Why I Quit Stevia

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Read this post to learn the problems with stevia. It also debunks candida myths and gives a safer, healthier alternative to The Candida Diet.

Is stevia bad for you?

As you know, the transition to real food is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight. There are bumps in the road. It’s a learning process. One bump in my road toward healing? Stevia.

I’ll be honest… I previously used stevia with abandon, before I came to the conclusion that stevia does not support health. I added stevia to sweeten my tea and I occasionally I used it in desserts or baking, like my Coconut Flour and Stevia Zucchini Muffins.

I’ll admit: stevia is convenient. It dissolves instantly and works well in beverages or liquids. Further, because a little goes a long way, it is less expensive than many other sweeteners. But I’ve found that the cons outweigh the pros, and so I have quit stevia for good.

1. Stevia Taxes the Adrenals

Our bodies are not designed or evolved to handle calorie-free sweeteners–be it natural or artificial. Experiencing a sweet taste from a food that is not going to provide glucose confounds our body’s sugar-handling process. Kate, from one of my favorite health blogs Nutrition By Nature, explains how eating a sugar-free sweetener like stevia can trick the body into a state of hypoglycemia:

Stevia is “sweet” on the palate, so the body assumes it is receiving sugar and primes itself to do so. Glucose is cleared from the bloodstream and blood sugars drop, but no real sugar/glucose is provided to the body to compensate. When this happens, adrenaline and cortisol surge to mobilize sugar from other sources (liver and muscle glycogen, or protein, or body tissue) to bring blood glucose back up. (Source)

The frequent release of the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) in response to the stevia-induced hypoglycemia is damaging to our adrenal glands and overall health. These stress hormones are designed to be utilized when we need to be in a flight-or-fight response–not when we are eating a meal. The consequences of excess stress hormones means a suppressed immune system, increased inflammation, and lower thyroid function… just to name a few!

Stevia isn’t going to affect everyone’s blood sugar in the same way or to the same degree. Some folks can eat stevia without a blood sugar drop, but many people will experience this blood sugar drop and correlated stress hormone surge. If you want to check, buy a glucose meter and test your blood sugar before and after eating stevia. Plus, if you are eating stevia with another source of sugar or carbohydrate the blood sugar concerns will not be as harmful, since you are providing cells with some glucose in response to the sweet taste. But blood sugar isn’t the only issue I have with this sweetener.

2. Stevia often contains other ingredients

The issue of other additives exists because we use processed stevia, not pure stevia leaves. Obviously, if you have a pot of stevia leaves growing in your garden, you can ignore this point.

  • Glycerine: This is often found in liquid stevia extracts. Recently, I switched from my “natural” toothpaste to a homemade version to avoid glycerine. This solvent coats teeth and prevents the remineralizing process.
  • Natural flavors: a.k.a “this could be anything.”
  • Xylitol: Truvia is a popular sweetener made with stevia and xylitol. Although proponents bestow the title “natural” to this sweetener, I’ve never eaten Truvia because I’m not a fan of this uber-processed ingredient. Read this xylitol article at The Healthy Home Economist for more information.
  • Dextrose: On the SCD/GAPS diet, I can’t eat typical powdered stevia because it often contains dextrose which is usually corn-based. But even if you can eat corn, dextrose most likely contains GMO corn… not good for you or our planet.

3. Stevia is high in oxalates

If a leaky gut, food allergies, autism, asthma, kidney stones or arthritis is an issue for you, exploring a low-oxalate diet may boost your healing journey. I’ve already written a post about oxalates and why those on a grain free diet should particularly make themselves aware of this issue (read it HERE). This chart categorizes stevia in the Very High list for oxalates.

4. Stevia has an aftertaste

If you eat stevia, you know it has an aftertaste… and you do your best to convince yourself of the contrary. Raw honey (or pure maple syrup or sucanut or coconut sugar) tastes exorbitantly better. Period.

5. I’m not afraid of false Candida myths!

Many people favor stevia as a primary sweetener, because they are afraid of feeding Candida overgrowth. Stevia may not feed Candida, but going sugar free to address Candida overgrowth is a big mistake because it can lead to systemic candida overgrowth and severely impaired metabolism.

What is so wrong with the popular Candida Diet, a sugar-free diet that uses only stevia as a sweetener? I recently debunked candida myths and offered a safer, healthier alternative to the Candida Diet in my post Busted: Candida Myths.

 6. Stevia doesn’t support glycogen synthesis

Is it time to quit stevia?Many people choose stevia over natural sweeteners like fruit and honey, but this is not a good choice. Fruit and raw honey, in particular, are excellently balanced sources of glucose and fructose, providing the liver with building blocks to create glycogen (glucose stores). Stevia, however, does not support glycogen formation.

Why is glycogen so important? When blood sugar is low, glycogen is broken down and released as glucose in the bloodstream. When the diet lacks sufficient glucose, there will be inadequate glycogen stored. If sugar is not immediately ingested to raise blood sugar levels, the body releases extra adrenaline and cortisol to convert muscle protein and fat into glucose. If this pattern is repeated, the frequent release of these stress hormone takes a toll on the body… and one of the most manifest symptoms of excess cortisol is abdominal weight gain.

Additionally, the body cannot convert convert inactive thyroid hormone T4 into active thyroid hormone T3 without adequate glycogen. The resulting hypothyroidism leads to slowed metabolism–and that means a host of symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss and lack of energy. Without adequate dietary sugars, the body cannot create and store glycogen.

I love giving my body some fuel in the form of raw, unfiltered honey instead of nutrient-void stevia. I believe that a sugar-free diet is detrimental (and by “sugar free” I mean free of healthy sugars… there is nothing wrong with eliminating white sugar, agave nectar, and corn syrup from the diet!). See my post Sugar: Why Your Body Needs It to learn why natural sources of sugar are important to metabolism and healthy hormones.

7. Stevia molecules have a hormone structure

I’m not a scientist, but one nutrition scientist whom I greatly admire – Sarah Ballantyne - is strongly apprehensive of the hormonal structure of stevia molecules. According to Sarah,

Steviol glycosides are synthesized in the same pathway and end up being structurally very similar to the plant hormones gibberellin and kaurene.  This means that steviol glycosides have a hormone structure… There is evidence that steviol glycosides have contraceptive effects in both males and females.  In particular, one specific steviol glycoside, called stevioside, has been shown to have potent contraceptive properties in female rats, implying that stevia may have an impact on estrogen, progesterone or both.

While small and occasional consumption of stevia likely has little to no impact on general health, it should not be consumed on a regular basis especially by those with altered hormone balance and dysfunctional immune systems. (Read more)

Since I have an autoimmune disease and hormonal imbalance, I’ve given stevia the boot for good. I stick with my raw honey and whole fruits!

How do you feel about stevia? Do you love it, hate it or are you on the fence?












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Comments

  1. Bridget Costantino says

    Hi Lauren, this is an interesting post, and I have really used Stevia without any other addidives in it. You mentioned that when your body is lacking the proper glucose or when the glycogen stores are depleted, the body takes these from fat stores, but isn’t this a good thing for people who are looking to lose fat? For I have seen a lot of success of people who are very lean and have drastically reduced their sugar intakes.

    • says

      Hi Bridget, that’s a great question! Low carb/sugar free diets usually cause immediate and drastic weight loss because the body has to start breaking down muscle and fat. But this actually backfires in the long run, because it ends up drastically impairing thyroid function and that slows down metabolism. So even though there is some initial weight loss, it comes at the cost of slowing metabolism and long-term health consequences.

      The better solution, I think, is to eat balanced macronutrients (fat, carb, protein) at every meal to regulate blood sugar without driving up stress hormones. This will help boost metabolism. So eating healthy sources of sugar, as part of a balanced diet, will reduce inflammation and support long-term weight management by boosting thyroid activity and balancing hormones.

      • bridget costantino says

        Thank you Lauren for the reply, this is really interesting! Also, thank you for the website its awesome, I’m on it all the time, great stuff!

        • says

          Hey Lauren… I have a question about something you replied to Bridget about.

          I’m still new to really learning and understanding nutrition, and I’m a big fan of whole food eating. I’ve been reading a book on how to pair foods in a way that’s healthy, but will let you drop fat that your body doesn’t need without giving up the macronutrients our bodies need. It’s stance is that you shouldn’t combine fat and carbs in the same meal because your body will use some for energy then store the rest. It suggests that you either eat a meal that is high fat, high protein, low carb OR high carb (around 45g), high protein, low fat so that the body burns the fuel it’s given and once it’s out goes to the fat stores for more fuel instead of having so much that some ends up being stored. They say that if you combine fat and carbs with every meal (and many times snacks) you’re setting yourself up for health problems due to too much fuel needing to be put away all the time.

          I’m hoping that makes sense and wondering what your thoughts are on that. The book is pro low-fat dairy if you’re eating a high fat meal so you don’t get too many carbs from it as well as pro- stevia. They do talk about using raw honey and other natural sweeteners and raw, full-fat dairy… just only when you’re doing the high carb meals… never with the high fat meals.

          Anyway… again… I’m just wondering if that sounds crazy or makes sense. Thanks!!

          • says

            Interesting, I’ve not heard of that concept. It doesn’t really make sense to me… just because it sounds a bit “gimicky.” I mean, would our great grandmothers innately know to eat like that? I don’t think so. I really emphasize blood sugar regulation, because I think that is really foundational to energy and weight management. And blood sugar regulation, to me, entails eating balanced carbs, fats and proteins at each meal.

            Anyways, that is my two cents. I just love your site, by the way! I always look forward to your posts.

            • Sarah says

              What Lauren mentions sounds similar to stuff I’ve read about food combining. When I was initially healing my gut, these strategies really seemed to help my digestion. It is, however, a bit of a pain in the butt to follow all those rules all the time. What I have read as far as our ancestors eating this way, is that back when we were hunters and gatherers, we feasted mostly on one type of food at a time. We killed something and ate it or we picked berries and ate them, but we didn’t usually eat different kinds of food in one meal. Our bodies evolved eating this way, and are therefore most efficient when doing so. I have no idea about the validity of the science behind it, but from personal experience, it really helps simplify digestion and I always go back to it when I feel like I need to.

              Also, Lauren, I just discovered your site and am finding it wonderfully interesting. Thanks for being a great resource!

          • Amoreena says

            It makes sense, experientially. But, I wouldn’t say that it is all carbs. If I eat fats and vegetable based carbs, I lose weight. If I eat fats and grain based carbs, I gain weight. But, I can eat grains, without gaining weight, if I eliminate or drastically reduce fats.

      • Brandi says

        I call bs on, that is absolutely unture of low carbohydrate diets, study after study has shown that a low carbohydrate diet spares muscle tissue far better than any other diet. In fact a study done by our own carbohydrate loving government showed that low carbohydrate was the better of the two, balanced or low carb. I choose to amalgamate atkins, primal, whole foods, tradition diet into a far more balanced diet that what you seem to be suggesting It doesn’t surprise me to know that you have never heard of the concept that eating fat specifically with carbs does have a particularly fattening response. Even non low carb sources of information discuss this. Also guess what, before the 1960s and especially before 1910 it was common knowledge that if you wanted to keep a good figure you stayed away from starches and sweets. It wasn’t until a few morons decided that the law of thermodynamics was the most likely cause of weight gain, this bull about calories in calories out and since fat was higher in calories it is the most likely culprit to cut from the diet. By the way Lauren, Truvia is made with erythritol not xylitol.

        • Anna says

          haha I love your reference to thermodynamics… there is a section in my Thermo textbook that talks about how calories in and calories out determines your body composition, and I can never believe that a bunch of intelligent scientists actually believe this, because obviously your body’s chemistry is more complicated than that!

          • bob says

            Hi Anna, You may want to research the Ketogenic diet a little. This should explain a lot to you about carbs and fat. They actually used the Ketogenic diet in the early 1900′s before diabetic medication to reverse type 2 diabetes and reverse epilepsy. High fat , moderate protein and low carbs is the only way to get into Ketosis transition so your body relies its power on fat.. Check into the Inuit tribes. By the way you should never mix starchy carbs with protein or fat. The whole idea is to lower the burden off of your pancreas and hormones to be always raising blood sugar.. Most normal people can not handle more than a few grams of sugar at one time. Eat tons of MCTs and coconut oil, grass fed butter and other good fats and see if your body likes it… Mine does.

      • SANDRA DI MEGLIO says

        You say You have quit stevia because sweeteners even if they are natural or artificial the body can’t tell the difference and it will taste the sweetness and work against the body…then why do u say u can eat honey or coconut sugar…they are sweet…and coconut sugar has not been around long enough to say it is safe…so I personally will stick to stevia which has been around for hundreds of yrs without any problems, and being diabetic myself, it is the only thing that does not affect my blood sugar…and I have been using it for 15 yrs…

        • says

          I think you misunderstood my point. The sweetness does not work against the body IF the sweetness accompanies carbohydrates, because we are wired to get ready for incoming glucose when we taste sweet. Coconut sugar contains glucose and sweetness, just like foods we’ve been eating for thousands of years.

          • Keith Rapp says

            Even if that is true that the body is tricked by expecting a flood of glucose but is receiving none which in turns stresses the adrenals, thyroid, etc.. How many Americans do you know of that aren’t consuming enough sugar? Do you think people are only eating the Stevia? Of course they aren’t. There is more than enough sugar in the diet, unless you’re starving yourself.

        • marilee says

          TOTALLY agree! When you are diabetic honey and sweeteners like that wreck havoc on blood sugar readings. Natural, organic stevia alone is a God send for diabetics.

      • George H says

        Doesn’t seem low carb and sugar free are the same thing. Sugar is high in glycemic index, just bad for you. A good amount of crab with moderate and low glycemic index is a better option. So the “whole” idea.

        That also brings up another question. Using stevia won’t automatically confuse your digestive system, will it? Stevia AND low carb may. If you eat good quality carb and use stevia as a taste enhancer, do you not get 2 birds with one stone?

    • JMA MD says

      Although sweet taste oral stimulation of the brain to release insulin, cortisol, or other blood sugar altering hormones sounds probable, it doesn’t seem to hold true when tested. See the below study. Try using Google Scholar for your nutrition searches. The results are limited to peer reviewed scientific literature.

