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How Is Natural Stevia Diabetes Friendly?

When you get the diagnosis that you have diabetes, one of the first things you’re told is that you will need to monitor how much sugar you are consuming. Good news is natural stevia is diabetes friendly. As this condition becomes your new reality, the more challenging it becomes to recognize what is good and what is bad for you. With the multitude of different sugars on the market today it can become confusing and you may be eating sugar without even knowing it. But what about no calorie sweeteners, are these diabetic friendly?

A very popular naturally-derived-no-sugar-zero-calorie sweetener is Stevia. Stevia is a South American plant native to Paraguay, that has been used to sweeten beverages and make tea for many centuries. Research has shown that the natural stevia plant was used by indigenous people to sweeten medicines and foods, prior to the 16th century. Due to its sweet taste and flavor enhancing abilities, the natural stevia plant was used more than 200 years ago. Needless to say, it has been used for a very long time!

It is a delicious sweetener alternative which can help you stay within the recommended guidelines for daily added or hidden sugars. So, what about this sweetener makes it so great? There are other sweeteners that have the same claim, what’s the difference?

Natural Stevia – Nutritional Facts

Sifting natural stevia
Photographer: Evan Hein | Source: Unsplash

Stevia is not artificially made to make it have no calories and still give you the same sweet taste like other no calorie sweeteners. Natural stevia contains no carbohydrates and has a glycemic index of zero. This is incredible compared to other sugars like glucose, sucrose, honey, coconut sugar and agave sugar, which have glycemic indexes that range from 15-100.

It is this glycemic index that makes a difference in how our body processes and stores it. A glycemic index is an indicator of how fast sugar will be absorbed into the body. The higher the glycemic index the faster it gets digested, the faster is causes blood sugar and insulin to quickly rise. Since stevia does not have a glycemic index you do not have to worry about it raising blood sugar and insulin levels and you eliminate the side effects that come from consuming artificial sweeteners.

Stevia is Not an Artificial Sweetner

cooking with natural stevia
Photographer: Edgar Castrejon | Source: Unsplash

Stevia has shown to suppress your plasma glucose levels and significantly increase glucose tolerance. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners, are expressed as saying that they are “diabetic friendly” or “sugar-free”, when they are not. Research has found that artificial sugars can interfere with your body’s control of sweetness. This means that it can confuse your brain into wanting more, almost like an addiction. When this confusion occurs, your body will send signals telling you to eat more. This is where the term, sugar addiction, is becoming such an epidemic today. With sugar in virtually what seems like everything, we are consistently consuming it which is altering what our bodies crave.

Because of artificial sugars damaging mechanism, they only increase a person’s risk for diabetes, glucose intolerance and weight gain. Not so “diabetic friendly” now!

Comparing stevia to the harmful effects of artificial sugars, stevia does not contribute calories or carbohydrates to the diet and does not affect blood glucose or insulin response, which means stevia is safe and appropriate for use by people with diabetes. Stevia and it’s zero calorie makeup, is used in many food products and beverages. This will automatically lower the amount of calories of the item as well, which is a bonus.

With the growing popularity of stevia, it will continue to be more commonly found and utilized in recipes as well. With the science that has been conducted on stevia and the results, it is no wonder that stevia is diabetic friendly. Whether you are diabetic or not, this is a great substitute to add into your lifestyle. No calories, no glycemic index, does not lead to weight gain or detrimental health conditions and it tastes delicious, why not give natural stevia – the natural sugar a try and reek the benefits yourself.

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