Can Diabetics Use Stevia?
Based near Boulder, Colo., Amber Olson has been writing health-related articles since 2009. She has served as a respiratory therapist, exercise specialist and yoga instructor. Olson holds a bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation from South Dakota State University and an associate's degree in respiratory care from Dakota State University. Continue reading >>
Stevia And Diabetes | Global Stevia Institute
If you are living with diabetes or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you know that good nutrition is perhaps one of the most important factors in achieving good health. The foods that you choose to eat, as well as being physically active and taking medications, if recommend, can make a big difference in your daily health.1 There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diabetic diet.2In fact, it is essentially the same balanced and healthy eating plan that everyone, whether or not they have diabetes, should follow. But if you do have diabetes, then managing the amount, quality and timing of the foods you eat and beverages you drink particularly those containing carbohydrates becomes even more important. Fortunately though, having diabetes does not mean having to give up all of your favorite foods. You can literally have your cake and eat it too occasionally of course so long as you work it into your eating plan. That is where stevia fits in. It is a zero calorie, plant-based sweetener of natural origin that has been used for hundreds of years dating back to indigenous people in South America. Stevia itself contains no carbohydrates, so it does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels. And in many foods and beverages you buy, it helps cut calories while still allowing you to enjoy the sweet tastes you love. Since stevia is sometimes used in combination with other types of sweeteners, it is always important to check the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel for carbohydrate amounts to make sure the product fits into your eating plan. You will find stevia in a wide range of food and beverages, including teas, soft drinks, juices, yogurt, soymilk, baked goods, cereal, salad dressings, confections and as a tabletop sweetener. Stevia is a great option to use in recip Continue reading >>
5 Sugar Substitutes For Type 2 Diabetes
1 / 6 A Small Amount of Real Sugar Is Best, but Sugar Substitutes Can Help If you think that people with diabetes should always avoid sugar, think again — they can enjoy the sweet stuff, in moderation. "The best bet is to use a very minimal amount of real sugar as part of a balanced diabetic diet," says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City. That being said, sugar substitutes offer sweetness while controlling carbohydrate intake and blood glucose. There are many sugar substitutes to choose from, but they’re not all calorie-free and they vary in terms of their impact on blood sugar. "The major difference between the sugar substitutes is whether they are nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners," says Melissa Mullins, MS, RD, a certified diabetes educator with Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va. "Non-nutritive sweeteners provide no calories and no changes in blood glucose levels, which is perfect for people with diabetes.” Here are six sweet options to consider. Continue reading >>
Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe For People With Diabetes?
As diabetes educators, we are frequently asked if sugar substitutes are safe and which ones are best. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy Over time, there have been many sugar substitutes, and we always tell people that the one you use is a personal choice. They are safe for people with diabetes, and they can be used to reduce both your calorie and carbohydrate intake. Sugar substitutes also can help curb those cravings you have for something sweet. Youll find artificial sweeteners in diet drinks , baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, light yogurt and chewing gum. You can also find them as stand-alone sweeteners to add to coffee, tea , cereal and fruit. Some are also available for cooking and baking. Its important to remember that only a small amount is needed since the sweetening power of these substitutes is (at least) 100 times stronger than regular sugar. There are currently six artificial sweeteners that have been tested and approved by the FDAor placed on the agencys Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. Numerous scientific studies have been performed on each of them to confirm they are safe for consumption. The FDA has established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for each of the products. This represents the amount of a food ingredient that can be used safely on a daily basis over a lifetime without risk.Here is a current list of sweeteners that have been approved by the FDA. 1. Acesulfame-potassium, also known as Ace-K This is generally blended with another low-calorie sweetener. Brand names include Sunett and Sweet One It is stable under heat, even under moderately acidic or basic conditions, allowing it to be used as Continue reading >>