      Sweet taste: Effect on cephalic phase insulin release in men
      Physiology & Behavior
      Volume 57, Issue 6, June 1995, Pages 1089–1095

      Abstract
      To determine whether sweet-tasting solutions are effective elicitors of cephalic phase insulin release (CPIR) in humans, two studies were conducted using nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners as stimuli. Normal weight men sipped and spit four different solutions: water, aspartame, saccharin, and sucrose. A fifth condition involved a modified sham-feed with apple pie. The five stimuli were administered in counterbalanced order, each on a separate day. In study l, subjects tasted the stimuli for 1 min (n = 15) and in study 2 (n = 16), they tasted the stimuli for 3 min. Arterialized venous blood was drawn to establish a baseline and then at 1 min poststimulus, followed by every 2 min for 15 min and then every 5 min for 15 min. In both study 1 and stud) 2, no significant increases in plasma insulin were observed after subjects tasted the sweetened solutions. In contrast, significant increases in plasma insulin occurred after the modified sham-feed with both the 1 min and 3 min exposure. These results suggest that nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners in solution are not adequate stimuli for the elicitation of CPIR.

      • says

        I have to agree with JMA in that I am seeing very little research proven claims here. If you want a reason to be scared of stevia, i’d be more worried about something like this…

        Mutagenicity of steviol and its oxidative derivatives in Salmonella typhimurium TM677
        Terai T, Ren H, Mori G, Yamaguchi Y, Hayashi T.

        Abstract
        Stevioside is natural non-caloric sweetner isolated from Stevia rebaudiana BERTONI, which has been used as a non-caloric sugar substitute in Japan. Pezzuto et al. demonstrated that steviol shows a dose-dependent positive response in forward mutation assay using Salmonella typhimurium TM677 in the presence of metabolic activation system (Aroclor induced rat liver S9 fraction). Our studies were carried out to identify the genuine mutagenic active substance from among the eight steviol derivatives. Steviol indicate almost similar levels of mutagenicity under the presence of S9 mixture, as reported by Pezzuto et al. 15-Oxo-steviol was found to be mutagenic at the one tenth the level of steviol itself under the presence of S9 mixture. Interestingly, specific mutagenicity of the lactone derivative under the presence of S9 mixture was ten times lower than that of the lactone derivative without the addition of S9 mixture.

        Heres the full article
        https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/cpb/50/7/50_7_1007/_pdf

    • says

      Truvia is made with Erythritol, not xylitol. There is a big difference between the two polyols on a number of levels–however, both in reasonable amounts are safe, low glycemic, and have mild antioxidant capabilities. Stevia as used in Truvia, is a derivative of stevia called RebA. RebA is the sweeter less off taste portion of the plant.
      I never heard that stevia mimics a hormone in its molecular structure–would be interested in your sources.

  2. Michaela says

    I keep trying to like it, but I just don’t. Aftertaste makes me think artificial, even if it is natural. So yes, I have a bottle of stevia, but I don’t really use it. I was leery about the glycerin. I know how it’s used in traditional medicine, and it seems like something that should be avoided unless you need it. I’m thinking I’ll continue using my raw honey. I LOVE raw honey, and 2 Tbsp for 6 or 12 muffins hardly seems like “too much” sugar.

    • says

      Raw honey is truly a superfood on so many levels. Many folks choose stevia over honey because they don’t want the calories or natural sugars… but this really isn’t the healthiest choice.

      • Jane says

        All because honey is GAPS approved doesn’t make it healthy for everyone. I recently had allergy testing IgA, E, G and honey came back high. Honey especially raw is high in pollen, bacteria, antigens and fructose. Every time I eat more than one teaspoon of honey I feel like I’ve drunk Draino. Honey was never meant to be eaten in large amounts in cooking and desserts, it’s horrifying that children on the Autism spectrum are eating snacks full of honey. don’t worship at the alter of dietary cults, we all need to customise our diets to our individual needs.

        • keven says

          Your right , honey is not best for a lot of people , and nutritional ketosis is not unhealthy either… honey has a ton of fructose and that’s not ideal on blood sugar… study ketosis before you put untrue statements on the site

      • Nan says

        Stevia can be toxic to some. It is a vasodilator, lowering blood pressure and lowers blood sugar. I have found that each time I have ingested stevia I got extremely dizzy and nauseated. If you don’t need blood pressure lowered or blood sugar lowered you don’t need stevia. The processed, powdered stevia is altered from its natural state. If you want sweet, use raw honey or maple syrup or succanat or coconut sugar in moderation and at least you will be getting some nutritional value.

  3. J.J. Jamison says

    This whole sugar chapter baffles me. I am Type II Diabetic, and my take on sugar is to eliminate it. Its hard for me – I’ve been “using” some honey, maple syrup and or stevia – for various recipes…….and my M.D. says avoid carb’s and to remember that has healthy as fruit is – its heavy with fructose (carbs) …….and carbs are my “enemy” (so to speak). Natural /artificial sweetners – naturally ocuring sweetners…..Yikes! More anxiety……..

    • Dineen says

      I am sorry. I have to disagree with your doctor. I live with 2 diabetics. One is my 5-year-old daughter, the other is my 48-year-old husband. When I married my husband, I thought carbs were the enemy, but I quickly learned the opposite. Carbs are your fuel. You have to have fuel. You cannot live without it. Whether you are on supplemental insulin or not, you have to consume carbohydrates. Even when trying to reduce excess body fat (burn up and use stored carbohydrates) you need to consume carbs to “stoke the furnace” so to speak of your digestion and metabolic breakdown of those fats. You just cannot consume carbohydrates in the same way as the typical American diet and without fat and protein in the same meal. You can choose fruits that are not so “sugary” by using either the glycemic index or lists like the SCD.

      • Christine Germain says

        Actually, you don’t need carbs to live. Fat is a much more efficient fuel for your body and brain to run on. Fats are what humans ate for much of their existence. One should consume fats, protein and a minimal amount of carbohydrates.

        • DREW says

          For much of humanity, most people were lucky to live to thirty. Also, you’re suggesting that our ancestors didn’t eat fruit and vegetables?

          • Brandi says

            Only because a lack of medical care and the inherent dangers of living in the wild, you know elements and being low on the food chain. Those who got past that have been know to live into their sixties or longer, the only reason you think that is because the numbers given to us by the anthropology people includes deaths from children and from those who died from attack or illness. Infant mortality was high because of the environs we lived in. Maybe you should look farther than antho 101 or the blurb you got in history. No our ancestors mainly didn’t, and honestly the fruit they had is not the high fructose loaded fruits we eat now. We have over the last several thousands of years manipulated fruits to produce more and more fructose. Fructose which is digested by the liver in the same capacity as alcohol, ie you can get fatty liver from the over consumption of fructose. Also most of the veggies we ate were tubers and not a lot, only what we could find. Even then the preference was for meat, our digestive system is more akin to a carnivores system than and omnivores. We do not contain the right enzymes t break down the plants into the essential fatty acids that we need so we consume the fats from the animal that can. We ate the brains, hearts and other organs, and often left the low fat muscle meat for the scavengers. Only in hard times would we have chosen fruits, vegetable and the nuts we could find, as my boyfriend points out, he can easily see and find more animal that foods fit for human consumption. He worked this summer fighting wild fires, out 2 weeks at a time when he made this observation.

        • Sabina says

          I’m unsure where the info “you don’t need carbs to live” came from. Your body need 3 things to fuel itself: carbs, protein, and fat. Everything we eat breaks down into these 3 types of fuel. Carbs are the MOST important because the brain can only utilize glucose for energy. Have you every seen a diabetic go into diabetic ketoacidosis because they don’t have enough carbs? Yeah…I have. I’m a doctor. All 3 food sources are important in their own way. Cutting out any one of them is DETRIMENTAL to the body. Whole foods all the way.

          • Brandi says

            ketoacidosis doesn’t come about from that, type one diabetics get into that stage because they don’t produce insulin, most people cannot get that far. Your body can produce glucose from protein if need be, but other than that your liver also produces glucose from other sources. Carbohydrates are the only macro nutirent that isn’t essential to life. You are not a doctor, your body can and will use ketones, same goes with your brains. Doctors are not taught nutrition anyhow so how is it that you feel the need to throw that in there. Oh im smarter than you because im a Doctor, that means squat no matter what you study for to be one. Why don’t you go back to school or at least look at the newer data on that. Whole foods my butt, i don’t know anyone who goes out and eats a stalk of wheat, not that they could. You shouldn’t be a doctor, your a danger to most peoples health. Diabetes is hardly a preferred state yet insuln overload puts you in danger and slowly kills you in the worst ways possible. Explain the Inuits to me, they did just fine eat none to very little carbs and thrived in a harsh environment. Our bodies were designed to do without even now when we don’t need them we just eat and eat and eat them and the only thing we get is chronic diseases. Take your mid century knowledge and utter stupidity elsewhere.

            • Ary says

              Brandi, you have some valid points in your comments, but then you also seem to have a lot of strong opinions, and a lot of them are not supported by scientific evidence. What exactly is your background that makes you so qualified, and what are the sources you are basing your opinions on that makes you so superior to everyone else? Anyone who claims to “know” better than anyone else should be the one going back to get an education.

            • Anna says

              While I’m not a fan of the manner in which you expressed your opinions, you are correct, we do not need carbs to live on. because finding fruit was rare for ancient humans, our bodies evolved to use the sugar extremely efficiently, meaning we hardly need any at all to survive with full brain function. What we do need we can get from veggies and the occasional fruits very easily.

            • Gloria says

              I have to say, Brandi, I think you could use a little more education on the subject of manners. That said, I 100% agree with you. I have worked in the medical/alternative medicine field for many years and have done extensive research. I can’t believe that someone could say that if someone thinks they know more than someone else they should go back to school. Yes, it really is possible for some people to know more than others. Whoever said that – do your own research, don’t just jump on someone because they contradict someone else. You want to know; take the time to research it, as Brandi did. Also, re doctors’ education – this information is far beyond anything doctors study. If you don’t believe me, ask a doctor how many hours they spend learning nutrition or nutritional biochemistry during their years of study. They have to study this sort of thing on their own, but rarely do. Thankfully, more and more M.D.s are becoming aware of the falsehoods that abound in their own industry.

              By the way, Lauren – I love your site. Lots of great data. I really appreciate you!

        • indi says

          I think i should put out there that, everything you eat, including lettuce gets converted to glucose anyway because your body is clever enough to do so because our brains need glucose to function. So even if your just eating a beef stirfry on its own even without rice, all the ingredients convert to sugar so eating a cupcake sweetened with stevia wont hurt, it is also highly nutritious just as much as honey so its not an empty food just because it doesnt affect blood sugar.

      • Anna says

        Carbs are only your fuel when you are burning sugar for energy. Your body can also burn fat for energy, which is much healthier and will make you feel much better. As long as you consume the carbs though, you will continue burning sugar for fuel. (i am not including veggies as carbs here because obviously you need to eat veggies for other reasons such as fiber and nutrients, I mean starchy carbs like grains potatoes etc)

    • Nurse Cynthia says

      Wow, Every thing you put in your mouth can be turned into energy. If you eat/drink more than you use then it is stored at FAT. Carbohydrates are not good or bad. Some are simple (sugar, pasta etc.), some are complex (fruit, green veggies, (fiber) etc.). If you are not a fat or protein then you are a carbohydrate. :) the complex carbs hit your bloodstream more slowly and result in a smaller insulin increase. Our bodies strive to maintin homeostasis ie : If you are too hot you sweat. If you are too cold you shiver. If your blood sugar is too high your pancreas must pump out insulin to return it to normal. If you are Diabetic your body can no longer process “sweets” or simple carbs effectively. combining a carb with a protein and or fat will slow it down some. Everyone is different. Artificial sweeteners are a God send for those people because the pancreas react to table sugar, honey, agave, fructose etc. all the same. 100% orange juice is very good for you but will send your blood sugar into orbit! Back in the 60′s (I am old) :) we had saccharin then sweet n ‘low then Equal then Splenda. They are artificial sweeteners. Stevia is a natural sweetener. It comes in many different “qualities” . I don’t care for the aftertaste. We all drink too much that “needs” to be sweetened. How many glasses of ice tea or coffee a day do you consume with sweeteners? artificial or not. I have evolved to drink water all day and 1 cup of coffee sweetened with Splenda or Stevia = 2 packets. The issues in this blog are all very valid. This problem is not black or white. Do the best you can and move on.
      Nurse Cynthia MSN

      • Heather says

        If you get an aftertaste from stevia, you are using too much. It is very strong stuff. I use about half a pocket to a quart glass of restaurant iced tea. But I usually use the liquid, and about 7 drops will sweeten the same glass of tea. An eyedropper full for a gallon pitcher of tea. Lemonade does take more, but lemons and stevia work very well together.

        I have seen the research on stevia and fertility. It was a rat study, not a human study, and they gave the rats more stevia than any normal human would ever eat…even before you account for the fact that rats are much smaller than people. The real result is: if you eat nothing but stevia, all the time, it might have fertility effects. Experientially, I have used stevia daily for over 10 years. So has hubs. My kids are 6.5, 5, and 2. The only fertility problems around here are in making sure we don’t conceive when we don’t want to.

        The rest of your objections are easily dealt with simply by being careful what stevia you use and making sure to get some glucose in your diet. Not big problems.

  4. says

    Color me confused! I’ve been following a primal/paleo diet for over a year, trying to work on leaky gut and adrenal issues and turned to stevia as an option. I’ve used the leaf in herbal teas, and only in this past year have started buying it packaged (with just stevia — no additives.) So, now not sure which way to go! I guess raw, local honey in my morning tea would be the other option …

    • says

      Natural, healthy sources of sugar like raw honey play a key role in supporting metabolism and adrenal issues. Just make sure to eat natural sugar with a fat and protein source, to balance blood sugar. So if you put raw honey in your tea, add some raw cream or something like that.

    • Sally Brown says

      Hi Deb:

      This blog/article is a ‘to each his own’ type of thing. Lauren may have quit stevia because she is afraid of the ‘unnatural’ ingredients, however that being the case, my guess is Lauren is using the processed stevia, such as truvia. Stevia is the best thing for you… when done right. My parents grew it organically in their garden and we’d go out and pick the leaves and boil them with our tea. We crush them and use the crushed leaves as a sweetener to a dessert. People just don’t like the taste and so many say that it messes with their system. True, natural organic stevia is the best way to go. I’ve used it for 15 years now and I’ll NEVER quit.

