We know that sugar and certain other sweeteners which are on the market these days can work to raise blood glucose levels; this can even include naturally occurring sweetening products, such as honey. For those with diabetes, this is not good news at all. If you crave sweet touch to your tea or coffee, or even your meals, finding a suitable product to add in can be difficult, while trying to maintain good diabetes control. Enter Stevia!
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a naturally occurring product, which is derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana herb, a green, leafy plant that is native to South America. The plant has been used for medicinal purposes. Once this is extracted, it is used to add that much-wanted sweet touch to food and drink, and is suitable for diabetics, because it doesn’t have an adverse reaction to blood glucose levels, and doesn’t cause them to rise or spike, like sugar and other sweeteners can.
Whole or crushed stevia leaves are available in the market. However, the refined stevia sweeteners, found in grocery stores, has a different form compared to the whole stevia plant.
stevia leaves contain 2 sweet compounds, Stevioside and Rebaudioside (Stevia is about 10% stevioside), this substance is between 30 and 320 times sweeter than sugar.
Many diabetic persons have been tricked into believing that another sweetener called Truvia, is equivalent to Stevia. Truvia is a mix of three ingredients, one of which, Rebiana, is extracted from stevia leaves (only 1%).
How Can Stevia Help With Diabetes Control?
If you are a diabetic person, who have a preference for eating sweet things, you will be aware of the struggle in finding that level between the correct sweetness and not affecting your blood glucose levels – if this sounds like your struggle then you could benefit from finding out a little more about Stevia.
Elevated blood pressure is a warning sign that can lead to many devastating diseases, such as, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Oral supplement made from stevioside,a natural glycoside isolated from the plant Stevia, can significantly decrease blood pressure, according to a study involving patients with mild hypertension.
There have been many studies which have gone into the suitability of Stevia and diabetes. The results on patients with type II diabetes were magnificent. Stevia is beneficial to glucose regulation, the plant is responsible in reducing both blood sugar and insulin levels. This is due to the improvement of the hormone insulin function.
The general consensus is that when consumed in moderate amounts, it should have no detrimental effect on blood glucose control, for all types of diabetes. Great news!
Stevia and Diabetes weight Control
We know that more than 80 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. Stevia is very low in calories. This is a good strategy that can help people manage calorie intake.
Stevia is a highly recommended ingredient for those who are struggling with obesity and diabetes without sacrificing taste, because it doesn’t provoke weight gain. Stevia leafs helps reduce appetite and cravings for sweet food in order to achieve a healthy weight.
Stevia And Diabetes. Many Health Benefits Too!
Stevia plant is packed with many vitals minerals, vitamins including chromium and magnesium. On top of being a great alternative to blood glucose-raising sugar products and sweeteners, Stevia has been found to have other health benefits.
Stevia is rich in antioxidants. it can reduce risk of pancreatic cancer by 23%. Being a non-carbohydrate sweetener, stevia could resolve problems like, tooth decay, and sugar addiction. Also, some studies say that stevia may reduce inflammation.
so overall Stevia is a great choice to add to a diabetic diet.
How Can You Use Stevia?
Stevia products comes in different forms, powder and liquid. For less aftertaste, try the powder. It’s worth mentioning that some Stevia products may be blended with different types of sweetening agents, so it’s a good idea to always check labels before jumping into use. For example, the liquid types contain alcohol.
On the whole however, pure Stevia is calorie-free, so it can help as part of a weight loss program when you use it as a sugar replacement, and is perfect for adding to hot and cold drinks. If you regularly like to add sugar to your tea, but you know this is not useful for your diabetic control, change to Stevia instead and you will get the same sweet kick, without the detrimental effects.
Stevia can also be used in cooking when a sweetening agent is required, so again this is a great substitute for sugar.
You will know from experience that just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a sweet tooth, and crave a sweet touch to your hot drinks in particular.
If this is your problem, then Stevia could be the ideal option for you, without causing problems with your diabetes control. So, could stevia and diabetes be friends?