Stevia & Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may struggle finding foods to feed your sweet tooth that won’t raise your blood sugar. Stevia may be the answer you’re looking for. A variety of companies are now adding stevia as a sweetener to low-calorie or sugar-free foods and beverages that can be part of a healthy diet for diabetics. Video of the Day In 2008, the FDA labeled stevia “Generally Recognized as Safe” and approved its use as an artificial sweetener in the U.S. The American Diabetes Association agrees it is safe for diabetics to use to add sweetness to the diet without raising blood sugar. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension reports that stevia has been used safely in Paraguay for centuries. It was approved in Japan in the 1970s, and Brazil approved the use of stevia products in 1980. Stevia is currently used all over the world with China being the largest exporter. What the Science Says A study published in 2004 in the journal “Metabolism” reported that participants with type 2 diabetes had lower blood sugar levels after eating a meal supplemented with 1 gram of stevia than those who ate the same meal without stevia. In 2013, a study published in the “Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications” found that diabetic rats given diets supplemented with stevia not only had lower blood sugars, but less damage to their liver and kidneys as well. More studies are needed to determine the benefits of stevia to diabetics, but so far, the findings are promising. It Does a Body Good Because stevia is a plant, it contains a variety of vitamins and minerals including chromium and magnesium. Chromium helps maintain normal glucose metabolism and chromium deficiency has been associated with impaired glucose intolerance, although most diabetics are not deficient in chrom Continue reading >>
Sugar & Sweeteners
Sweeteners that increase blood glucose (sugar) levels Sweetener Forms & uses Other things you should know Sugars (some examples) Brown sugar Maltodextrins Icing sugar Agave syrup Invert sugar Brown rice syrup White sugar Corn syrup Dextrose High fructose corn syrup Fructose Maple syrup Glucose Fruit juice concentrates Lactose Honey Maltose Molasses Sucrose Barley malt Used to sweeten foods and beverages May be found in medications Sugars are carbohydrates that can affect your blood glucose (sugar), weight and blood fats. There is no advantage to those with diabetes in using one type of sugar over another. Sugars may be eaten in moderation by people with diabetes. Up to 10 per cent of the days calories can come from added sugar. Their effect on blood glucose levels will vary. Talk to your dietitian about how to fit sugars into your meal plan. Sweeteners that don't increase blood glucose (sugar) levels Sweetener Forms & uses Others things you should know Sugar alcohols & polydextrose Lactitol Xylitol Maltitol Polydextrose Mannitol Isomalt Polyols Palatinit Sorbitol Polyol syrups Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH) Used to sweeten foods labelled “sugar free” or “no added sugar” May be found in cough and cold syrups and other liquid medications (e.g. antacids) Sugar alcohols are neither sugars nor alcohols. Small amounts are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. They can also be manufactured. They are only partly absorbed by your body, have fewer calories than sugar and have no major effect on blood glucose (sugar). Check product labels for the number of grams of sugar alcohols per serving. If you eat more than 10 grams of sugar alcohols a day, you may experience side effects such as gas, bloating or diarrhea. Talk to your dietitian if you are carbohydrate co Continue reading >>
Stevia: A Sweetener Shrouded In Mystery And Debate
Over the past several weeks, we’ve taken a closer look at various nutritive, or caloric, sweeteners, including high-fructose corn syrup. Thank you all for your comments, questions, and suggestions. The use of sweeteners is obviously an important, and often emotionally charged, topic. This week, I thought I’d write about stevia, a sweetener that has grown more popular with many people who are uncomfortable with using artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose. Stevia is an herb that belongs to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It’s grown primarily in Central and South America and is sometimes called sweet leaf or sugar leaf. For many centuries, people living in Paraguay and Brazil have used stevia to sweeten a drink called yerba mate. In the early 1930s, scientists isolated the ingredients, stevioside and rebaudioside, that give stevia its sweetness. These ingredients, collectively known as glycosides, are about 300 times sweeter than sucrose, although they are calorie-free and carbohydrate-free (meaning they don’t affect blood glucose levels). Stevia users describe stevia as tasting a bit like licorice. Japan has been manufacturing stevia since the 1970s and happens to be the largest consumer of stevia compared to other countries. Stevia is also used in other Asian countries as well as in Central and South America. Interestingly, stevia has yet to be approved for use as a sweetener by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), by Canada, or by the European Union. It is, however, available as a dietary supplement. Why? Studies done several years ago hinted that stevia may be harmful in several ways. First, large amounts of stevia given to both male and female rodents affected their fertility and led to fewer and smaller-sized offspring. Second, in Continue reading >>
Stevia: Can Nature’s Sweetener Help Your Blood Sugar?