  5. Kendra says

    Excellent post!!..Being a nutritionist myself, you have me wanting to dig into this further.. Any books you would recommend on this? I agree as well as just resorting to WHOLE foods and not substitutions, and that includes sugars. Great job! You are changing lives!!

  6. says

    I’ve never been able to do stevia. I tried to convince myself that it was healthy and it tasted sweet but I literally could not choke it down. I threw out a couple of cups of tea as I tried to wean myself onto it but I finally gave up and never bought it again. Thanks for the great article Lauren!

  7. Gail says

    Interesting. I don’t quite know what to think, however.
    I just planted some Stevia. It’s a beautiful plant and I wanted to see what I could do with it..

    • Vikki K says

      I love my stevia plant, too. I like the idea of my kids picking the leaves and munching on them through the day for a snack, also, throwing the leaves into a cup of tea or a smoothie. I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with this usage.

    • Ali says

      It’s really nasty, Helen. I took a taste from the bulk bin of green powdered stevia. Horrid taste. Chewing a leaf from the plant tastes good! Using the processed white stevia powder (without all the additives) tastes pretty good. The green stuff? Don’t buy unless you can taste it first. I would rather give up sweets than use it, and I have quite the sweet tooth.

  8. Terri says

    Hi. For a long time I’ve read the exact opposite of point number 1 – that Stevia absolutely does NOT fool the body into thinking it is getting sugar at all – and is one of the only non-sugar sweeteners that does not. I’ve read that it does not affect insulin levels adversely and may, in fact, help to stabilize them. This would also include not affecting cortisol and adrenaline. I would like to see the science behind your favorite blogger’s claims on that one. I read her blog and do not see any scientific studies cited there.

    I think that “different strokes for different folks” is a real thing when it comes to eating! :)

    • says

      Like I said, some people get a blood sugar spike with stevia and others do not. It is individual. I love your “different strokes for different folks” motto!

    • says

      Stevia instantly sends me into a hypoglycemic reaction. There’s also no scientific study or evidence that I can find proving that, but it happens TO ME. The best way to know is to test it on yourself with a glucose monitor like she suggested. Then the science will be YOU! :)

    • Ali says

      Many years ago, in something like 2002, I found one reference online saying stevia was used as contraception in Asian countries (I can’t remember if it was China or somewhere else). I haven’t seen anything supporting that since, but it’s good info to keep in mind, especially if you are trying to get pregnant. I have used plenty of stevia and my cycles stay regular.

      • says

        I’m a regular Stevia consumer (though open to switching to raw honey for a bit to see if I have a hypoglycemic reaction to it), and my periods are still like clockwork (will be 51 next month).

        I also like (and agree with) Terri’s “different strokes for different folks”.

  9. Ladonna says

    I quit stevia because it completely messed up my menstraul cycle now I use honey which makes me feel a ton better

  10. Alicia says

    I really dislike the synthetic taste of stevia – i have gone fully sugar free a couple of times, relying only on stevia and i must say, it is one of the worst tasting sweeteners i know of. Maple syrup, coconut sugar and rapadura are my favourites!

  11. Jean Ghantous says

    Hi! I follow your blog and enjoy it, thank you! A couple of comments, stevia ain’t all bad!. Stevia was once thought to be high oxalate but it was re-tested by the LOD group and was found to be low oxalate. The latest testing can be found on the Yahoo group organized by Susan Owens Trying_Low_Oxalates, they are the folks who actually perform oxalate analysis. If you don’t use their list in the file with the most recent data, you won’t see the new findings.
    Also, oxalates are not an issue for everyone. They are especially of concern if you have a leaky gut or are an endogenous oxalate producer but many can consume oxalates just fine. Look at all the nut eaters out there!

    There is no need to eat stevia with added ingredients like glycerin or natural flavorings. You can grow or buy organic stevia! Also for those who dislike stevia, try it in different forms. Not all of them taste the same, that is certain.
    Also, who ever eats stevia alone or without carbohydrates so that the glucose issue is even really an issue? Perhaps for tea drinkers who eat it outside of meals.
    Just my two cents. I don’t really see anything here that would prevent me from using stevia.

    • Kelly says

      Jean, thank you for being the only voice of reason in this entire thread.
      Is Truvia disgusting? Yes. Pure stevia is definitely not high in oxalates, and there are companies, such as Sweet Leaf, who use pure, organic stevia and ONLY the stevia.
      The other issue that I have is that the “source” Lauren is quoting from is Kate Skinner, a clinical nutritionist from Australia who is shooting from the hip on these theory. She’s been asked on her page several times to giver references to support her statements and she has ignored them, yet she seems to answer everyone else’s questions.
      I know Susan Owens and I know of the low oxalate group of whence you speak. She is very highly-regarded in the bio-medical field.
      As far as Lauren’s claim on the “autism” aspect – that just angers me. I have a child with autism, I have many friends who have children with autism. To insinuate that all we need to do is put them on a low oxalate diet is insane. Our children suffer from many, many medical issues – most of which she could not begin to understand.
      As far as the carbs thing – doesn’t ANYONE remember high school biology? The Krebs cycle? Hello? Protein, fats, carbs. All required.
      We will continue to use the organic SweetLeaf stevia.

      • says

        You have taken my words out of context, I never “insinuated” that the only solution to autism is low-oxalate. I said, “if… autism… is an issue for you, exploring a low-oxalate diet may boost your healing journey.” I can understand your distress at your children’s health issues, but I do not appreciate some of your thoughtless statements here. And the human body does not need carbs to function. We can live without carbs (ketosis) but I don’t believe it is a healthy way to live or to lose weight.

        • Jean Pierre says

          Criticizing Stevia without any serious scientific reference (background?) is like criticizing all blogs making a general statement from a single example ; in both cases : rigorous, sincere and professional information are available for who’s curious enough.

        • Steph says

          Kelly was just giving her opinion just like you always do. This is my first time on this site and I have a feeling that you all are brainwashed.

      • Margo says

        I actually thought Kelly’s post was one of the more informed responses here. Lauren, I would like to know what your sources are for this post on Stevia.

  12. Jan J. says

    I have type II diabetes – so what are we supposed to use? I do use a bit of raw honey – it mixes well with stevia flavorwise – and when I could afford it I used part stevia/part organic coconut sugar, but cannot get this anymore due to low income. I am not sure about this one. I will continue to use stevia as “the lesser of two (possible) evils” because I have given up so much due to a heart arrhythmia and diabetes and I know I cannot give up sweetner for my rooibos and honeybush tea and an occasional sweet treat! Oh, I think it is erythritol that is mixed with stevia for Truvia – probably not much different but if you want to be accurate as it is different from xylitol and easier on the tummy.

  13. Hayley says

    Hey, these are some interesting points. Do you still use the Natural Calm magnesium? That is the only form of stevia that I ingest. Maybe I would be better off finding a new magnesium supplement.

  14. Sharon V. says

    It sounds like individual results may vary with this issue. As for me I have been using stevia a lot and I think perhaps I should try eliminating or at least cutting way down on my daily consumption. I have had some weird digestive and thyroid issues going on and now I wonder if overusing stevia could be part of the problem. Can’t hurt, may help.

    • says

      Yep, you are totally right that it is really individual how people are affected by stevia. I see many people choosing stevia because they are afraid of calories and natural sources of sugar, which I don’t think is emotionally or physically healthy. I think that natural sugars in general are a better choice than stevia.

    • Ali says

      I heard (don’t have a scientific source) that radishes are good for the thyroid. There is a good radish kraut recipe (includes carrots, salt, and I think parsnips) in the Wild Fermentation book. I think it’s yummy. The book is old enough that it should be at your library, and if it’s not, you can usually order it through your library if they have a budget for it.

  15. Sienna says

    Hi I have been on an anti parasite cleanse cutting out all sugar. Im on week 7 now and plan on doing it for 3 months. Im basically following the candida diet.
    I never used stevia 7 weeks ago but it the only thing that has saved me from going insane on a no sugar diet. As I truly love sweet food. I used to use raw honey, dates and coconut nectar but these are not allowed. I have had to give up every natural type of sugar except steiva so now I use it in all my sweet cooking.
    What are your thoughts on no sugar to help rid the body of parasites? Apparently they wont go unless you stop the sugar even the natural stuff. I also gave up coffee, oats, sweet potato carrots and beets for the same purpose.

  16. Kris Lauer says

    Looks like I am going to have to find something else. I have been suffering from some form of adrenal fatigue. My glucose levels spike at night. I use 1 to 3 packs of Stevia throughout the day in coffee or tea. Man, if this is what is causing my issues this is great news! Now I can see if eliminating it helps! Thanks for the post!

      • says

        I know, right? I love that remedy! I actually use a small spoonful of raw honey sprinkled with sea salt. I’ll take this in the middle of the night when I wake up or right before I go to bed.

    • says

      It sounds like stevia is exacerbating your adrenal fatigue, so I hope it helps to eliminate it. But there are still many other factors to consider to heal adrenal issues, as I’m sure you are aware.

    • Ali says

      My naturopath said most people need adrenal supplements longterm, thanks to the Western diet and lifestyle, which really taxes adrenals.

      If you cannot afford supplements, then at least eat superfood 1-2x per week. By that I mean organic liver. No, wait. Don’t stop reading. Soak liver in lemon juice and water for hours in the fridge to remove its bitter taste.

      Whatever you do, don’t buy non-organic liver, even if you use conventional meat normally. You need organic animal organs, as organs process pollutants, and you want to give yourself the best possible health here, not add more toxins. Also, try to get non-beef liver during the season that the grasses are tall. My local butcher said something about cows having flukes in their liver at this time of year because of tall grass. (Call them if you want this explained – (541) 488 1112 )

      Liver is not that expensive. We usually buy a big one, cut it into thirds, and use 1/3 at a time, freezing the rest for the next time. After you soak it in lemon water, rinse off, dice small, and fry up with your favorite animal fat or coconut oil, plus onions, garlic, salt and pepper. This is great with a little GAPS veggie soup on the side. I was surprised how much I liked it! I tried the same with kidney and I admit I didn’t like it as much as liver. Oh well.

      Liver is the true superfood that helps with nearly any nutrient deficiency (according to Campbell-McBride).

    • Erin says

      Hi, I also suffer from Adrenal issues ( and thyroid and mentstral…) but I have had dramatic improvement from eliminating the Coffee! Just a thought…Teechino is a great herbal substitute.

  17. says

    Hi Lauren,

    I try not to overuse any one ingredient. I do practice that old adage…everything in moderation. I do use Stevia, but very, very sparingly. I use a few drops of if in my kiddos oatmeal a few times each week and I use a very small amount (1/2 teaspoon) in my gluten free baking. And that’s about it. I’m not a fanatic about it. I’m always suspicious of chemically processed sweeteners and have refused many who have contacted me for giveaways. I rely on coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and honey for the bulk of my sweetening.

    Thank you for this information. Once again, you bring to light many important issues regarding gut health. You rock lady!

    Hugs,
    –Amber

    • says

      Hi Amber! I totally agree with you.. everything in moderation. I don’t really think stevia is dangerous, I just think there are better alternatives. I think that stevia can be used in small amounts, especially when someone is already healthy and eating good sources of natural sugar.

  18. Lorie says

    Stevia is in the ragweed family. I had noticed while on a trip that my usually stiff legs and feet had loosened up. No more locked joints that caused me to walk stiff-legged after getting up from a chair. What surprised me is that the thing I didn’t have access to during that time was stevia.

    So, I researched stevia and found that many other people experience muscle and joint issues with it, and I also learned it’s in the ragweed family, which I have an allergy to. Now, when I sneak stevia in for a few days, my ankles and legs start locking up (and muscles and tendons get stiff). It’s an interesting aspect of a plant that many think is so healthful.

    • Sarah M. says

      Stevia is part of the ragweed family. My mind is blown, yet everything about that makes sense. I am heinously allergic to ragweed, since I was very young, and I use stevia frequently. And frequently getting watery eyes and runny noses after using it. No more! Thx!

  19. Robin Whelan says

    Having had a [practically] lifelong love affair with all-things digestive I must agree with this overall thought process about proper glucose-availability of the nutrients we ingest. Your assessment is extremely thoughtful of many of the body’s systems, and, I think, absolutely correct. As an addendum I also will suggest non-GMO verified evaporated cane juice, for those who simply are not ready for the luscious but unfamiliar “rawness” of local honey and its flavor…

  20. Jaime Uldrich says

    Please, fix your article…”Xylitol–Truvia is a popular sweetener made with stevia and xylitol” . That isn’t true. It has erythritol….I’m holding the container in my hand right now. There is a HUGE difference between the item you claimed and what is really in Truvia. Thank you.
    To check out: http://truvia.com/about

    • Dana says

      Agreed. This bugged me too. Truvia is sweetened with stevia and erythitol. It does involve GMOs which makes it a no go for a lot of people but it is a completely different source of sweetener as it is derived from fruits.

      And while it may effect different people’s blood sugars differently, I can say from experience that it has made a drastic improvement on the blood sugars of my 3 year old diabetic. And it totally satisfies my sugar cravings without an issue. I haven’t done research on some of what you said, but I would disagree with other parts of it.

      Thanks for the post though and your take on it!

  21. Joy Bird says

    Would you please share your recipe for homemade toothpaste? I’d like to know how to make it without glycerin.

    • says

      I mix up some baking soda, a bit of coconut oil and enough water to make a paste. Then I add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. It’s an easy, simple recipe :)

      • Joy Bird says

        Great! Thank you…any guidance as to the amount of baking soda and coconut oil? I’m new at making toothpaste.

        • says

          We have been using this recipe for a couple years now. It works great.
          Just mix baking soda into whatever amount of coconut oil you want until it gets to a kind of creamy texture. Add a drop or two of mint oil if you want. You can add more later if it’s not minty enough – but you really don’t need any at all.
          We make about two oz at a time I think. It fits in a little screw top jar.
          At first the consistency is a little runny but after a few days it stiffens up more.
          By the time we are halfway through we have to add a little more coconut oil to make it less stiff again.
          There is no exact – perfect balance of ingredients – and this is one of those great cases where it’s not necessary. Just mix to your preference.

