More and more people today are becoming health conscious and therefore they are dropping sugar from their diet and turning to healthy sugar alternatives. A clear indicator for that is the sugar substitute market which is currently estimated to be worth over 13 billion dollars and will reach more than 16 billion by 2020. However, the sugar substitute market is flooded with artificial sweeteners that may turn out to be more harmful than beneficial. One of the few organic sugar substitutes on the market is Stevia.
What is Stevia?
Organic Stevia sweetener is made from a plant formally known as Stevia Rebaudiana. Stevia is actually the name of the genus which consists of around 240 species of plants native to the tropical parts of North and South America. Indigenous peoples have been using the plant for hundreds of years as a food sweetener and in traditional medicine as well, but it was barely known in the rest of the world. However, as of recent years, after a great amount of research has been put into the plant, the name Stevia is increasing in popularity and you can buy organic Stevia sweetener in the blink of an eye, both in stores and online. This is mainly because it offers millions of people exactly what they need – a sugar substitute that doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, contains no calories all while being 40 times sweeter than sugar and providing a number of other health benefits.
What are the health benefits of Stevia?
Organic Stevia sweetener contains molecules that taste like sugar, but when ingested, instead of being absorbed into the blood stream, they are used up by the bacteria in the colon. This ability to regulate blood sugar levels is what makes Stevia the ideal sugar substitute for diabetics, people who are on a low carbohydrate diets or people who are trying to lose weight. Stevia contains glycosides that can actually relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure thus protecting the heart and preventing conditions such as strokes and atherosclerosis. Stevia also contains a wide range of antioxidants which help cancer prevention. There are many other health benefits from Stevia regarding oral health, skin health, bone health, but they are still being extensively researched.
Are there any side effects?
There is still a dose of uncertainty about some of the health effects of Stevia, but researchers continue to support its use as a sugar substitute. Also, people who are allergic to daisies, ragweed, and other related plants might have an allergic reaction from Stevia. Some people have reported bloating when eating Stevia and occasional headaches but these are rare cases, and Stevia remains a safe organic sugar substitute for millions of people all over the world.