You know that awful feeling when a sugar low is coming. I break out into a cold sweat, feel panicky, get nauseated, and have trouble answering extremely simple questions like “Do you need to eat?” Well, I was feeling it again, and again, and I didn’t know why. That’s what I hate the most: When things go wrong, but I think I’ve been doing everything right. Blood sugar problems run in my family. My grandpa was an insulin-dependent diabetic, and my mom is a type 2 diabetic on medication. For some reason, I got the other end of the problem, reactive hypoglycemia, but ironically, I did get gestational diabetes during pregnancy. So I guess you could say I’ve lived on both sides of the blood sugar coin. My diet restrictions are about the same as yours, but I have to avoid sugar like the plague. I can usually handle three bites of my husband’s dessert (if he’s willing to share!), but any more than that will have consequences. Sometimes I give in and eat dessert on the ridiculous premise that perhaps I’ve been cured and I’ll just eat this chocolate cake to check and see. That always ends up badly. So, probably like you, in order to enjoy things that taste sweet without feeling like I’m going to die around 2:00 in the morning, I am an avid fan of artificial sweeteners.But, also probably like you, I’ve read the reports on their dangers. The huge lists of possible side effects make me feel rather guilty for putting the stuff in my mouth, but not guilty enough to stop. That is, until just a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to go off artificial sweeteners and try the natural, latest-fad-of-health-gurus, non-sugar sweetener, Stevia. Stevia has been around for awhile, and you’ve probably heard it praised to the skies by anyone who regularly buys organic foo Continue reading >>
Stevia: Health Benefits, Facts, And Safety
Stevia is an intensely sweet-tasting plant that has been used to sweeten beverages and make tea since the 16th century. The plant is originally native to Paraguay and Brazil but is now also grown in Japan and China. It is used as a non-nutritive sweetener and herbal supplement. A non-nutritive sweetener is one that contains little to no calories . Stevia is used as a healthful alternative to added sugar in many meals and beverages. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the marketing of stevia as a food additive in 1987. However, stevia regained its status as a sweet, sustainable dietary ingredient in 1995. The sweetener has since soared in popularity, with a 58 percent boost in new products that contain stevia. This breakdown looks at the characteristics, uses, health benefits, and side effects of stevia, as well as considering its overall safety. Stevia is primarily grown in Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, and China. The natural sweetener tastes 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. Stevia can be classified as "zero-calorie," because the calories per serving are so low. It has shown potential health benefits as a healthful sugar alternative for people with diabetes . Stevia and erythritol that have been approved for use in the United States (U.S.) and do not appear to pose any health risks when used in moderation. Stevia, also known as Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, is a bushy shrub that is part of the sunflower family. There are 150 species of stevia, all native to North and South America. China is the current leading exporter of stevia products. However, stevia is now produced in many countries. The plant can often be purchased at garden centers for home growing. As stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. It typically requires about 20 p Continue reading >>
Stevia For Diabetics – Does It Work As Claimed?