  22. says

    Stevia is not high oxalate. That spreadsheet is wrong. It probably looked at a large volume of stevia and saw that it was high but in the volume that is typically used in a serving the amount of oxalate is extremely tiny. 0.17g of oxalate in a whole tsp of stevial extract. Low is anything under 5g per serving and I can’t imagine consuming a whole tsp of extract in one serving of anything much less enough to get to very high.

    I personally can’t stand stevia however one of my children needs to be on an extremely low glycemic index diet to control a significant health condition. We keep sweets at a minimum anyhow but without stevia she would rarely if ever eat anything sweet at all. I think that if you compare it to other calorie free sweeteners it wins out hands down and that is what we have to compare it to here.

    I came here to learn some new information about stevia to continue to make an informed decision and found plenty of mistakes that call into question everything that you have written.

  23. judy says

    What about if you get plain dried stevia leaf? It is actually the leaves just dried out. Looks just like tea leaves?

  24. tobiano says

    I question the authenticity and lack of scientific basis, also. Anybody knows that your sugar levels will be low when fasting….and no matter WHAT you consume…they will go up after eating. So blaming it on Stevia is not correct. Study on medical or scientific sites, people…laypersons don’t always tell the truth…or do they? This IS the internet, you know!

  25. amcken3 says

    THIS IS SO BOGUS! All your honey filled recipes are garbage. SUGAR is linked to EVERY disease known to man…diabetes and CANCER. When you get cancer the Mayo clinic says NO sugar, none of any kind. So sticking with natural stevia. You are losing credibility with me.

    • Jay says

      You just lost ALL credibility with your flame. The Mayo clinic? Nice. Nothing like quoting a cancer pimp. Might want to do a little research on raw honey there, troll. Not sure you read the title of the article…lemme recap… “Why *I* quit stevia” not “Stevia is Killing you” not “YOU HAVE TO QUIT STEVIA” this was an informative SUGGESTION. Take it or leave it. I, for one, will continue to use stevia as sparingly as i do, and as soon as my bees produce enough, i’m also going to consume raw honey. Yeah, i know, unpasteurized is SO DANGEROUS!

      • Reneeandproud says

        @ Mayo Clinic, cancer pimp??!! Are you kidding me? As a long time proud employee and patient of Mayo you couldn’t be farther from the truth and plain ignorant sounding. We are not ambulance chasers or constant patient fisher like some nameless cancer institution who have been caught in fraudulent advertising. We are the #2 hospital in the WORLD not U.S. but world. Patients seek us out for our expertise and excellence. Please do research and homework before commenting on name brand life saving institutions such as ours and get back to to the topic at hand which is Stevia.

  26. Seana says

    A lot of people in the comments seem quite angry. It’s not necessary to jump down anyone’s throat in order to disagree.

    I, for one, appreciate the care the author gave to stating that not everyone reacts the same way. These are the reasons that she quit using stevia not the reasons that everyone should quit.

    Stevia lowers my blood sugar which isn’t necessarily always a good thing. I also noted issues that could have been caused by stevia in the time we’ve been using it. I’ll be doing more research. Thanks for sharing your situation.

  27. Warwick says

    It’s be good if you showed the research data behind all your opinions? Sooo any unsubstantiated comments…

  28. says

    Thank you Lauren for sharing this information. I am a naturopath and I teach my clients to muscle test their foods, any only in rare cases can some one tolerate stevia. However, honey is a medicine and daily use in their diet will diminish its benefits. I agree with you on using maple syrup, but only the good stuff not the stuff from the grocery stores.

  29. Joanna says

    I think any information is helpful for anyone to have but you also have to experiment for yourself in any situation. Everyone is different & will have different opinions about everything in Life. Plus anything that is legal or approved by someone, doesn’t mean it isn’t necessarily good for you or bad for you.. Example: cigarettes, alcohol or any pain relieving substances all have bad negative side effects if over used & abused, even Tylenol.. Too much of anything is never good.. Moderation is key but also do your own experiences. Fresh & organic foods always beat the health benefits than the processed & preserved foods..

  30. Kathleen says

    I don’t even know what to say, or where to begin, but I am going to start by “unliking” your site, and taking you off of my email too, which I just did. If you personally don’t like stevia, please don’t use it, but to trash it with a bunch of things that are not even true, or are just your personal opinion is ridiculous. Also for your information there are many different brands of stevia, different qualities of stevia, and many without glycerine if a person prefers it that way.
    Stop scaring people about stevia because you don’t like it.

  31. Marcella says

    I’ve certainly found this to not be true personally. I use a glucometer daily. Stevia never raises my bg and certainly causes no hypoglycemic drops. After being in great health for nearly 2 years on a strict low carb diet I started worrying about all the hype and fears and “dangers” of a low carb diet. I’ve upped my carbs a lot the last year. Despite having a still decent though higher A1C I’ve raised my insulin levels substantially. And in so doing I’ve raised my testosterone and lowered my progesterone.

    It’s not helped my hormones at all. In fact I’ve miscarried 3 times the past year despite never miscarrying before. It was only after 3 miscarriages and some research I’ve come to realize how horrible the advice was to up my “healthy carbs”. This might work fine for someone who is not already metabolically damaged. But it’s honestly horrible advice that people keep pushing honey etc as a better option for the very large portion of the population with metabolic damage.

    I can’t help but wonder if I’d not have lost the last 3 children if I’d not followed this poorly documented advice. But I’ve found two studies showing ALL the women in the studies with the level of %Free Testosterone I had miscarried. Not one carried to term. And the raised testosterone was absolutely a direct result of raised carbs raising insulin levels and consequently raising testosterone.

    I have no intention of trying to conceive again until I’ve been strictly low carbing long enough to bring my hormone levels down to safe and normal levels. Because the advice I read which this post is a repeat of seriously damaged me hormonally. And it disturbs me greatly to hear it repeated so often. Most of the people interested in health are people trying to heal and a huge portion of us are not metabolically normal and won’t respond this way to adding in larger amounts of carbs and honey. And no I’m not damaged enough to be a Type 2 Diabetic but my hormones prove the advice of MORE carbs was a disaster.

  32. Honeychka says

    A lot claims but no data to support except links to other blogs. Would you mind providing sources for this information? Thanks!

  33. Edie says

    Thanks for this post, I’ve been a little confused with sugar substitutes. I gave up artificial sugar substitutes a few years ago and started using honey and agave, but have read some disturbing reports on agave and I know honey has more calories than regular sugar so need to cut down on that. I have tried stevia in the past and not liked it very much. I think I will try mixing it with something else, mostly I need it for my hot teas, coffees and cold drinks. I have been using coconut palm sugar some too which works good with some things and not in others. I tried to use it on the stovetop to make a strawberry syrup and it seemed to burn very easily.

  34. says

    I hate it. No rational reason, other than my intuitive sense of “If you’re not going to eat sweet things, then don’t try to fake out your system.” I would rather mostly avoid sweeteners and get the sweet taste out of my system / occasionally use a teeny bit of honey or maple syrup which tastes like a lot as I’m not accustomed to tasting sweet. But that’s just me.

  35. says

    I have mixed feelings about this post.
    I think that there should be links to studies and not just claims, first of all.
    Secondly, I had hypoglycemia. I use stevia regularly and my sugars are now smack dab in the middle of the normal range.
    Thirdly, the oxalate claim. I can’t find info on the quantity of oxalates in stevia, but I suspect it is negligible since one would use a lot less than say, almonds, which are high oxalate but one would eat a lot more of them. Do you have a source for how many oxalates are in foods by gram? I couldn’t find one but I would love to see that.
    Fourth, there are tons of quality stevias on the market that have no additives and are processed cleanly so I think that is a poor argument. I am sorry to say that, but you could say that about anything. You could say that any food these days is bad b/c of the way our food companies process it.
    As for the aftertaste, again, if you choose a high quality product it isn’t the case. And for those w/ sugar issues, stevia is decidedly a better product.
    I have to get back to my family but those are my main concerns. People have different responses to things so I appreciate your bringing up the comment about using a blood meter, but I think that it would be a big help to your readers to post studies for the claims you are making. And even then, some studies are done better than others so we really need to be careful what we are citing always. It’s a lot of work but it’s important.

    Thanks for starting an interesting discussion.

  36. says

    Hi, I love my stevia. Been using it for several years. The kind with no additives. I don’t think there is an aftertaste, even have steeped my own. I also use raw honey and maple syrup for some things. I don’t seem to have any of the issues others may have had health wise, I’m 57 and have switched out some things for my family and myself. Stevia being one of them. I mix it with honey when making iced tea. Also now use only raw milk, butter, only farm eggs etc. and have been cutting out wheat and some other things that common sense tells us to change. lol I found the information here interesting. I’ll continue to study about this. Thanks for the work and research you have done. I appreciate it! -Linda-

  37. Mihou says

    Hi Lauren
    the different points in your article DO NOT apply natural stevia leaves which i use.
    I grind the leaves and use the leave flour in my tea and any kind drinks and it’s wonderful.
    Can you please tell me what you do you really think about stevia leaves?

  38. Libby says

    I gave up Stevia. No particular reason, just felt it was time to go back to raw honey in my green tea.
    I don’t miss it, nor does my body. I was having blood sugar issues while on it, not implying stevia was the culprit. I was also lc paleo at the time.
    Raw honey does not seem to bother my bs levels, but I don’t eat a ton of it at one sitting.
    Einkorn is the only wheat I can eat with very little to no blood spikes at all.
    Spelt gives me some spike…modern wheat is evil for my body – with the wheat belly and major joint pain…no matter how it is prepared.

    Some honey, fruit or natural sweetener keeps candida from being a problem for me.

  39. Olinda Paul says

    Whew! Your taking a pounding here….If everyone is so informed…where is their proof in their writings? Hello…. Everyone is different, our bodies do not all run the same. You have to use common sense, do your own homework, and listen to your doctors advice. Then make a decision. Doctors are not always right. Mine says I do not have Celiac or IBS or Gluten Intolerance…however, when I am off gluten, I am a new woman. I don’t spend my time in the bathroom, so you have to listen to your body. Now I think sugar is an issue as I now have Vasculitis (what a scourge) Sugar is an inflammatory thing…so no more for me. I have used Stevia in the past and it seemed fine to me but now I will have to read up on it. Thanks for the information.

  40. Clare Templeton says

    Great article plus comments. I abhored the stevia aftertaste at first bite (ditto the original canola hit my stomach like lead balloon). Concur with different strokes but as a confirmed before it was fashionable hypoglycemic, I’m okay with moderation and watchout for trendies. Coupla biggies learned in UK and europe: 1) american recipes have twice the sugar needed for simple pleasantness 2) local raw honey acclimates the traveller to the region plus is like a homeopathic against allergens. About the present dangers of GMO corn, I go about gifting rapunzel organic corn starch to family and altar sisters (new folksong title: wean away wean away). 3) your combo of banana with CHAI flavor is The Bomb, pure genius.4) besides grade B maple syrup, sorghum is another way around corn and chemicals. I have tried brown rice syrup but japanese friends caution that brown rice is pestacided unless you’re sure of source. Thanks forever to being a good source for Foodies United for Sustainable Clean Eats (that’s Ms. FUSKE to you!!)Bless.

  41. elaina says

    Please get your facts straight if you are going to try to educate people because some will believe you without checking out the information themselves. Truvia is a blend of stevia and eyrithritol not zylitol.

  42. Joni says

    Thank you, Lauren, for this informative and thought provoking post. I have tried stevia several times and I can’t get past the after taste. I am a huge fan of raw honey.
    thank you for your diligence to show all sides of the issues.

  43. Bonnie says

    Freedom of speech, folks! If you don’t agree with Lauren’s take on Stevia just say so.

    There is absolutely no need for hate and confrontation. I looked into Stevia about 10 years ago. Did my due diligence by reading up several articles and decided Stevia was not for me. I love my organic sucanat and am sticking to it. I follow the WAPF diet as closely as I can and also follow Dr. Mercola. I love raw honey but have a teaspoon here and there. I’d rather have it raw than cooked (even in tea or coffee).

    Thanks, Lauren for breaking the halo around Stevia.
    Best,
    Bonnie

  44. Tookie Closepin says

    IMHO, I think you should have titled this “Why I quite eating processed Stevia”. If you grow it or get it from an Organic farm/farmers market and eat it naturally (dried, frozen), etc, it will have health benefits.

  45. Cindy says

    I thought I would weigh in on this subject. I use raw Stevia mainly because my ND (he is both an ND and an MD) told me to. I am not diabetic but it helps to lower your blood pressure naturally if you have high blood pressure. He gave some other health benefits for using it as well but I can’t remember what they are at the moment. It didn’t seem to raise my blood sugar and it did help to lower my blood pressure. So, the jury is still out on this for me.

  46. SulaBlue says

    Unfortunately, if you’re a diabetic, your choices become really, really limited if you want to avoid artificial sweeteners. Honey, molasses, maple syrup. coconut sugar and rapadura all send blood glucose soaring, no matter how natural they are.

  47. says

    I would like to see the references where all the information are supported. FDA approved stevia, with many support research and Reb A with 95% is currently accepted. In this way, many substances are removed mentioned in this publication, including the aftertaste. In reference to the carbohydrate metabolism, here some publications where you can add information to your knowledge.
    1. http://www.globalsteviainstitute.com/pdfs/resources/Stevia-Bibliography-and-References-ES.pdf
    2. Appetite. 2010 Aug;55(1):37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Mar 18.
    Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels.
    Anton SD, Martin CK, Han H, Coulon S, Cefalu WT, Geiselman P, Williamson DA.
    Source

    Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, United States. santon@aging.ufl.edu
    Abstract

  48. says

    Some others publications talking about diabetes:
    Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects.
    Metabolism.  2004; 53(1):73-6 (ISSN: 0026-0495)
    Gregersen S; Jeppesen PB; Holst JJ; Hermansen K Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism C, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.
    “In conclusion, stevioside reduces postprandial blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients, indicating beneficial effects on the glucose metabolism. Stevioside may be advantageous in the treatment of type 2 diabetes”

  49. Jill says

    Interesting post. I am a stevia user…but like once a week or less in some coffee when I want to add cocoa or when I want to make a mild chocolate nut-milk “ice cream”. I checked my stevia, and it’s just dried and powdered leaves from the plant (got it at a food co-op). I’m well aware of the side effects of some of the additives! Some “stevia” sweetened chocolate had me stuck in the bathroom for hours…they’d tried to cut the aftertaste with chicory fiber. Yikes. Anyway, since I use it in moderation, I haven’t noted any of the effects you mention and really appreciate your views on this.

