Stevia is a zero calorie sweetener derived from a plant originating from South America that has been used for generations to not only sweeten food, but also as treatment for certain ailments. Its extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and it does not raise blood insulin levels. Stevia can be a useful zero calorie alternative BUT take care in choosing your brand!
Choosing the RIGHT kind of Stevia:
Not all stevia is created equal - always read labels & choose stevia that indicates "whole stevia leaf", 100% pure and that is free of added ingredients including 'natural flavors' (which is who knows what), dextrose and erythritol (both of which are generally derived from GMO corn & are heavily processed).
Even so...is it healthy? Look, unless you are growing your own stevia plant and grinding leaves to produce the extract (which isn't a horrible idea, just impractical for many), what you are using is processed in some way and therefore cannot be considered healthy like say a carrot, or a bunch of kale. What you have to do in a situation like this is weigh the cost vs benefit; ie can you live without sweets. If not, continually spiking your blood sugar causing a whack of unhealthy consequences compliments of sugar is definitely less healthy than it is to use a few sprinkles of a stevia here and there. This makes it healthy-er.
Personally, I am a huge fan of pure maple syrup, raw honey, and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar even has the distinction of being low in the glycemic index.
How does stevia compare to artificial sweeteners? Simple: stevia comes from a plant, and artificial sweeteners are created in a plant - a toxic sh#t storm so to speak. You could not pay me to drink or eat anything that has artificial sweeteners in it. There have been a couple of occasions in the past where I have accidentally taken a sip or bite of something that was 'sugar free' and immediately spit it out - the taste is hard to miss and horrible!
Artificial sweeteners (think Sweet & Low, Equal, Nutrasweet, Splenda) can be found in anything 'diet' while doing the farthest thing from actually helping with what they are marketed for. Below I have included the 5 top reasons to AVOID artificial sweeteners.
are formed by conscious choices that soon become unconscious ways of life. The good news is you have full control over this!
Lynnel is a Holistic Nutritionist, Director of the NutraPhoria School of Holistic Nutrition, Author, and Motivational Speaker. Click HERE to learn more.
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