Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Stevia and Diabetes


Stevia is a genus of about 150 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America. Stevia commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar.

With its extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Stevia also has shown promise in medical research for treating such conditions as obesity and high blood pressure. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance; therefore, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.

Rebiana is the trade name for a stevia-derived sweetener being developed jointly by The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill with the intent of marketing in several countries and gaining regulatory approval in the US and EU. You can find stevia in most health-food stores and some supermarkets.

Safety Concerns. Stevia is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement and not as a food or food additive. In 1994 the USDA gave permission to manufacturers to market stevia as a food supplement. SOme foreign studies have found decreased sperm production in mice after being administered stevia, however there is no evidence that stevia is harmful to humans.

Sources:
  1. ^ PubMed research articles related to treatments of obesity
  2. ^ PubMed research articles on stevia's effects on blood pressure
  3. ^ PubMed articles on stevia's use in treating hypertension
  4. ^ Curi, R; Alvarez M, Bazotte RB, Botion LM, Godoy JL, Bracht A (1986). "Effect of Stevia rabaudiana on glucose tolerance in normal adult humans". Braz J Med Biol Res 19 (6): 771-4.
  5. ^ Gregersen, S; Jeppesen PB, Holst JJ, Hermansen K (January 2004). "Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects". Metabolism 53 (1): 73-76.
More information on diabetes management and sugar control at Diabetes and Sugar Management

2 comments:

sweet said...

I have been doing some research on Stevia, to learn more about it and I don't think there is another product out there to be more excited about. There are always those negative reports (on most anything and everything) from food to politics if you look for them. I saw the mice and hamster reports on Stevia. The truth is that they gave the poor little amimals almost their entire body weight full of Stevia! Think about that... It's just not realistic to consider that kind of a report. I read a report called "The Diabetic's Dream". That's what Stevia is. It is a natural herb with 0 calories and a glycemic index of 0 and yes....... 0 Carbs! In an effort to find a sugar replacement without chemicals, which are found in all of the other replacements, Stevia is a dream. Personally, I've been most fond of the products found at SweetLeaf.com. There Stevia in the packets for quick and easy use, also shakers that are used for baking and then there are the heavenly liquid flavors! Oh my gosh! They are the best! They can satisfy anyone's sweet tooth! You can use them in coffee, tea, yogurt, water, cereal, pancake batter........ Ok, I think I've made my point, and I believe that I am rambling on a bit. Just one more line.... If you are a diabetic or just wanting a sugar replacment or a way to curb your sweet tooth - I have found Stevia is the answer. God gave us the answer in a leaf!

Larry said...

Hi Sweet;

I couldn't agree with you more. I use Stevia primarily in my green tea. It is a great combination.

Thanks for the reference for our readers.

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