Is Stevia Healthy? Not all of it is.
During the week we did a post on social media about Stevia and we were a little surprised with the feedback and questions we received about it.
Is Stevia Healthy being one of them.
It appears that a good deal of people out there just aren’t aware that Stevia is not naturally white, does not come in powdered ‘sugar’ crystals and does not naturally arrive in little convenient pouches.
For those of you that are hearing about stevia for the first time, it is a plant that is typically grown in South America, and while its extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it does not raise blood insulin levels making it awesome for Diabetics. That’s what makes it so popular. It’s also low calorie and can help assist with lowering blood pressure as well. It’s a clever little plant Stevia.
The Stevia you see on your supermarket shelves is not pure Stevia. It’s been heavily processed, stripped and chemically whitened to resemble sugar. This therefore makes it more appealing to you the consumer and you are convinced it’s a better alternative to sugar thanks to the use of words such as ‘natural’ and ‘plant based’ on the packaging.
As Vani Hari aka Food Babe states-
"In 1991 the FDA refused to approve Stevia for use in foods due to pressure from artificial sweetener companies like Sweet n’ Low and Equal (a one billion dollar industry). But in 2008, the FDA approved the use of Rebaudioside compounds that were derived from the Stevia plant by Coca-Cola (Cargill) and PepsiCo – hmmm doesn’t that sound suspicious? Not until a major food company got involved did Stevia become legal, and only after it had been highly processed using a patentable chemical-laden process. So processed that Truvia (Coca-Cola’s branded product) goes through about 40 steps to process the extract from the leaf, relying on chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), and none of those ingredients sound like real food, do they".
Stevia in it’s natural state is a little green leaf from a plant that we can all grow in our backyards much like mint. The leaves can be dried and ground up into a sweet little green powder. Nothing needs to be added to it in this state and you can use a pinch of it in your smoothies, slices and chia puddings to naturally sweeten with ease. To make Stevia white, chemical bleaching agents are used. Unfortunately you can’t buy green, unbleached Stevia in supermarkets, only health food shops or online.
Stevia in supermarkets is also usually mixed with Erythritol or Dextrose which are alcohol based sweeteners commonly made by the food manufacturing industry from fermented GMO corn. You don’t want to be consuming either of these chemically produced substances.
Yes Stevia in it’s white powdered form is a darn sight better than Aspartame or Saccharin, both of which are linked to all sorts of health problems such as MS, Alzheimers and Cancer. The short of it is though, anything that heavily processed and unrecognisable from it’s natural form shouldn’t be consumed. We don’t recognise it so how are our bodies supposed to?
Our recommended choices for Stevia are:
Another great sugar alternative is Lakanto or Monk Fruit as it's often referred to.
Lakanto is a super sweet fruit extract from the Luo Han Guo plant and is excellent for those dealing with Candida and other bacterial and yeast issues.
Lakanto does not feed harmful yeast and bacteria so it supports you on your candida journey nicely.
It's zero GI and zero calorie making it wonderful for those with Insulin Resistance or Diabetes as it has no impact on blood sugar or insulin release.
Added bonuses of Lakanto are that it's naturally anti inflammatory, high in antioxidants and contains natural anti histamines!
Pretty cool hey!