With several different non-nutritious sweeteners on the market today, it is sometimes difficult to separate the good from the bad. Today, we break down all you need to know about stevia rebaudiana, the natural sweetener used in CF Nutrition’s products.
What is Stevia?
In short, stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener with an intensely sweet taste that is recognized by the FDA (and other authorities) as safe to consume. Although the research is ongoing, there may be potential health benefits to consuming stevia. Our CF products use stevia rebaudiana as a natural way to sweeten our products. This makes our products delicious but without added sugar.
The Origin of Stevia Rebaudiana:
Stevia comes from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni native to Paraguay and Brazil. It is grown in Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, and China. The leaves are harvested, dried, water extracted and purified to produce stevia. Stevia has been around for centuries and became available in the United States in the 1990s. The stevia plant is cultivated in several countries, and stevia sweetener has been approved for use in more than 150 countries for food and beverages.
Stevia Rebaudiana Use & Safety:
Zero-calorie sweeteners, like stevia, offer a simple and effective way to reduce calories and sugar in the diet. Due to the increased push by authorities to reduce added sugar to 10% of total calories (and even 5% for further benefits), low-calorie sweeteners have grown in popularity over the recent years. Multiple global regulatory bodies have determined that high-purity stevia extract consumed at the recommended level is safe for the general population. Studies have been done to test the Acceptable Daily Intake of stevia for adults, which has been established as 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Studies have also been done to test the safety of stevia in pregnant women. No adverse reproductive or developmental effects were observed. It has been determined that food and beverages with the approved amount of stevia are safe for all individuals including children, pregnant women, and nursing women.
Stevia gets its sweetness naturally and therefore is a good choice for those who prefer naturally sourced foods. There has been no demonstrated effect from stevia use on weight gain, increased appetite, or increased blood pressure. Replacing sugar with stevia can help maintain or lose weight. When added sugars are consumed, weight gain may be evident, so stevia is a great way to help manage or lose weight without forgoing taste. Stevia is also unlikely to cause any allergic reaction. When stevia is highly purified and used in moderation, it does not cause side effects. Stevia is safe for children and can be an excellent alternative for reducing their intake of excess calories and added sugars.
Does Stevia Cause Cancer?
Sometimes we hear people say artificial sweeteners cause cancer. Luckily, stevia is not a synthetic, artificial ingredient as it is derived from a plant. Studies have been done to test the relationship between stevia and cancer, and there was no increased risk for cancer observed in connection with stevia intake. Actually, it has been found that stevia contains sterols and antioxidant compounds, specifically a beneficial antioxidant called kaempferol that is known to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23%.
Can you consume stevia if you have diabetes?
YES! Stevia does not have any adverse effects on blood glucose management, and it has been deemed safe for use for both Type 1 and 2 diabetics. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association all currently have positions that support the use of stevia. There are no carbohydrates in stevia, and it does not influence blood glucose or insulin response. Therefore, people with diabetes can use stevia as a sweetener while still complying with their diet. One clinical trial even showed that stevia reduces blood glucose and glucagon response after a meal, although further research is necessary to state that stevia lowers blood glucose conclusively.
The Bottom Line
Stevia is a naturally-sourced, safe alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners to achieve a sweet taste while minimizing sugar carbohydrates in our diet. There is no known relationship between stevia intake and cancer, weight gain, allergic reactions, or hyperglycemia. In fact, stevia may pose potential health benefits including lowering blood pressure, lowering blood glucose, and decreasing risk for certain cancers. There is also no evidence to support that stevia increases appetite for sugar or sweet products.
Ready to purchase your CF Nutrition drink today? Don’t forget to fuel yourself and your family with clean, clinical replenishment. You can order CF (Preop)® here, CF(Rehydrate)® here, or CF (Protein)® here. And, as always, browse the rest of the CF Nutrition blog for empowering health, wellness, and lifestyle tips.