Stevia's Impact on Blood Sugar LevelsHEALTH 

Stevia’s Impact on Blood Sugar Levels

How stevia may aid in blood sugar regulation

Since stevia, which is derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, is 250 times sweeter than sugar and has nearly no calories, using it to sweeten your foods and beverages can help you burn off a lot of calories. However, some stevia preparations may have a different impact on your blood sugar levels than others.

The several ways to prepare stevia

Stevioside and rebaudioside A are the stevia plant’s most extensively researched components. Only stevia products made from purified rebaudioside A, rather than products made from whole stevia leaves or unprocessed stevia extracts, have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of concerns about how these products will impact your heart, reproductive system, kidneys, and blood sugar levels.

Blood Sugar Impact

Your blood sugar won’t increase if you consume stevia, and in some cases, it may even decrease it. Stevioside had a dose-dependent impact on blood sugar levels, according to a 2005 Planta Medica study. Stevioside reduced insulin resistance and blood glucose levels in diabetic rats. Although this research is still in its early stages and FDA-approved stevia products for use in food don’t include stevioside, the majority of stevia products you can find in grocery stores’ baking aisles won’t have this impact on your blood sugar levels.

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In contrast to Other Sweeteners

Research comparing the effects of preloads before meals containing stevia in the form of stevioside to those containing aspartame or table sugar was published in Appetite in August 2010. Participants who took the stevia and aspartame preloads didn’t eat more or less during the day than those who took a preload made of table sugar, although they did take in a few fewer calories because stevia and aspartame are lower in calories than sugar. Despite the fact that aspartame tasted better to study participants than stevia, stevia lowered after-meal blood glucose levels and insulin levels whereas aspartame only did so.

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Additional Considerations

Even stevia varieties that the FDA has usually deemed to be safe should be used sparingly. Stevia’s negative side effects can include nausea and a feeling of fullness in addition to its impact on your insulin and blood sugar levels. Stevia may be more expensive than sugar and the majority of other artificial sweeteners, and some people find that it leaves a harsh or medicinal aftertaste, especially in coffee and lemonade.

Stevia has gained popularity as a healthier substitute for sugar among those who are choosing to do so, especially those who have diabetes. The natural, calorie-free sweetener has been linked to studies that suggest it may aid in blood sugar regulation, but up until now, it has not been apparent how it does this.

Stevia activates the TRPM5 protein, which is linked to taste perception, according to research from the UK and Belgium. Additionally, this protein contributes to the post-meal release of the hormone insulin.

The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at KU Leuven in Belgium and study co-author Koenraad Philippaert claim that their discoveries may pave the way for brand-new treatments for type 2 diabetes.

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The study’s findings were just published in the journal Nature Communications.

Stevia is a sweetener made from the leaves of the South American-native Stevia rebaudiana plant, also known as sweetleaf.

Stevia is frequently used as a sugar substitute in diet soda, candies, yogurt, desserts, and other foods and beverages since it is 200–400 times sweeter than table sugar.

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Stevia targets sweet-tasting and insulin-secreting proteins.

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In moderation, the plant-based sweetener is usually regarded as safe for diabetics, and earlier studies have suggested that stevia may potentially help reduce blood sugar levels.

However, the processes underlying stevia’s beneficial impact on blood sugar levels are still poorly understood. The goal of Philippaert and colleagues’ latest study was to provide some clarification.

Researchers discovered that stevia activates TRPM5, a protein crucial for the experience of bitter, umami, and sweet tastes, in cell culture trials.

The steviol component of stevia, which activates TRPM5, intensifies the flavor sensation. This explains both stevia’s intense sweetness and bitter aftertaste, says Philippaert.

Additionally, after eating, TRPM5 stimulates the pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin. This promotes blood sugar control and delays the onset of type 2 diabetes.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either fails to generate enough insulin or the body is unable to use it properly. A poor diet is a typical contributor to type 2 diabetes.

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Takeaway

Even for those who are pregnant or have diabetes, Reb-A-based stevia products are regarded as safe. Side effects from these products are uncommon. To provide definitive data on weight control, diabetes, and other health conditions, further studies must be conducted.

You won’t need to use as much since stevia is considerably sweeter than table sugar.

Although whole-leaf stevia hasn’t been given the go-ahead for commercial use, you can still cultivate it at home. Despite the paucity of data, many individuals contend that whole-leaf stevia is a safe substitute for either table sugar or its highly refined counterpart.

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While occasionally putting a raw stevia leaf into a cup of tea is unlikely to hurt you, you shouldn’t use it if you’re expecting it.

Ask your doctor’s permission before frequently using whole-leaf stevia until further research is done to discover whether it is safe for everyone to use, especially if you have a serious medical condition like diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.

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