Stevia, Sweet Low Calorie Sugar Substitute

The taste is sweeter and contains no calories, making stevia begin to be looked at to be used as a substitute for ordinary sugar. Stevia can be used for people with certain diseases who are advised to limit consumption of sugar in the daily diet.

An instant lifestyle makes many people choose fast food and drinks without being aware of the sugar content in them. Though excess sugar intake is associated with various diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, toothache, and heart disease. Important to know, the limit on sugar intake for men is 37 grams or 9 teaspoons per day. Whereas for women as much as 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day.

Replacing Granulated Sugar with Stevia

Stevia is an artificial sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Stevia tastes sweet thanks to the content of steviol glycosides in it. These compounds make stevia taste 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose or ordinary sugar.

Because it tastes much sweeter, stevia does not need to be used in too many amounts as a sweetener in food or drinks. For example if you are accustomed to adding 2 teaspoons of sugar as a sweetener in coffee or tea, with stevia you just use 1 teaspoon to get a sweet taste.

Although much sweeter when compared with ordinary sugar, stevia does not contain calories. Even if there is, it usually comes from other food ingredients mixed in it. For comparison, in one teaspoon of ordinary sugar (about 40 grams) there are 16 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates, while in 1 teaspoon of stevia there are 0 calories and there is only 1 gram of carbohydrate.

Benefits of Stevia for Health

Here are some of the possible benefits of stevia that we can take:

1. Good for diabetes

Besides not containing carbohydrates and calories, stevia also can improve the body's performance in processing glucose (blood sugar) by increasing insulin production.

Research shows that blood sugar levels after eating in diabetics are also reported to be reduced when consuming stevia. Several other studies state that the possibility of replacing ordinary sugar with stevia can reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

2. Help reduce weight

Because stevia does not contain calories, total daily calorie intake will decrease if you replace sugar intake with stevia. This method can help you maintain or reduce weight, provided you do not overeat.

3. Lowering blood pressure

Substances in stevia extract can reduce blood pressure, if consumed regularly. However, research to prove this benefit has not shown consistent results.

4. Prevent the risk of kidney disease

The habit of eating foods that are too sweet can increase the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Both of these diseases can lead to kidney disease.

Based on a study, stevia is thought to be effective in reducing the risk of kidney disease because it can help prevent diabetes and high blood pressure. Even this research states that stevia is a better sweetener alternative for patients with kidney failure.

Until now, stevia has been proven safe for consumption. However, you should still pay attention to your daily food and beverage intake, so that the amount of sugar and calories consumed is not excessive.

Keep in mind, eating sugar-free foods does not mean you are free of calories. Calories can be obtained from other ingredients in these foods or drinks. In addition, it is not enough to only rely on stevia, without leading a healthy lifestyle.

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