, a gram of sugar contains about 4 calories, and there are about 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. If you put 3 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, that’s 48 calories for just 1 cup of coffee. Using stevia in place of sugar can help you maintain and achieve a healthy weight. That’s important because more than 80 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Note from Arline Miller, blog author of Sipping Cups of Inspiration. After 2 years, my glucose is not level but not ever in the extremely high areas. My cholesterol is lower but I am taking Crestor in low dosage. Whether any of these conditions are better or worse because of my use of Stevia, I don’t know. What I do know is when a person is diagnosed with Diabetes, it is time to pay attention. Our bodies are telling us we are abusing the natural functions and it is a red flag and not one to be taken lightly. See your physician who will work with you but you have to take control and decide what is most important…Pizza, Cake, Sodas, Starches or your life. Google Diabetes; Glucose Control; Stevia; Eating Healthy for great information as you have resources at your fingertips to learn what or what not to eat to maintain good health.
Interesting, right? What I find is more important is my decision to cut out the foods and drinks which would require even Stevia. Even though studies and FDA apparently don’t see any harm with the exceptions of the rare allergies to Stevia, I have been thinking about processing as a factor in my decision. As with sugary foods, over processed foods, chemically grown, to even scary foods who don’t disintegrate after long periods of time; I feel we will be so much healthier the more natural, organic, and without adding salt to a fault we can live better and even have a sweeter disposition. Yesterday, my husband and I decided to stop drinking tea or other beverages which we have used Stevia to sweeten. Our reason is simple: We have been aiding our “sweet cravings” by fooling ourselves we need the goodies. I am not sure what the results will be so I will update as we move forward. Again, I am not making a statement for anyone else. If we do have a craving for something sweet, we will treat it as a reward and not a standard for our eating lifestyle.
I would be interested in other’s experience, good or bad with using stevia or giving up sugar entirely.
(C) Copyright Arline Miller 2012-2016 All written content is protected with rights reserved. All third party material is sourced with links for access to original article(s).