  50. Salina says

    Any suggestions on the best choice to use in my homemade toothpaste? I thought stevia was better to use than xylitol. Now I’m not sure what to use…

  51. Debbie says

    Hi All. I hada complete adrenal collapse 3yrsago and suffered food allergies, cfs, fibromyalgia, chemical hypersensitivity, sjogrens and a host of other illnesses. I followed the rigid ‘No sugars/Substitute w Stevia’ diet plan for a year. The resulting hypoglycemia that occurred for hours each day nearly killed me. I have only seen gradual improvements to the above conditions after I reintroduced fruit sugars (dried fruits and coconut sugar and carbs

  52. says

    I am a fan of your blog. I found your article very interesting. It just has me wondering have you read Mark Sisson’s post on Stevia? http://www.marksdailyapple.com/stevia/#axzz2X0jbp9Ky

    I have been curious and feeling a bit lost when it comes to stevia. Is it really that bad for us? I hope more recent studies are done on it.
    Sisson’s post mentioned benefits of stevia.
    Personally, I don’t like the taste. It does have an “unnatural” after tang to it, BUT I am guilty that I have been using it recently, maybe every several days when I have a craving for sweet, I put it in my coffee…

  53. says

    Lauren, have you tested your blood sugar with a glucometer after consuming stevia to find out if it actually causes hypoglycemia for you? I have tested my blood sugar before, immediately after, and 30 minutes after, and 60 minutes after drinking a can of Zevia, and I had no change in blood sugar. However, when I drank a caffeine-containing can of Zevia, my blood sugar actually went up 4 mg/dL (which is very minimal). We probably all have variations in how we react to different sweeteners and I think everyone should do their own n=1 experiment to find out how different foods affect them. Your blog post will definitely make people think before they reach for their sweetener of choice!

  54. Karla says

    Stevia powder was thought to be high oxalate, but was recently retested and is very low. The liquid stevia is very low as well. The lab doing the testing actually tested the powder multiple times to ensure the values they were getting were consistent, since older testing indicated that the powder was high oxalate.

  55. Haizen Paige says

    I’ve used (Kal) Stevia, the pure concentrated leaf, for over 10 years and it’s been a Godsend. The problem with Stevia in general is that people do not know how to use it! They use far too much as a sweetener, sometimes thinking of the amounts as they would sugar. Wrong. The trick is to use as LITTLE as possible, and that’s why small scoops are usually provided. One small scoop can flavor a cup of coffee or tea. But if too much is used, thinking that the more you use the sweeter the taste, well it’s just the opposite and the taste is BITTER. It takes practice to see how little you can use to avoid the bitterness. Then it’s just delightfully sweet, and it works well in plain yogurt, lemonade, and other beverages. I do not recommend Stevia in packets ever, because the packets end up flavoring the Stevia for the worse. Avoid. As a diabetic it has helped me keep my blood sugars in the normal range and I highly recommend learning to understand the different brands and enjoy it’s benefits. I do not work for Kal. -Sincerely, Haizen

  56. Shaina says

    Oh how I wish I could eat fruit and honey without it sky rocketing my blood sugar and making me feel like I need to sleep all day…even the littlest bit does it to me. So, if I dare to have even a little sweet in my life it is going to have to be stevia. Maybe once my adrenals are healed I’ll be able to handle a little more sweet but until then it’s just meats, veggies, and fat with a little stevia here and there!

  57. Dave says

    I’ve been feeling very fatigued and my muscles seem to atrophy when I consume stevia throughout the day (in my coffee) baffled as to what is making me feel so very tired, unable to wake up some days, I thought I’d do a search on Stevia and found this site. I read that it was completely safe before I started using it a few years ago, but now there’s all this information about how it can be bad for you. Thanks for the great info, I’m extremely tired right now as I type this, going to try to find something to eat before I pass out.

  58. charles lister says

    Lauren,
    I have been diagnosed with LGS. I respectfully want to say the everything in moderation is the solution. I have researched Candida and LGS in depth. What I found on the internet is a host of experts and those that claim they are experts. For every one that says an OPINION there is one with a 180 degree OPINION.

    Sorry, I am not buying your Stevia dissertation. If someone uses 2-3 packets a day, I am sure the world will not end for them. It is a GREAT solution to natural sugar for Candida.

    Now, if someone used 20 packets a day I would agree with you.

    Signed…NOT A TROLL

    • says

      Ha ha, thanks for not being a troll :) I don’t think stevia is really harmful, per say, especially when it is consumed with another source of carbohydrate to compensate for the slight raise in blood sugar. For me, honey is a better option. But I know that honey and other natural sugars aren’t an option for some other people. I agree that a minimal use of stevia is not going to end the world for anybody.

    • Nan says

      I had reactions more than once after only a small amount of stevia–shortly after consuming it. After tracing back what I had eaten before the reaction the only different thing I don’t regularly eat was stevia.

  59. Cesar says

    I’ve used stevia for years in moderation with no side effects. No TruVia or PureVia because they contain additives. Blessings and heath!

  60. says

    I’m sure Stevia has its downfalls, but it takes the place the place of the aspartame when I want a soda. I notice when I started including Stevia soda pop in my diet though, that my weight loss stopped, even though I eat all low calorie foods and no starches. However, I don’t have achy legs anymore and can walk fast again. Aspartame was mimicking MS symptoms.

  61. says

    Love your healthy balanced approach to nutrition so far. I was on Stevia (all natural Kal, pure stevia no Truvia) and was all of the sudden having terrible low blood sugar problems and muscle weakness and digestive issues. I once had my BS tested and it was like 53 or something. I was already eating a balanced moderate carb (gluten free grains) moderate protein diet. The only thing that would get me out of these low blood sugar episodes was eating some food. I also started to have problems at the gym, and was loosing muscle mass. Anyway I stay away from that stuff and now eat unrefined organic good old fashioned sugar or coconut sugar. I stay pretty lean, but admittedly eat a whole foods diet so the amount of sugar I am consuming is minimal comparatively.

      • Heather Hansen says

        I just ordered Earthpaste. It isn’t here yet. I thought you said you made your own? When I read that I immediately looked up the Earthpaste which has no glycerin. So do you use Earthpaste or do you make your own? This is all a new journey for me.

        • says

          I was making my own for a while, but then learned that the baking soda in my recipe isn’t good for long-term use (it can throw of the pH of the mouth). I use Earthpaste currently and I LOVE it.

          • R says

            I recently made an Earthpaste copycat recipe that uses either Xylitol or Stevia as the sweetener– I used Stevia (pure) since I had it on hand, but it really makes me nervous to brush my teeth with a sweetener. Should I toss it?

  62. Lou says

    Hello and thank you for writing this. I don’t use processed foods as i don’t consider them real food. I have a simple mantra to the Haddaway Raccoon Diet. “If I can plant it, Grow it, Pick it, Wash it, Eat it, and compost the rest, I can eat it. Items with a mother or Face, need not apply.”

    So i too am on that journey you are on. It helps when you can have the mindset that if your great great grandma would not recognize it as edible, pass on it. I don’t even bother with the middle of the store. I got lots of glass jars that i saved so i got storage stuff, and if there is cardboard around it, or printed with colors i’m outta there. I do however get my virgin gold label coconut oil from Tropical Traditions. I wish it didn’t come in food grade plastic buckets at the size that i buy in (my cats & horse gets it too, hence the size.)

    I grow my own stevia in my back yard. I bring it in for the winter, and it is nice and doesn’t have that aftertaste like the store bought stuff does… It is nice in smoothies and a leaf will do for the entire family’s drinks and then some.

    I realize that many do not have the land to garden. I don’t int he view of many, but i have big pots in the front yard full of tomatoes planted with basil, and watermelon within the pots, oregano, and thyme, sage, and beans and peas. All the neighbors here in the senior park i live in know that we have it there for them too. It is not unusual to see me talking to a neighbor and them leaving with a fat tomato and some basil etc.

    I do this for others on their patios, balconies, or tuck one into a spot by a front door, or alongside a garage. (window sill gardens are always fun, too.)

    So far God has blessed we with all the pots and so forth to do this so normally just them helping and learning along side is all they have to provide. Sorry, guess i have rambled on long enough. Keep on posting, i love it.

  63. says

    I have been having moderate hypoglycemia. Dizziness and headaches and I could not think well. I had been taking stevia but it has caused my hypoglycemia issues. I stopped taking it and then I was better. I started using a tiny bit again and low and behold bad issues with dizziness, shakiness, etc. I know it is affecting my other hormones and my thyroid. So as of yesterday no more stevia. I wanted it not to be the stevia. I do a healthy gluten free no processed food diet. With a balance of protein, fat, and complex carbs but the problem for me has been the stevia and I didn’t want to believe it was the stevia.

  64. jo says

    Hi, Lauren. I just stumbled upon this topic, which got met thinking what about 1 part sugar and 1 part stevia for baked treats?

  65. says

    I have no problem with stevia. I do try to use the most natural I can find. I even used the green dried leaf one, but it really isn’t as yummy as the natural liquid ones. I can’t tolerate much sugar/honey/dried fruit at all, so regular fruit and stevia are my only ‘sweet’ options. I go and get muscle tested quite regularly with an applied kinesiologist so we ask my body what it likes and doesn’t like. I did OD on stevia once, the white powdered kind, but now if I just use a couple of drops of the liquid at a time, my body is fine with it.

  66. Casey says

    I switched to a super healthy diet and was doing well – feeling good, losing weight. I wanted to reduce the tannins in my diet, so switched from tea to coffee. Was putting stevia (KAL powder or alcohol-free liquid) in my coffee and drinking a few cups a day. Also added in the occasional diet soda with stevia in it. My weight loss plateaued, but I didn’t think that was a big deal, it happens.

    Then my weight started to creep incrementally up. Huh. Ok, no biggie, so I do a little diet tweaking. Also started feeling fatigued. Then having real trouble exercising. Figured I had a virus or something. Just kept toughing it out, adding in vitamin C, more rest, etc. It lasted for so many weeks, I decided it must be allergies…

    Then came the heel pain. My right heel felt like it had a nail in it. I thought I must have injured it somehow. It was ok in the morning, got worse as the day went on. Sometimes it was constant, sometimes it would come and go, but whenever it was there, it was BAD. By the end of some days, I was limping and near tears.

    Started thinking about all my virus/allergy/invisible injury symptoms and looked up stevia. Someone else had terrible foot pain on stevia. Others reported fatigue. Others had weight gain. Huh.

    I stopped the stevia and the next day, my heel pain was about 25% better. It’s now been a week that I’m off of stevia and my heel pain is about 90% better. My weight is going back down, and I have much less fatigue than I had (not back to where I was, yet though).

    They say that stevia clears your system in 24 hours. But for those of us who are apparently sensitive to it (I don’t think I have a true allergy to the stuff – no hives or swelling or itching or any of that), the effects can take a while to resolve.

    It’s a darn shame because I loved the coffee with stevia.

  67. says

    I am inclined to agree with you about stevia. I have had some in my cupboard since Christmas and have only used it a couple of times and didn’t really like the taste of it. I have the raw green stuff with no fillers, but even so it just doesn’t sit well with me.

    I prefer to sweeten my food with dates as I know they are a whole food and it just seems more natural to me.

  68. MichelleM says

    You are entitled to your opinion but you really need to correct the blatantly false “facts” in your article. Truvia is a mix of stevia and erythritol, NOT xylitol. Two very different things. Truvia also states on their website that it does not contain GMO’s.

  69. maggie says

    Whahooo! Thanks for the info Chick. I knew I had an insulin response to stevia but I had no Idea where to find the science to support my hypothesis. Your a Blessing!

  70. Marissa says

    I just wanted to add to Maegan’s comment way up there… I too am reading & following the same plan the suggests not combining fuel sources.. This concept is mainly for weight-LOSS.. in other words, to get us out of this mess we have made of ourselves by eating all the processed, fat & carb combinations. Once at goal or ideal weight, the plan suggests eating a balanced diet of healthy carbs, healthy fats, ALWAYS centered around a healthy source of protein. just wanted to clarify that. (and I didn’t have time to read all the other comments so this may have been covered.)

  71. Stan says

    Do you have any reputable medical articles that reference any of the effects of stevia you mention here? The first one about glycogen, for example, does not seem to be supported at all in the actual medical profession, and the only source you give is a nutritionist who herself does not source her material. Do you know of any other reputable sources that cite these supposed effects of stevia on the body, in particular this reduction of glucose? I ask this because I eat natural, organic stevia regularly and due to a health condition I have my blood sugar checked frequently and there is NEVER any effect on my levels, at all.

  72. Henry says

    Hi Lauren,

    I believe your personal experience and knowledge could not be a conclusion that Stevia is not the best alternative against artificial sugars, if you can see in the market 99% of products offered presently contain artificial sweeteners and in consequence affecting drastically human health, however Stevia has several components as part of it steviol glycosides elements (Rebaudioside A, Stevioside, etc.) that makes it 300 times more sweet than sucralose or sugar and in fact less promoter of overweight and obesity as well as against diabetes illness.
    Being a natural product does not mean that it will be the replacement of proteins or carbo necessary for the body, moreover Stevia contributes to reduce blood pressure, tooth caries, overweight and minimal calories.

    About “Our bodies are not designed or evolved to handle calorie-free sweeteners”, the Stevia’s extract contains maltodextrine, dextrose components that coming from corn source, it does not means that those are GMO as you stated, moreover those components provide the conditions to use stevia powder directly to be consumed on food and beverages. (I’ve never seen products with glycerine and xylitol as you stated, from which source you obtained such information, needs to be clarified for all your followers and sustain your trust).
    Aftertaste is depending a lot of Stevia plant’s quality and variety than it have been used to obtain extract. This “bitter” taste depends principally for the extracting process used to obtain powder, however actually most of the main producers use water filtration to obtain better taste of their final products.
    The main point here is not pretend to charge all your needs on one product such Stevia if you are not complementing your intakes with balanced food (proteins and carbo), Stevia is an excellent product capable to contribute enormously to reduce the impact of overweight and obesity as well as diabetes into our population

    Your choice is taken, good luck with your honey intake but support strongly with facts your statements against Stevia properties and benefices for all the consumers of healthy product

    Cheers..!

