As you look for safe sugar alternatives, you may be asking yourself, does stevia raise blood sugar?
The short answer is No.
Stevia does not raise blood sugar, it actually lowers it. Interesting, isn’t it?
In addition, using Stevia to sweeten your foods and drinks can save you a lot of calories and help with weight loss since Stevia has almost no calories. Stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar, so not much is needed. Stevia is also non-artificial since it is made from a small plant and has been in use around the world for a very long time.
Does Stevia Raise Blood Sugar?
Stevia will not raise your blood sugar levels and may actually lower your blood sugar level as a 2010 study published in Appetite (1) has shown. That means you can enjoy sweet tasting foods and drinks and actually IMPROVE your blood sugar level and lose weight, as long as you use Stevia as a sweetener. Stevia even seems to have some potential in the treatment of diabetes as per a 2005 study published in Plant Medica (2).
How Does Stevia Compare To Other Sweeteners?
Stevia has been around for a long time. Stevia is a non-artificial natural product made from a little green plant from South America that has been used there as a sweetener for 1000+ years. Stevia has been used as a commercial sweetener in Japan since the 1970s and it now accounts for 40% of the sweetener market in Japan (3). In the US Stevia has become increasingly popular over the last 15 years.
Stevia, being a natural plant, is not an artificial sweetener like Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame K (Sunette, Sweet One), Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin) or Xylitol.
The 2010 study published in Appetite (4) also compared Stevia with Aspartame. While both lowered blood sugar levels, only Stevia also lowered the insulin level, which is a major health benefit. In addition, as mentioned above, Stevia is natural and has been in use for a very long time.
Things To Consider When Buying Stevia
Stevia has become hugely popular. In most supermarkets you will find a huge selection of Stevia products. As with all products, label and content don’t always match. Make sure to buy a brand that contains no fillers, and make sure that it even contains Stevia. The largest component in Truvia (sounds like a Stevia brand doesn’t it?) is not Stevia. It is erythritol, a sugar alcohol.
Among the true Stevia products, some have a bitter aftertaste. If your Stevia brand has a bitter aftertaste, you have the wrong brand.
There are probably multiple brands out there that are pure (no fillers) and have no bitter aftertaste. One such brand is NOW Foods Organic Stevia Extract Powder.
The Now brand container may appear small, but remember with Stevia being 200 times sweeter than sugar, you only need a small amount.
Lastly, with Stevia being about 200 times sweeter than sugar, when you start using Stevia, be careful to not over-sweeten your food or drink!
(1) 2010 Study published in Appetite; “Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900484/
(2) 2005 Study published in Planta Medica; “Mechanism of the hypoglycemic effect of stevioside, a glycoside of Stevia rebaudiana.” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15729617
(3) Stevia History; University of Nebraska – https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g1634.pdf
(4) 2010 Study published in Appetite; “Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900484/