Stevia May Benefit Diabetics

Sugar substitutes are big business. In 2016, the global market was valued at 13.7 billion dollars. However, despite the demand, concerns about health have dogged the industry since saccharin, the first sugar substitute, was considered a possible carcinogen in 1960, ten years after its introduction.

Although saccharin is still in use, it has been followed by a long string of other sugar substitutes, each defending itself as safe, while coming under suspicion of deleterious health effects.

Stevia, the latest entry to the field, has an advantage over most of the others: it is a natural product, derived from a shrub native to South America. Stevia contains compounds known as glycosides, which are approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar, and yet it has no calories.

One of the issues with all previous sweeteners is their effect on blood sugar. The sweetness itself has been found to raise blood sugar levels, regardless of the number of calories it has. This is an obvious problem since diabetics are a natural market for artificial sweeteners.

But stevia may resolve this problem. Both the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association have stated that Stevia can be beneficial for people with diabetes. Not only does it not harm diabetics, there is reason to believe it might help them.

A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 2016, determined that stevia leaf powder significantly lowered blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes, both while fasting and after eating. The participants in the study also experienced a reduction in their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Other research has suggested that stevia’s significant antioxidant properties are responsible for this effect.

Another study, published in the journal Science Direct, showed that stevia helped reduce liver and kidney damage in animals with diabetes.

Given that the FDA has already recognized stevia as safe, its potential benefit to diabetics may give artificial sweeteners a good name – and an even better value for health.

Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, takes a restorative approach to senior health, maximizing function and mobility in a positive and upbeat atmosphere. Part of the secret to our success is our expertise in creating food that is healthy and delicious. Our staff includes a master chef and a group of culinary experts who work with registered dietitians to prepare healthful, delicious meals. We even take care to serve our residents on fine china to ensure that our meals are as pleasing to the eye as they are tempting to the palate.

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