  73. Kathryn says

    I agree that people use Stevia with too many additives. But your last statement is false and related to your personal experience. A well known strength coach uses stevia pills for RECOVERY from adrenal fatigue in his Olympic & professional athletes.
    Your other post indicated you didn’t do well low carb and having starches like squash helped, which I’ve seen work well for many people. Although I understand you want people to eat real food, that doesn’t mean you need fructose from fruit or honey daily for glycogen (women don’t burn through glycogen quickly, even after several days of hard workouts). Eating starchy vegetables or other foods that refill muscle glycogen better works fine, especially for those people trying to lose body fat who choose low carb.
    I teach nutrition as well and it’s tempting to only teach what works for you, but scaring people from a healthy sweetener without examples is misleading people from the point, to get healthy not follow only one way of eating.

  74. says

    I’m thrilled to see the discussion this topic invokes. Someone mentioned different strokes for different folks..absolutely. In the medical field, we call it biochemical individuality. No two people are the same and therefor we don’t all react to or need to eat or eliminate the same foods.

    As a Licensed Nutritionist for 12+ years, stevia is the one non-nutritive sweetener I recommend. Though if a person is in great health, eating primarily veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, clean eggs and meat, and exercising, they are encouraged to use small amounts of real maple syrup.

    Though for those eating processed foods, using splenda and aspartame regularly, I highly recommend making the switch to stevia. It’s all relative. Though it goes without saying that a pure form of stevia is essential.

    I personally am an advocate for pure stevia, considering the ridiculous levels of sugar consumption which has led to the decline of our health. I think to scare people into not using it causes more public confusion which is responsible for so many people throwing up their arms and refusing to care about nutrition. Stevia does come from a plant and is a relatively safe alternative for people looking to reduce sugar levels in their diet.

  75. sabi says

    If I didn’t have to use stevia, I would gladly use honey, maple syrup or the like…but my glycogenic system and insulin producing beta cells are not functioning, so I cannot even enjoy fruit without raising my blood glucose. Along with several other insulin dependent diabetics, we can’t share your condemnation. But thanks for the rant!

  76. Kayla says

    Hi Lauren! Your website has literally saved the lives of my mom and I. We’ve been struggling with severe and chronic candida, intestinal issues, and food allergies for over twenty years and the only thing that has EVER made sense is Empowered Sustenance. My question, as far as sugar is concerned, is whether or not coconut sugar is okay? I buy Madhava Organic Caramelized Coconut Sugar. I can’t believe I’ve been using stevia for the past few years! I always felt an adverse reaction but was never sure exactly what it was. Because of my leaky gut, I’m also doing low to no oxalate food. Too bad I have an obsession with chocolate! ;) So I MUST find a good sweetener in the meantime. (I have yet to go get local honey.) Thank you! I know God will use you in mighty ways. It only took a morning of desperate prayers to lead me to your page three hours later. :)

    • says

      Thank you for your kind words, your comment is such a blessing to me! Coconut sugar is great in moderation but there is some concern from an environmental perspective that it is not sustainable. I think raw honey is the bomb :)

  77. Divyesh says

    I would like to know more about stevia.

    Can you please send the details if you know?

    Thanks a lot.

    Regards,
    Divyesh

  78. says

    Interesting post Lauren. Have you thought of trying whole stevia? It’s way better for your health since it doesn’t involve weird ingredients and the like and since it doesn’t go through chemical processing. Plus imo the taste is honestly better (in small quantities of course).

  79. lita says

    I don’t use any artificial sweeteners because they make me feel sick, nauseous. Sometimes I don’t find out something is ‘diet’ or ‘light’ until I’ve had a bite or sip and my stomach starts to turn, so I read the label or ask does this have sucralose or something, and the answer is always yes. Recently I’ve been taking a healthy meal replacement shake, and I’ve noticed the same feeling, so I looked and no sucralose, but upon further investigation in ‘other ingredients’ was listed stevia. I assume this is causing my nauseousnesss. I had thought maybe it was the almond milk ive been putting with it, but that has cane sugar in it, which I know I like :) lol. any thoughts?

  80. Jim Catano says

    Sorry if this repeats someone else’s post, but I wonder if green stevia has fewer negative properties compared to the white hyper-refined variety. It probably won’t matter to me because I’ve never liked the aftertaste, but people I love do use it.

  81. Eva says

    Truvia is not made with xylitol. I’m wondering why you haven’t corrected your post? I do not buy this whoe lie that the body needs glucose in the form of sugar to function properly. I have been using stevia and Truvia for four months with awesome results. I’ve lost 40 pounds with 20 more to go. After being mostly sugar free for months, I had maple syrup on my waffles and got so sick that I had to go home from work. I remember feeling like crap the whole time I consumed any thing with sugar grams in it (including honey) . I feel great now that I’ve switched to stevia and I have TONS more energy.

  82. says

    1. Stevia is not inducing a staste of hypoglycemia & there is no scientific evidence for it. It is true that the sweeteness of stevia is getting the body started, but in a way where the pancreas is releasing it’s digestive enzymes. Foods eaten with stevia are digested easier as the digestive juices are activated, stevia also has anti-bacterial properties that further support the digestive process by making sure that no harmful bacteria(candida) gets the upper hand . A state of stress induced by stevia is not the case, it’s not a stimulant. On that note any sweetener good or bad in conjuction with coffee would take it’s toll on the system, but purely because of the coffee.

    2. She mentiones additives in stevia. This can only be the case if a product of inferior quality is purchased and can simply be avoided by reading the label. I recommend not to buy white stevia powder or liquid. As it already has undergone a process of refinement and does not contain it’s full healing potential. THE BEST IS: Stevia in form of fresh or dried leafes, green powder( = ground leafes) or as stevia green whole extract. 100% Stevia

    Edible Alchemy 3. Stevia being high in oxalates….All fruits and vegetable contain oxalates, and often it goes hand in hand with anti oxidants or dense nutritional value. So that some contain more than others, But all contain them. Strawberries are very high in oxalates, yet wonderful.

    4. Stevia has an aftertaste. But much much less if you get the non-refined stevia e.g Stevia in form of fresh or dried leafes, green powder( = ground leafs) or as stevia green whole extract. 100% Stevia And is very mush personal taste that can be balanced with other awesome foods.

    5. CAndida is not being feed by Stevia an therefore the best alternative when being on a everyday or candida diet. Parsnip, pumpkin, carrots, beetroot etc. all these veggies are being broken down into glucose and will sufficiently feed the candida for a gentle step by step recovery to rebalance the system. http://ediblefoods.com.au/who-and-what-is-candida/

    Who and What is Candida? | edible alchemy
    ediblefoods.com.au
    multi-disciplinary health food studio

    6. Glycogen production is actually very supported by stevia. As stevia is getting the digestive juices going, particularly in the pancreas it will support the digestion and absorption of other foods so that it’s easier to establish these glycogen reserves. Stevia might not build glycogen, however Crystal salt, cinnamon, water also do not build glycogen and are yet essentially great.

    • says

      I think you bring up great points and a few of these points are just matters of “agreeing to disagree” and not an exact right or wrong. I do think stevia can be a transition step away from processed sugars for some people. I’m glad you enjoy the rest of my posts!

  83. Rickster says

    As a diabetic, I try to avoid sugar and carbs. However, there are times when I need to use a non-sugar sweetener, as in my coffee. Given a choice between something that grows from the ground, versus something that came from the laboratory, I am going to choose the natural alternative. That is why I use Stevia.

  84. Sabina Norman says

    Hi, discovered your site after searching Stevia – side effects’. I had the worst reaction to a food I have ever had when I first cooked with stevia last weekend. I had to throw out two hours of baking; it was indeible. I experienced headaches, nausea, dizziness and had to lie down after just minor testing of a cookies batch. I felt sick in the stomach for the next 48 hours and could not seem to get the taste out of my mouth. It was 100% powdered stevia and used minimally. It was after week 2 of a anti-candida diet so my body may have been not used to sweetness (although I have still been consuming 2 fruits daily on my version of the diet). As I have an iron constitution (I can eat anything usually), I found this experience quite disturbing. I doubt I will be buying this ingredient again.

  85. SuzanneEnnazus says

    I heard that they weren’t sure if to allow Stevia to be legal in the USA because of course too much of anything is a bad thing, and many Americans can’t control their food consumption.

  86. Mike says

    I read your article with interest. As a 71-year old male, who has never been overweight, and am not diabetic, I switched to ‘Splenda’ about 2 years ago, as I thought that 20-plus spoonfuls of sugar I had been taking all my life were (possibly) bad for me.

    But I have always been in a dilemma of which is the worst!

    • says

      Splenda is not the same as stevia. Splenda and other chemically-produced sweeteners like aspartame (“Sweet and Low”) are carcinogenic and are actually worse than sugar. For the healthiest sweeteners, use real food like raw honey, 100% pure maple syrup, fresh fruit, dates, etc.

  87. alpha1 says

    LOL what you wrote perhaps is applicable to a person on keto diet devoid of any carbs … but seriously anyone living in todays world just cannot avoid carbs.

    Thus you are never at risk of running out of “glycogen stores”.
    Neither can I buy your allegation that the body assumes it is going to get glucose from the food, but it doesn’t and thus causes a stress on the body which is harmful.

    So you mean:
    When a human smells food, his ody starts assuming that he will have a stomachfull of that delicious meal, and when he doesn’t get the food, it would cause stress which can cause harm to his health.
    Oh damn, but you forgot that bakers and cooks live in very such environment since written history.

    So you mean:
    When a guy sees a girl and his mind gets horny, his body assumes that he is going to mate. But since in most cases this doesn’t happen, his body should go into stress, and perhaps harm his body?
    In that case none of the males would live beyond the teenage!

    • says

      The body can assume it will get glucose from food when the sweet taste is on the tongue. This is evolutionarily wired in us. The tongue has a unique communication system with the entire body, it is called neuro-lingual communication. As a matter of fact, there is a scope of practice called “neuro-lingual testing” which utilizes this response in the body to determine what supplements/foods the body wants. The body responds to taste/substances on the tongue in a way that is distinctly unique and it is not scientific or reasonable to relate this to simply smelling a food or lust.

  88. Bread says

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with your post. I don’t see anything supporting your claims, not even a clinical study. There are a lot of Stevia brands out there. You seemed to generalized it. One bad seed doesn’t make the whole bunch bad. I wonder how many stevia brands you tried to make you say those claims? For all you know, you probably tried a bad/inferior stevia brand or consumed a combination of food that didn’t agree with your body.

    I agree with you on the part of consuming natural sugars like honey, dates, fruits, etc., but I don’t support your claim that stevia is not natural. Stevia came from the stevia plant as honey came from the bees, and as coconut nectar came from coconut. All came from a natural source. It still to me boils down to how the product was processed and ingredients mixed to it.

    It just not seem fair, considering the studies done about its health benefits, when you are just basing everything on your assumptions which you didn’t elaborate how you got to that conclusions or what tests you’ve done to verify that stevia caused that symptoms. Like, if I go to the doctor and tell him I suspect I have Celiak desease. He probably will have to ask me a lot of questions and have me take some test to confirm.

    I’ve read that generally there are no negative reactions to taking stevia as it has been existing far more longer than sucralose or aspartame. There were some negative reports, probably around 1% to 2% of the population, but still don’t have any conclusive finding or still have to undergone further investigation. What if you are one of those 2%? Same with honey – not all people can tolerate or accept it. Some people are even allergic to mangoes.

    So why is stevia not good? Artificial you said it is?

  89. Isbel Ingham says

    I can’t tell you how reassuring your post is. I am not an “allergic” person in general, but I’m violently allergic to stevia. In fact, before I figured it out, I went to urgent care twice because of the pain I was in. Of course, they had no idea I ate stevia, nor did they know to look for it. Had I not just had a colonoscopy, I would have been sent to the ER. Instead, the doc put me on a double dose of antibiotics. I hadn’t take antibiotics in years!
    Now stevia is in so much, and I can’t eat any of it. The littlest bit sets me off. Thank you.

  90. Melissa says

    I am not looking for any negative comments or criticism. I am just sharing a personal experience and nothing more.

    For those individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, my uncle’s endocrinologist recommended he eat cinnamon everyday, whether it was mixed in a hot cup of water or in a meal, to help regulate his blood sugar levels. And I eat a tablespoon of raw honey with a teaspoon of cinnamon daily for health benefits.

    Here is a little bit of info:

    diabetes – cinnamon may help improve glucose and lipids levels3 in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetics Care.

    The study authors concluded that consuming up to 6 grams of cinnamon per day “reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.” and that “the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

    In addition, a certain cinnamon extract can reduce fasting blood sugar levels in patients, researchers reported in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation.

    My uncle lived with diabetes for a very long time. He did pass away due to lung cancer.

  91. presa1200 says

    This post has some interesting points and caught my attention. I think you’re right, if anyone studied biology before surely will understand why our body needs sugar; it’s the main source of energy!

    Nothing beats the taste and goodness of natural honey.

  92. Trish says

    I’ve been using stevia for years now. I have gotten pregnant three times during that time without any difficulty conceiving. I did discover a few years ago about the maltodextrin in the stevia I was using, and switched to liquid. I also have a stevia plant that I use and prefer when fresh leaves are available. Though I think it’s good to research and know why you choose to use a certain food/product, I wouldn’t base my opinions on one nutritionist/scientist’s statement. Nutritionists and Scientists can also be opinionated for one reason or another. They have been using stevia in other countries for year upon years without any issues, countries that have much lower obesity rates, lower cancer and heart disease rates, etc. Compare that with all the issues that come from the chemical sweeteners in the US. As far as the blogger comment, “Stevia is “sweet” on the palate, so the body assumes it is receiving sugar and primes itself to do so.”, I just don’t know about that. I doubt that it’s the ‘taste’ of foods that makes our bodies react.