How about sweetening your food despite having diabetes? No. This is not the storyline for an upcoming Hollywood science fiction movie. It is the truth. I don’t know if you have heard of stevia before. But that doesn’t matter. Because stevia… ..well, read for yourself. What Is Stevia? Sugar’s cousin. But without the ill effects. This is because almost all sugar substitutes are produced synthetically. But not stevia. Stevia is derived from a plant. Which is why it is sugar’s good cousin. And guess what? Stevia is valued for what it doesn’t do. For instance, stevia doesn’t add calories. The stevia plant is related to the daisy and ragweed plants. Several of the stevia species are native to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. But the most prized species grows in Brazil and Paraguay. The people in these areas have been using the leaves of this plant to sweeten food for hundreds of years. The traditional medicine in these regions also promotes stevia as a treatment for burns, stomach problems, and sometimes even as a contraceptive. Stunningly enough, stevia is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar (1). But it contains no carbohydrates, calories, or artificial ingredients. Stevia For Diabetics – What Does Science Say? Science says many things. And one of them is this – stevia might have benefits – not just for diabetics, but for other individuals as well. According to Massachusetts General Hospital, stevia is promising for people suffering from hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Stevia is made from a leaf related to popular garden flowers like chrysanthemums and asters (2). It is approved by the FDA and is known to possess antioxidant and antidiabetic properties. It can suppress your plasma glucose levels and help improve the symptoms. The other benefits of stevia Continue reading >>
Stevia sweeteners are based upon extracts from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant, and was approved for sale in the EU in 2012. Until 2012, stevia had not been approved for sale in the EU and its availability had been eagerly anticipated by people with diabetes looking to have a naturally derived low calorie sweetener. Stevia’s sweetening effect Steviol glycosides, the compounds which give stevia its sweet taste, have a level of sweetness graded at 250-300 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose). Steviol glycosides, whilst sweet, can have a bitter aftertaste when stevia is consumed in its purest form.  Stevia and effect on blood sugar levels Using pure stevia preparations in relatively small amounts should have no significant effect on blood glucose levels. A research study from Brazil, published in 1986, showed that taking stevia preparations at 6 hour intervals over 3 days helped to significantly improve glucose tolerance. The study will be welcome news for people with diabetes, particularly those with insulin resistance, although it should be noted that the study was small, with 16 participants in the study. Stevia based sweeteners that are blended with other sweetening ingredients may have blood glucose raising properties, depending on what they are blended with and in what proportion. Refer to the packaging or contact the manufacturer if you have questions about how the product may affect your blood glucose levels. Stevia extracts are free from calories so can be beneficial for weight loss if used as an alternative to sugar. Why are some stevia products blended with other sweeteners? As stevia extracts can have a bitter aftertaste, a number of commercially available stevia based sweeteners blend in other sweeteners to improve the taste. Stevia sweeteners ma Continue reading >>
How Natural & Artificial Sweeteners Affect Blood Sugar
I have wanted to write a post about sweeteners for a while now. Mainly because I get a little frustrated when reading or hearing outright incorrect claims about how some of the natural and artificial sweeteners affect your blood sugar. As a person with diabetes, I want to know exactly what will happen to my blood sugar when I eat or drink something, and I don’t take kindly to half-true marketing claims. I’ve decided to focus on how natural & artificial sweeteners impact blood sugar rather than on whether they are healthy or not, since I think that is somewhat out of my domain and because plenty of others have already covered that. What are natural & artificial sweeteners? FDA defines sweeteners as: “…commonly used as sugar substitutes or sugar alternatives because they are many times sweeter than sugar but contribute only a few or no calories when added to foods”. This means that regular sugar, honey, and Agave nectar/syrup don’t fall into the sweetener category. However, I do want to address these shortly before moving on to the real artificial sweeteners, since I’ve seen claims of how honey and agave won’t impact blood sugar in the same way as sugar. Honey and agave nectar Let’s start with honey because, let’s face it, it’s sugar in liquid form. It’s delicious, but an October 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that when subjects were given honey, cane sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup, they saw no notable difference in blood sugar increase. As for agave, I think that the corporate marketing machine has been very clever when declaring this a health food, for as Dr. Jonny Bowden points out“..It’s basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as healthy food.” Agave nectar may have a lower glycemic index than sugar or honey, but Continue reading >>
