Stevia, which is a very popular sweetener has an important role in the practice of healthcare. Some research studies have shown that Stevia works well in diet plans designed for those with chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes.
A study was done on the effects of Stevia on CKD (chronic kidney disease) patients for 3 months of treatment along with antihypertensive and anti-diabetic medications.
As a result, hypertension and diabetes were both associated with CKD and in the majority of the participants who used Stevia and were in CKD Stage II, big changes were found in Serum creatinine, Serum Uric acid, fasting blood sugar and postprandial blood sugar and Microalbumin levels. These results show that Stevia can significantly improve the biochemical parameters in patients with CKD.
What are the main differences between Stevia and sugar?
- Sugar is derived from sugar cane, stevia comes from a member of the chrysanthemum family.
- Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar in its regular form, and nearly 300 times sweeter once the refining process has taken place.
- Just a teaspoon of sugar is 15 calories. These calories are all carbohydrate, without any nutritive value.
- Stevia doesn’t have any calories and in several studies has been noted for releasing a digestive enzyme which was beneficial to diabetics along with providing greater satiety than sugar when used as an alternative in similar food products.
Since Stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, you need a lot less of it in recipes or just to sweeten a drink and less is always better. Compare the next time you’re planning on making a sweet recipe. Often, baked goods will call for a cup or so of sugar.
There are three kinds of Stevia and each one has different qualities you should be aware of:
- Green Leaf Stevia. This type of Stevia is the most minimally processed variety, with leaves being dried and then ground to powder. Green Leaf Stevia is approximately 15 times sweeter than sugar and features of combination of rebaudiosides and steviosides.
- Purified Stevia Extracts. Rebaudiosides, the chemical compounds in Stevia responsible for its potent sweet taste, are present here in a pure form. The FDA mandates purified extracts be comprised of 95% or more of this substance, although they are a little more processed than the Green Leaf variety, they still feature comparable benefits.
- Altered Stevia Blends. These Stevia blends are the least healthy choice and are much more processed with the use of chemical solvent blends which means they only feature a small fraction of the actual plant, while also possibly exposing you to dangerous chemical additives. Avoid!
If you were using Stevia instead, you’d only need one teaspoon. That’s a huge difference which can definitely add up and prevent some of the cardiovascular and weight issues, dental health issues and kidney-health related issues that are often so associated with excessive sugar consumption.
Not only that, but there are a lot of other ways that substituting Stevia for sugar can be potentially beneficial for your health. Chiefly:
- Anti-Cancer Properties Stevia could potentially decease the contributing factors within the body that lead to cancer growth, especially with breast cancer.
- Diabetic Benefits. It goes without saying that Stevia is a much healthier option for diabetics who are advised to avoid sugar consumption as much as possible.
- Lowers High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. Compared to sugar, Stevia can help you avoid spikes in unhealthy cholesterol and hypertension that sugar contributes to.
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