Stevia has been used as a traditional remedy for diabetes and gum disease among the indigenous people of Paraguay and other South American countries for over 1,500-recorded years.
Scientific studies show stevia may indeed improve the function of cells in the pancreas required for insulin production, and may also improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.
According to the generations of people who have used stevia as a part of their daily diet, stevia has been proven to regulate blood sugar and has been used for decades as a treatment for diabetes and gum disease.
And, that’s not all.
Unlike other sweeteners, stevia has been shown to possess anti-viral activity, blood pressure lowering properties, and may be a useful treatment for hypertension.
I provided a list of stevia safety studies performed around the world, and stevia users are experiencing these positive side effects to their benefit.
Outside the USA
After years of political scrutiny and stonewalling in Europe, October 2004, the European Commission approved stevia use as a sweetener. For decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required any product made with stevia to be labeled only as a dietary supplement, and you could not refer to stevia in the US as a sweetener or sugar substitute in any way.
Finally, on December 17, 2008, the USA decided to follow the global crowd, and the FDA finally approved purified stevia as a food additive.
No other country in the world uses the huge amounts of sugar and sugar substitutes that American consumers use. People who have used stevia for generations in South America, Japan, China and Indonesian countries use much less sugar or artificial sweeteners than modern Americans use.
We pour it on!
Tips To Avoid Bitterness
Many people complain that stevia is bitter, but that is an easy problem to fix. Don’t use too much.
It’s the same as seasoning a tomato with too much salt or pepper, or using too much garlic or oregano on lasagna. Start off slowly and add more, as you “taste test.”
- Try one-quarter the amount of stevia for one full serving of sugar or one packet of artificial sweetener.
- Try different brands of stevia; some are milder tasting than others.
- Stevia is much sweeter than Equal(TM) and the other chemical sweeteners, so use significantly less than you might think is necessary. The bitterness is usually a result of using too much.
The need to keep testing a natural sweet herb like stevia seems ridiculous to me, especially when toxic sweeteners, like aspartame, are allowed to remain on the market. But, the competition for profits will always be there. As long as pure stevia is available to buy in health food markets, I recommend buying it, working with it, and developing a taste for it.
Remember, the key to eating or drinking anything, whether chemical foods or one hundred percent natural, is to be moderate in your use. Buy stevia that is as close to the plant as possible because the less humans have “messed with it” – the better!
Stevia may not be for everyone, but at least it IS a healthy choice.