The Drawbacks of Aspartame and Sucralose
Aspartame, the sweetener found in such items as Crystal Light, and sucralose, better known as the popular sweetener Splenda, are household names, thanks to the burgeoning interest in low-carb, low-calorie sweeteners.
However both these sweeteners and others also contain a number of chemicals and artificial ingredients that can be ultimately harmful. That is why more health practitioners, nutritionists, and those seeking to live a healthy lifestyle are switching to Stevia.
Stevia: An All-Natural Sweetener with Numerous Health Benefits
Stevia is an all-natural sweetener that contains no chemicals or other unpronounceable ingredients, and is actually much sweeter than sugar and other sweeteners as well, and so can be used sparingly.
Health Benefits for Diabetics
More importantly, stevia is a healthier alternative to other sweeteners, as it contains no calories and a zero glycemic index. An ideal choice for diabetics, stevia is becoming increasingly recommended for those suffering from diabetes.
The Impact of Stevia on Blood Sugar and Overall Health
Derived from a South American shrub, Stevia is recommended for anyone with diabetes, as well as those looking for natural, low-carb, low-calorie sweetener solutions. Stevia is also considered healthy for other reasons, but most importantly for diabetics, stevia stimulates the release of insulin and normalizes the response to glucose, particularly in type 2 diabetes, and is also used a therapeutic remedy for hyperglycemia.
Used in South America to help lower blood sugar in diabetics, further studies are ongoing, and seem to prove that the anti-diabetic properties of stevia can also help to reduce blood pressure and control blood sugar levels, as well as improve muscle tone and the health of the heart.
Precautions and Considerations
Because stevia can lower blood sugar, individuals also taking insulin and other medications for diabetes should consult a doctor first before using stevia, and check their blood sugar levels often while using stevia. Essentially an herbal product, it is not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women, or those on other medications that can react with herbal products. You should consult your pharmacist, doctor, or health practitioner about using stevia while on other medications.
Stevia as a Dietary Supplement
Because it has not yet been approved by the FDA for use in the United States as a food additive, it is more commonly found in health food stores as a dietary supplement. It is usually found in a powder form, though a liquid supplement is available as well. The health community and diabetics are both anxiously awaiting the approval of Stevia as an additive, rather than just as a dietary supplement.
Because it has little to no effect on blood glucose, it would prove extremely beneficial to diabetics, enabling them to enjoy many food products without having to worry about adverse effects. It has already been utilized widely in other countries, such as Japan and China, for decades.
Stevia – Based Recipe Options for Diabetics
Completely natural, although it cannot officially be sold as a sweetener in the United States yet, there are in fact a number of recipe books available using Stevia as an ingredient, with diabetic recipes in mind. These books include Diabetic Recipes, No Fuss Diabetes Recipes, and Sugar-Free Cooking with Stevia.
Using Stevia, those suffering from diabetes will now be able to enjoy many delicious, healthy balanced meals again, while managing their diabetes with a perfect assortment of weekly recipes.