    I guess what I am saying is that different things are good or not good for different people. We know that processed foods are not good for anybody, but when it comes to health foods, some work for some, and others work for others. I wouldn’t just flat out call something unhealthy, because it could be a great benefit to people in certain situations. Stevia is known to actually help many diabetics, and if it gets them away from refined sugar or dangerous chemical sweeteners then that is great. Furthermore, I have read blogs similar to this one who are anti-honey and sound just as convincing. I think first we just need to understand that the best way to go is natural whole foods. Secondly we need to remember that food is our medicine, and especially herbs. That means that we don’t all need the same thing as everyone else, or at different times will need different things. Some things will work well for some people, while they will not work at all for others. As an example, I don’t eat soy products because it acts like estrogen in the body, but others could use the soy products at certain times in their lives for it’s estrogen mimicking benefits. It seems that for every prescription medication out there, there is a real natural medicine that will do the same thing. The problem is that people just don’t know enough about them to do any real good with it, or people think that because something didn’t work for them or had a negative side effect that it’s “bad for everyone”. I don’t look at it that way. I feel that the more we learn about these natural choices, we will see that it is just like pharmaceutical medicine in that it certain things will greatly help one person, but not another, and maybe even harmful to some, depending on their personal condition and health issues.

  93. syrup says

    I could agree with this possibly if you are talking processed stevia but I am not convinced if you are talking raw (green) stevia (which btw- you don’t just put into tea etc as mentioned here in an amazon discussion:
    “Using Raw Green Stevia leaves to sweeten
    How to extract the sweetness from leaf form stevia, February 14, 2013
    By
    Big E – See all my reviews
    This review is from: Pure Green Stevia Powder – All Natural Product 1lb (16oz) (Health and Beauty)
    You have to extract the sweetness yourself, when using the whole or powdered leaf, simply adding it in this form to your food or beverage will more than likely provide nothing in the form of sweetness unless the fluids are hot and can at least extract some of the sweetness, Simply you place a pot on your stove say a quart size, add water and around 2 tablespoons of stevia, in this form and then reduce your water after bringing it to a boil and reducing the heat after it comes to a boil and again reduce your water by half and it will be sweet, its not as strange tasting as some of the extracts can be in the store, the more you reduce the water the sweeter the fluid extract will be, but you do not have to reduce to say tablespoons of water, left in the pot, it will provide enough sweetness when done this way for say a smoothie made in the blender if one is trying to reduce their sugar intake, or a pitcher of tea, Do not blame the product only the absence of knowledge of how to obtain the sweetness :)

  94. Renee' says

    I agree with the post. I have suffered from various health problems and founds that stevia made it worse. Stevia caused many fluctuations in my blood sugar levels. After trying Stevia a few times in the past, I have never resorted to it again. Like the post stated, raw honey is the best substitute for a sweet tooth and is full of nutrients.

    • Lisa says

      Honey is very high in fructose and is not really good for you on a regular basis. I am confused as to how stevia raises your blood sugar but honey does not? Hmmm…

  95. Mat says

    Hi, I read through your post… It very much reads like someone who is trying to convince themselves … It’s not scientific or logical… Perhaps if you reference your facts so others can see where you are getting this info it would be more useful. I could list of a dozen arguments that are seriously flawed. But I don’t have the time… I’ll just pick on your first sentence. “Our bodies are not designed or evolved to handle calorie-free sweeteners”. Evolution requires someone to die, “natural selection” culls out animals/plants that are unable to survive a particular predator/disease/infection etc… Natural sweeteners have not been around long enough for evolution to have select out a subset of humans who have adapted to it. That would take hundreds of thousands of years. On the other hand Stevia has been in use by humans for at least several hundred years. It has higher credentials than processed sugars in my opinion. I could go on an on about your logic and mis-information. Many people will read what you’ve written and assume it is based on properly researched facts… so I have to rate you poorly on this post. I would suggest referencing the science in future posts to ensure that you don’t produce content that is misleading and factually incorrect. At least if you reference someone who is a cooke others can see that for themselves… If you are referencing a paper from google schollar, university or scientific journal then people will have some confidence in what you have written.

    ta.

  96. Beth says

    Thank you so much for your comments re stevia. I eat a gluten free as well as caffeine free diet. I try to eat mostly whole foods as well. Anyway, I have been using Stevia Leaf (pure stevia) and have been having adrenal/thyroid problems as well as cysts in my hands. When I think about it my problems seemed to have started when I began using stevia. Hmmm. I actually did not have any today and have felt better. Thus, I am quitting it and using honey. I’ll let you know if I recover.

    • Dina says

      Beth… have you felt better after quitting the Stevia? I just discovered that it has been affecting me adversly. (I have hashimotos/adrenal fatique)

  97. says

    I don’t think stevia is bad for everybody. Most of the information in the article seemed like speculation. If you add stevia to something and it tastes bad then you put in too much. You usually only need a small amount since it’s so concentrated. It’s like anything else, if you don’t like it or have a negative reaction then avoid it. I drink sodas that contain stevia and erythritol and I don’t have a problem. I like some of the flavors (Zevia and Blue Sky Zero brands) and some I don’t. Occasionally I will put just two or three drops (I think Stevita brand) in my tea and it works well to sweeten it.

    As for autoimmune disorders you may experience improvement by going off dairy. A lady who works with the website http://www.vegsource.com told me hers improved a lot when she did that.

  98. Beth says

    Hi Lauren,

    You might also like to know that caffeine can really tax your adrenals as well as your thyroid. I realized that it was making me lose my hair. Look up what Dr. Mark Hyman says about caffeine. It can cause one to become insulin resistant. For me, green tea as well as Yerba Matte were the worst, I have noticed a great improvement after quitting all caffeine! I know people from Bastyr used to promote green tea as well as soy, but those things really hurt me.

  99. Beth says

    Hi Lauren. Good for you having your own mind and opinions. Maybe by now Bastyr has changed. I saw 3 of their providers, but that was about 7 years ago.

    On another note, I would like to support what you have said here regarding stevia. I remember reading that Dr. Elaine Gottschall, the author of “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” said that people with Chrohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Celiac Disease, Cystic Fibrosis and Chronic Diarrhea should not use stevia. I suspect she would also add leaky gut to the list as well as dysbiosis (having more bad bacteria than good in one’s gut). It may be that people who do not have such problems, do not have negative reactions to stevia and are fine using it. For myself, I believe I have leaky gut and dysbiosis which I believe may be the eventual cause of the other diseases unless treated with a good diet and probiotics. That’s just my opinion though.

    When are you starting at Bastyr? Are you from Seattle? ( You don’t have to reply to this. Just wondering). I live near Seattle.

  100. Kathleen says

    Hi there!!! Was your article referring to processed stevia? I am curious to know where you came across the information about stevia and the adrenal glands. I don’t care for sweeteners (artificial or natural) but after exhaustive research I decided to grow and dry my own stevia and use it as my sweetener (I make my own extract and I grind dried leaves to a powder). If there is a potential down side I am very interested since it would be easy to ditch!! Since the steviol glycosides in natural leaf stevia are metabolized in the colon and are not absorbed, and there is no effect on the body other than the sense of sweetening at what point in the metabolic process are the adrenal glands affected?

  101. Melissa D. says

    I have adrenal fatigue. I’m tired and wired all the time. I also have low estrogen and high FSH. I use one packet of stevia in my morning coffee. I drink half a cup. Do you think the stevia could be fueling my adrenal fatigue?

    • Lisa says

      Melissa,
      Your coffee alone could be affecting your adrenals. Caffeine is really taxing on them; I’d worry more about that than the stevia :)

  102. Lisa says

    This is a very interesting article–thank you for posting.
    There is no citation for evidence that stevia causes your body to react to the sweetness of stevia as if it were sugar, even in the original article that you use as a citation.
    I don’t doubt that it is possible, but without the evidence, the argument does not hold much water.

  103. Buz Mayo says

    Thanks for your post! As a 60 year old male who wants to eat well (read ‘healthy’, not perfectly), I have been through 20 years of evolutionary thinking about sugars. Focus on coffee: in the 90′s I went from white sugar to sweet ‘n low, thinking I was beating the system. After years of that I returned to ‘sugar in the raw’ because it ‘looked and sounded’ natural; Then Splenda had the appearance of better health. I soon learned that wasn’t true. Now I have been using Stevia from different manufacturers for over 18 months.

    I’m a little frustrated to think that maybe its not the silver bullet that I had hoped. Although I can’t tie any bad health outcomes to stevia, I must admit that I have some insomnia/difficulty sleeping and I’m wondering if it might be tied to Stevia. Raw studies that don’t have an agenda are hard to come by. I’m searching and I appreciate your perspective. I don’t use sweetener in almost any other forms other than coffee and tea (of course I get sugars from other foods in my ‘smoothies of spinach, blueberries & bananas). Maybe honey is the way to go. I don’t think I’ll ever make the switch to black coffee. But I love ‘coffee my way’ w/ coconut milk & stevia. So this is disruptive. Thanks! Buz

  104. Leo marini says

    I disagree with your article.
    You should change the title of it.
    Of course you need to have a balanced diet. That’s no brainier….
    Stevia is not supposed to replace fruits as you mentioned in your article.
    It’s to replace “sugar” or splenda/aspartame.
    In the end the small amount you put of stevia here and there won’t affect your health.
    If a person drinks 10 cups of coffee per day & puts sugar on all of them, you have a problem
    Even by changing to stevia, still is too much.
    Anything in excess is bad, even over-exercise can damage your muscles.
    Moderation is the key.
    And your article is bad for people trying to cut on the extra calories they have by eating stevia.
    You should give the whole picture and don’t expect everyone to have the cleanest diet ever.
    Honey is good, too much is not (you put weight on you).
    Again, moderation is the best choice.

    My 5 cents

  105. elissaf says

    You are committing an error by using the studies on artificial sweeteners (artificial sweeteners reduce insulin sensitiv while and extrapolating their results to stevia.

    Studies show that unlike aspartame and saccharine (the two chemicals the soft drink study), stevia increases insulin sensitivity.

    This makes a large part of your article wrong, but also does a disservice to the dietng community, who should know that while not perfect, stevia is miles ahead of the dangerous artificial sweeteners on the market.

    • says

      I didn’t take the results of studies on artificial sweeteners and extrapolate their results to stevia. I heartily agree that stevia is miles ahead of the horribly unhealthful artificial sweeteners, but I don’t think it is preferable over fruits/honey or even an absence of sweeteners.

  106. Dina says

    Lauren… THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am very new to the eating clean bandwagon, so I am at the beginning of the long bumpy road. I have so far given-up gluten, and was feeling better until I switched to Stevia. It completely zapped my energy immediately. I also developed body aches & pains and irritability.
    The brand I was using was “Stevia in the raw” which listed Dextrose and stevia leaf extract as it’s ingredients.
    I will be reading your other articles to help with this journey.

  107. absy says

    have u considered doing low carb diet ?
    it’s the most powerful and healthiest way to eat.

    read this great book :The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by volek and phinney

    i luv Stevia ,it works great with this diet cuz it doesn’t rise my insulin levels.

    thanx and big fan of ur great articles .

  108. Mattias says

    Wow, I always had a hunch about zero-carb sweeteners tricking insuline levels. Thank you for the heads up. Could you do a article explaining everythign from glucose, glycogen, insulin an dwhat is converted to what and when. Because that is always confusing to me. Or please point me to a great article.

  109. Kelly Golder says

    Lauren, you’ve quoted many people in your article, all who’ve made false presumptions and who’ve failed to cite scientific studies in their assertions. The first wild assumption that you’ve linked to is ‘Kate nolastname – certified nutritionist’ who asserts that when a person eats stevia, they have an automatic drop in glucose levels causing hypoglycaemia because stevia is sweet on the tongue. Really? Where does this garbage come from? If our bodies went into hypoglycaemia every time we tasted something sweet on the tongue we’d constantly be trying to regain simple homeostasis from having a cup of naturally sweet tea.
    With the obesity epidemic and as a certified person working in nutrition, you should not be scaring people back to eating sugar and honey. Please respect the caloric content and the effects that each have on insulin levels. I suppose it’d be better if people were to become diabetic before we review the worser evil of sugar and calorific sweeteners, insulin resistance, sugar addiction, diabetes and obesity.
    I can’t even get into your assertions that stevia mimics hormones, this unfounded misinformation is just infuriating to read.

    • says

      Many, many people experience hypoglycemia when they taste stevia, because the sweet isn’t accompanied by glucose ad they’ve discovered this by using a blood sugar monitor. As I explained in the post, this is not as detrimental when the stevia is accompanied by another source of carbs.

      As for the “unfounded misinformation” about the quote I took from Sarah, here are her sources:
      Brusick DJ. A critical review of the genetic toxicity of steviol and steviol glycosides. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Jul;46 Suppl 7:S83-91.

      Mazzei Planas G and Kuć J. Contraceptive properties of Stevia rebaudiana. Science. 1968 Nov 29;162(3857):1007.

      Melis MS Effects of chronic administration of Stevia rebaudiana on fertility in rats Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1999 Nov 67(2):157–161

      Melis MS. Chronic administration of aqueous extract of Stevia rebaudiana in rats: renal effects. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1995. July 47(3):129–134

      Oliveira-Filho RM et al. Chronic administration of aqueous extract of Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.) Bertoni in rats: Endocrine effects. General Pharmacology: The Vascular System. 1989. 20(2):187–191

      • Joe Haselhorst says

        “In rats”? All but one study before the year 2000? Chronic administration? Contraception?

        None of these studies seem to prove a link between Stevia taste and chronic adrenal response–if I misunderstand your premise, I apologize and would appreciate further clarification.

        OH, and if you read the review on genetic toxicity studies from the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal, it states that NO genetic toxicity link can be found in any of the studies reviewed.

        • says

          I noticed the dates on these studies too. Seem to be quite dated.

          As for the first study from 2008 that addresses the issue of genetic toxicity. It is likely a study in response to studies such as the one below (2002).

          Mutagenicity of steviol and its oxidative derivatives in Salmonella typhimurium TM677
          Terai T, Ren H, Mori G, Yamaguchi Y, Hayashi T.

          Abstract
          Stevioside is natural non-caloric sweetner isolated from Stevia rebaudiana BERTONI, which has been used as a non-caloric sugar substitute in Japan. Pezzuto et al. demonstrated that steviol shows a dose-dependent positive response in forward mutation assay using Salmonella typhimurium TM677 in the presence of metabolic activation system (Aroclor induced rat liver S9 fraction). Our studies were carried out to identify the genuine mutagenic active substance from among the eight steviol derivatives. Steviol indicate almost similar levels of mutagenicity under the presence of S9 mixture, as reported by Pezzuto et al. 15-Oxo-steviol was found to be mutagenic at the one tenth the level of steviol itself under the presence of S9 mixture. Interestingly, specific mutagenicity of the lactone derivative under the presence of S9 mixture was ten times lower than that of the lactone derivative without the addition of S9 mixture.

