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Stevia: The Healthy Alternative To Sugar?

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All our lives we’ve been told that if something, “sounds too good to be true, it generally is”. Then….Stevia happened.

Imagine something that is 300 times sweeter than sugar, is reported to have absolutely no calories, and comes from a plant rather than being man-made. Well, that’s Stevia in a nutshell.

As Americans come to terms with the reality of sugar addiction and the unwanted obesity and health problems that come with it, they must decide how best to treat the “sweet tooth”. Some brave souls have decided that they will go without sweets of any kind, opting to face down their sugar dependance by going completely cold turkey. Others are not looking to give up sweets, but to steer clear of sugar.

Enter the practically miraculous Stevia, and an industry looking to make billions off of diet and sugar-free crazed Americans.

Jeremiah Mann, who is in charge of the Yuba-based, “Stevia First”, is very optimistic about plans to grow and market the plant in the United States.”Unlike artificial sweeteners, these are molecules that taste really good,” says Mann. He believes that stevia will be a “highly profitable crop in California.”

Most stevia currently is produced in China, but that could change, especially as the $60 billion industry expands. The World Health Organization has it on track to replace 20 to 30 percent of all sweeteners worldwide.

Despite the seemingly good news about Stevia, there remains a cynical element. If Stevia is so wonderful and as natural a plant as sugar, why are we just now hearing about it? Are there any negative side-effects that we won’t be hearing about until billions of dollars have been made off of Americans?

Stevia hasn’t been approved by the FDA, but that won’t stop companies from selling it. Despite a lack of in-depth research, there are early concerns that it can drop the blood sugar levels of diabetics to an unsafe degree, as well as blood pressure. It’s also recommended that anyone with allergies to ragweed and related plants steer clear of stevia.

Will stevia prove to be better for you than sugar and successfully set the sugar substitute market ablaze? Or will it turn out to be like margarine was with butter—worse for you than what it was replacing? Only time will tell.

In any case, it’s best to abide by the “if it sounds too good to be true” creed and proceed with caution.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Stevia: The Healthy Alternative To Sugar?
About Toni Matthews-El
Toni Matthews-El hails from the land of chunked pumpkins and people who come to a complete stop before making any and every turn. When she isn't contributing articles to WebProNews, she spends her time freelance writing, cheering Liverpool FC, and enjoying life as a hair flower connoisseur. Disclaimer: Written opinions do not necessarily reflect that of WebProNews or its affiliates WebProNews Writer
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  • http://www.PrestoPainGo.com David Milbradt

    To answer your question: "why are we just now hearing about it?" I can only say that you are completely out of the loop. A little research would show that the FDA has suppressed the use of Stevia since the 1970's because it would compete with the market for the highly toxic aspartame and stevia sweeteners. Stevia has been added to supplements for decades and used even longer in countries like Japan with a remarkable safety record. Google "side effects of aspartame" for a quick comparison or read a few articles on Mercola.com to come up to speed on this subject.

    • Richard Vierra

      It's all a giant conspiracy, man. The MAN just wants to poison us all, and kill everyone with highly toxic aspartame and stevia sweeteners. Spread the word!

      • Claudia

        Opps

        Aspartame does a great deal of harm, especially if used in hot liquid. It also increases your hunger. The research is there; it can cause brain tumors, one of a long list of "harms".

        Stevia, on the other hand, does not cause harm and can be medicinally helpful. In fract, there are cases where the "whole stevia" liquid has helped heal when applied topically. You know, the synergy of using the whole plant.

  • Kristie R

    Actually, coconut sugar is a far healthier choice than the man-made Stevia. It's a natural sugar, has all the benefits that coconut has to offer, and it tastes wonderful in baked products, your coffee, on your cereal … everywhere sugar tastes wonderful. Yes it has calories. Same calories as cane sugar but used in moderation (as all foods should be) the health benefits are unmatched.

  • http://www.highcare.lv/lv/Vakuummasaza.html Vakuummasāža

    Well, its too late to question if Stevia is good or not. Stevia has already taken off. Its available even in 3rd world countries now. In some of the poorest EU contries you can buy it in regular stores… Its here for the stay.

    -Masāža

  • Claudia

    Stevia (the white powder or clear liquid) is a great sugar substitute, and causes no harm. This is a part of the stevia leaf.

    The whole stevis is a black liquid, (the whole stevia) and is great for diabetic. It does have a licorish taste if you use too much, so use sparingly. I try to use 10-drops a day to help my diabetes.

  • Ed Williams

    Once I bought what I thought was pure stevia at a local Walmart. After reading the ingredients I learned that part, if not most of the product wasn't stevia but glucose (or some other sweetener). The lesson here: read the ingredients on the package.