The Best Sugar Substitutes For People With Diabetes
With a low to no calorie sugar count, artificial sweeteners may seem like a treat for people with diabetes. But recent research suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually be counterintuitive. Especially if you’re looking to manage or prevent diabetes. In fact, the increased consumption of these sugar substitutes may correlate to the increase of obesity and diabetes cases. The good news is that there are sugar alternatives you can choose from. You’ll still want to count your intake for glucose management, but these options are far better than the marketed “sugar-free” products. Stevia Stevia is a FDA approved low-calorie sweetener that has anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic properties. Unlike artificial sweeteners and sugar, stevia can suppress your plasma glucose levels and significantly increase glucose tolerance. It’s also technically not an artificial sweetener. That’s because it’s made from the leaves of the stevia plant. Stevia also has the ability to: increase insulin effect on cell membranes increase insulin production stabilize blood sugar levels counter mechanics of type 2 diabetes and its complications You can find stevia under brand names like: PureVia Sun Crystals Sweet Leaf Truvia While stevia is natural, these brands are usually highly processed and may contain other ingredients. For example, Truvia goes through 40 processing steps before it’s ready to be sold, and contains the sugar alcohol erythritol. Future research may shed more light on the health impacts of consuming these processed stevia sweeteners. The best way to consume stevia is to grow the plant yourself and use the whole leaves to sweeten foods. What’s the difference between Truvia and stevia? » Tagatose Tagatose is another naturally occurring sugar that researchers are s Continue reading >>
Stevia And Diabetes
When it comes to sweets, we all love to eat them from time to time. But sugar isn't really a good option for any of us, even if we're not diabetic. So what about stevia and diabetes? Is it a good option for making sweet treats and decadent desserts? Let's dig into some info to find out. What is Stevia? Stevia is an herb from South America that has been used for centuries. Today it comes in both powder and liquid form and can be used in cakes, bakes, and anything you want to add sweetness to. It is 250 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar) and the active components are steviol glycosides, rebaudioside A and stevioside. It’s been used for the longest period of time in the Japanese food supply after saccharin was banned but can now be found throughout the world. Something most people aren’t aware of is that there is white stevia and green leaf stevia. The white powder is more chemically processed, while the green leaf is a more natural form. The liquid extract is also less processed, which is my preferred option. You can also get flavored stevia liquids, like vanilla, chocolate and so forth, which make great additions to chocolate desserts for example. I guess it just depends on preference and how you are going to use it. Still, the white powder is the most commonly consumed type of stevia because it’s readily available and easy to use. The other thing about green leaf stevia is it’s not as sweet, which is probably why it hasn't been commercialized as much. The research shows that stevia is considered safe (1). Can Stevia Cause Cancer? Question from Kathryn: Stevia has been linked to cancer in some studies. Do you consider it safe? I looked at a few studies and position statements and this is what I found. The US National Cancer Institute says there is no clear eviden Continue reading >>
Splenda Or Stevia ?
Is it better to sweeten with Splenda, the McNeil Nutritionals brand of sucralose, or with one of the many brands of stevia? I keep changing my mind on this question and going back and forth between them. I suspect that I’m not the only one puzzling over this issue. I’ve just switched back to stevia. It wasn’t because of any new information or sudden insight. It was partly because I have begun to accept that people and organizations I respect prefer stevia. The natural foods stores, Whole Foods and Wild Oats, where I almost buy everything else that I eat, don’t sell Splenda. Andrew Weil, M.D., the leading exponent of the integrative medicine, which I believe in myself, prefers stevia to any of the artificial sweeteners. "The only non-caloric sweetener I recommend is stevia, an herb in the chrysanthemum family native to Paraguay," he writes. "Stevia is safe for diabetics and is widely used as a sweetener around the world, especially in Japan and Brazil." Stevia is indeed natural. But natural isn’t necessarily safe. Think of all the poisonous mushrooms, to say nothing of strychnine and curare. It’s hard to determine the advantages and disadvantages of the natural stevia, which is essentially untested, against the artificial Splenda that has been tested. Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, McNeil Nutritionals, advertises that Splenda is "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar." In fact lawsuits are pending that alleges the company is sugar-coating Splenda to consumers. The Sugar Association, Merisant Worldwide, which makes rival artificial sweeteners Equal and NutraSweet, and a group of individuals have filed three class-action suits again McNeil Nutritionals. They claim that company misleads consumers into believing Splenda is a natural product. Splenda also doe Continue reading >>