          I found it odd that this this blog failed to mention the worry about stevia being a potential mutagen when it’s goals were to bash stevia. I myself, don’t exactly believe that stevia will in fact cause mutation as more recent studies seem to be disproving this, but I am more more concerned of mutation as a possible effect of stevia than “taxing the adrenals” or it’s affects on insulin.

          If I was to write a blog on stevia (which I am). I would address the more concrete issues of stevia such as the FDA’s concern for genetic toxicity of whole leaf stevia. While steviol glycoside extracts have been approved for use by the FDA at >95% as a result of adequate toxicological information, whole leaf stevia has NOT been approved by the FDA.

          Also, I’d like to see a quality study showing how caffeine causes adrenal fatigue, because I have yet to read a quality study on caffeine that does not find that our body is very capable of adapting to chronic caffeine intake.

    • Mike says

      She’s a snake oil peddler like the rest of these new age hipster Paleo nutjobs. What do you expect? Science, meh… who cares?

  110. Mike says

    Oh, and if you enjoy a chemical free lifestyle, then you probably would cease to exist, because every element is a chemical.

    This is where a failing education system gets us, folks!

  111. Renee says

    Can you please provide resources regarding sugar and adrenal health?

    As an individual who is recovering from candida, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, and hypoglycemia, I did do a candida diet per my ND’s recommendation, along with natural anti-fungals and leaky gut repair. My adrenals did feel taxed, but I thought it was more related to the healing reactions, not the lack if sugar.

    Also, it’s my understanding that an individual who has adrenal fatigue induced hypoglycemia needs to restrict sugar in all forms because it can be detrimental to blood glucose levels, setting the stage for diabetes.

    Please advise…

  112. Joe Haselhorst says

    Two important facts: 1) Krebbs Cycle. Understand it or you do not understand nutrition. 2) While personal experiences may be helpful for you in some specific metabolic processes (e.g. lactose tolerance), they do not apply to everyone or sometimes anyone else. True understanding is based on published statistical research. None of that is offered in many “nutrition” articles or blogs. However, I thank you for taking the time to provide a forum to stimulate understanding.

  113. Bob says

    Pseudo-science babel talk. Have you ever heard of an insulin receptor. Hint – they are not taste buds. Sweet does not equal insulin response. Guess what, pure fructose does not cause the immediate insulin response that glucose causes. Why? Because fructose has to be converted by the liver to glucose before the insulin receptor even knows it is there. Yet fructose taste sweet, just like glucose and stevia. There goes your theory hypothesis that the sweet taste of stevia causes insulin release leading to hypoglycemia.

    Reference for the curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin_receptor

    PS – Truvia contains no xylitol. It is mostly erythritol with a little stevia extract mixed in. You probably have the same arguments against erythritol as you have for xylitol, but they are most definitely not the same thing.

  114. Stephanie says

    I just bought “Stevia in The Raw.” This is my first time buying and using this product. I feel nauseated after using it. Additionally, I’m perspiring, I developed an instant headache and lightheadedness and my heart rate seems accelerated.

  115. says

    Yeah, I love the stuff. I try not to starve myself throughout the day while eating stevia.

    Um you’ve brought up interesting points about cortisol and adrenaline.

    I may go out and buy a blood glucose meter and watch my libido.

  116. Julian says

    I feel after reading posts on your blog that you likely suffer from orthorexia. I was inclined that way when I was younger. Don’t worry. When you get a bit older you’ll see there are other things to do than worry about the evils of stevia….

    • says

      For those who are not familiar with the term, “orthorexia” means an obsession with eating only healthy foods and nitpicking about it. I can see how you would make this assumption, but it is not true. For many individuals like me, we come from a place of severe illness and the only way we are able to reach recovery is by being very careful about what we put into (an on) our bodies. Once the gut has healed (i.e. preventing the triggering of autoimmune antibodies) we are often able to “loosen up” our diet without triggering symptoms of disease.

  117. chris neglia says

    what you said, and that it tastes like crap. luo han guo or monkfruit, buddhafruit or Siraitia grosvenorii is a very welcome alternative to these stupid garbage sweeteners. It tastes like honey. Little known secret- you can find the dried pods at a chinese grocery– you break off pieces and put in boiling water for a very nice honey flavored tea. Much cheaper than extracts from health food stores. xylitol is the best tasting alt sugar, but it gives you explosive diarrhea in your pants so it’s a no go.

  118. Mrs O says

    Have you heard of Fructooligosaccharide? It is an alternative sugar that is popular in Asia. It is commonly found in the Korean markets and many households use it in place of corn syrup or sugar.. but I never see it on the shelves anywhere in US stores, maybe in health stores, but I didn’t notice. Anybody know anything of it? It’s supposed to be very good for you, and not uber expensive. It comes in liquid form.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716115728.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_health+(ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Health+News)

  119. Askeptic says

    Lauren, I have a question regarding your opinion.
    Are you really a believer in homeopathy, despite the glaring gaps when put under scientific scrutiny? I thought your whole website and blog concept was refreshing and unique, but your promotion of ‘homeopathic remedies’ delegitimises the whole thing in my eyes. Homeopathy is a ridiculous concept to begin with, and still uses archaic beliefs from science, despite being obviously proven wrong.
    For instance, the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, thought that giving you a plant that caused the symptoms of your sickness could cure your sickness; a ridiculous concept that has been conclusively proven wrong. Furthermore, the dilution involved in ‘homeopathic remedies’ is astounding: on average, not even 1 molecule of the original substance is included in the marketed ’50C’ dilution.

  120. Leslie says

    Very interesting, thanks. I do suspect that not every body will react in the same way to either stevia or sugar(s); and for people like Robin, above, who has Type 1 diabetes, the benefits of stevia may outweigh its downsides.

    But you’ve raised several points that I hadn’t seen mentioned before, and I’m going to be doing more research on this, so thanks again!

  121. kristina says

    Hello! I just got done reading this artical and loved it . I have been using stevia and just didnt like it so i decided i would be done with it , but my question is , i have a big beautiful stevia plant in my herb garden, is it ok to use the plant as an herb? During the summer one of my favorite things to do is infuse water with fruit and other good for you stuff but i like to add stevia to the water. Is the herb out in my garden the same thing as whats in the store? It sure doesnt tast the same.

  122. Sue says

    Hi, I need to tell my Stevia story. I will freely admit to not reading all of the comments first :-)

    I started using Stevia in my coffee in March, 2013. I just wanted to cut some calories from my diet.

    I started having very bad, burning indigestion in the summer of 2013, eating things like watermelon, romaine lettuce, fiber one bars, and just one bottle of Coors lite beer. All of these things had never caused me any trouble before. I also noticed I would get very tired after my morning coffee.

    I got a very bad sinus infection in August, right after school started. I work in an elementary school, so a first of the year “sickness” from all of the kids coming back from vacation was a normal thing.

    Fast forward to November. Three rounds of antibiotics and worsening nasal problems…I was now diagnosed with nasal polyps. EVERYTHING, including water it seemed like, was giving me indigestion. My doctor scheduled me for a CT scan of my head.

    This is where I sat down and said, “What have I done differently since the last time I had no health problems?” I have been extremely healthy my entire life (I am 60), so I was suspicious that it was something I was doing. I began to Google…

    This was when I found that Stevia is a member of the ragweed family. I have had a few issues with some of the foods in this family, such as cantaloupe and bananas, and have never been able to eat them without stomach distress.

    Basically what was happening to me was that every morning in my 2 cups of coffee, I added Stevia. Then ANYTHING else that I ate that was a member of the ragweed family would cause me heartburn and nasal distress. And…because the body does not know what to do with Stevia, I would get very tired, kind of a “crash” that real sugar would have prevented.

    3 weeks before the CT scan, I threw out the Stevia, went back to my teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, and by the time of the CT scan, the nasal polyps had disappeared. When my doctor called with the results the next day, he couldn’t believe that they had disappeared. I told him the same story I am telling here today. My doctor knew nothing of the side effects of Stevia. Actually he knew nothing of Stevia, period.

    It has been eight weeks since I quit Stevia, and I am back to normal…finally!

    (The reason I wrote this long story on this site is to thank all of the people that wrote their stories on blogs that I have used over the years to make decisions about everything!)

  123. says

    Great Article!!! I have to agree with the other diabetics that chimed in, as a type 1 Stevia is my go to at this point. I would think other sweeteners such as coconut sugar would send my blood sugars through the roof and just open me up to a host of other health related issues. The only thing I particularly like about stevia is that I do not need to bolus for it. The only stevia that I currently use is the liquid version as to your point certain powdered versions contain a bunch of added fillers.

    I also use raw honey as well, which I love…but again its a slippery slope when it comes to managing my sugars. Thanks for the great info!! :-D

  124. Rahm says

    We live to die. It is just the matter of when. Everything you eat or drink has it’s side affect. For me, I choose to exercise and eat pretty clean and so my results of how long I’m going live will probably be a very old age. So you can tell I’m a person that lives by results as should so many people should be. If Stevia will cause me pain and really damage me internally and externally I will stop using it. If not and I could live past 65 without sufficient health problems I’m alright with that. “There is always a catch to something.”-Rahm

  125. Loni says

    I am suffering from Hashimoto’s and my sister has been on a stevia only “Trim Healthy Momma” diet so I thought I would give stevia a chance. I’ve taken anatomy and physiology 1 & 2 in school so the blood sugar theory you have concerning stevia made instant sense to me. I tried Stevia in the Raw and it was so gross. It left a terrible after-taste that lingered on my tongue for longer than I’d like to admit. I’m glad I found your blog because I was wondering how this would affect thyroid function. I see now that I would rather use raw honey or even “evil” cane sugar than this stevia stuff. I even heard that it was known to cause fertility problems and as a fellow autoimmune disease sufferer I’m sure you can understand my worries on that. Now I just need to concentrate on how to lose weight with my pesky disease. I’m currently trying gluten-free/Paleo but we will see how it goes.

  126. Chuck says

    You will be happy to note that Stevia products are and have been available for some time with greatly reduced or no stevioside.

    Though I’m not certain that we couldn’t stand a percentage of the population becoming sterile…

    I use the stuff as a diabetic but also still use honey, tree syrups & fruits in my diet. As a type II diabetic, my liver pumps too much glucose and giving it more is a poor idea.

  127. Kenton Forshee says

    Last Sunday I realized that my very sore tongue and mouth problems are due to stevia. I’ve been away from stevia for 4 days and within those 4 days my tongue and mouth problems completely disappeared, and prior to that I’d had problems for weeks. No more stevia for me.

  128. Peter says

    Lauren – my story.

    I am a 60-year-old man who, until three years ago, was in good overall health. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol or take drugs. I gave up sugar on the advice of an old friend. I was addicted to it, like many people. So three years ago I started taking Stevia drops in my tea and coffee. About two years ago my stomach started to swell up, my intestines feel like they were being ‘pumped up’ with a bicycle pump, and my organs feel like they are swelling against each other. I am now in such pain that they have given me two CT scans (another next month = that’s a lot of radiation), six X-Rays, and goodness knows how many blood tests and examinations. But . . . yep, they think I am a mental case and that I don’t have anything better to do with my meagre weekly allowance than visit doctors and hand over cash. (I can’t stand the arrogance and patronizing attitudes of the medical ‘profession.) I can no longer do the toilet without three powerful GP-only medications, and even they don’t work as well as they used to. My surgeon thinks it is all in my mind; my GP is sick to the back teeth with this issue; my flatmate thinks it’s just wind; and, to be honest with you, I am becoming desperate with the pain. There is an astonishing amount of ‘gurgling, squelching’ and ‘squeeeezing’ going on in there, particularly on the right side, just under the ribs. The CT scans do not show anything remarkable so far, and neither to the X-Rays. I have been taking Stevia for three years and have read some shocking reports from people who say that they have experienced swelling of the stomach and similar symptoms. There are many anecdotal cases on the Internet, but one in particular made me sit up and take notice. Stevia is a vaso-dilator, according to what I have been reading. And that is not good news, in anyone’s book.

    I stopped taking Stevia today. My tea and coffee taste disgusting, but I am determined to try a month-long Stevia-free test period to see what happens.

    Best wishes from Peter.

    • Beth says

      Peter, you may want to visit an acupuncturist in your area. Besides not using stevia, that is what helped me get better.

  129. Beth says

    After quitting stevia, for several months now, my adrenals have gotten better and at 57, I can now run 6 miles again (which would have been impossible when I was using SweetLeaf Stevia). Yeah!!!

    I don’t believe in studies because you never know who is sponsoring them. I took statistics and saw how studies can be flawed. Thus, I’ve found more help on websites where people have told their own experiences.

    Thank you, Lauren, for this site. I am sure it will help many people find that stevia may be causing them health problems.

  130. Andy says

    ” Since stevia has been found to have a negligible effect on blood glucose and may even enhance glucose tolerance,”

    “Curi R, Alvarez M, Bazotte RB, Botion LM, Godoy JL, Bracht A (1986). “Effect of Stevia rebaudiana on glucose tolerance in normal adult humans”. Braz. J. Med. Biol. Res. 19 (6): 771–4. PMID 3651629.”

  131. jon says

    hey lauren, wow this article really really hit home, i’ve been using pure stevia for about 12 years and been on a slow decline in energy….basically i used alot of it daily in place of honey, etc. funny thing is i’ve always felt something has got to be wrong here…i eat amazingly well, plant strong 12 years….my only vice has been stevia which i actually carry around with me if i ever have tea or green powdered drink and it needs some sweetness. what you said makes great sense…my adrenals have been getting more and more fatiqued over the years and i did not know why….i’m going off stevia right now! QUESTION – have you had experience with recovery times from people in similar situations? thank you for your great site and appreciate you taking the time to answer! sincerely, jon

  132. Vivek Pandit says

    Hi to all health oriented friends round the globe. I am from India where sugar cane sugar is used in abundance . I had been using stevia dried leaf powder for the last 3 years in my beverages and try my level best to avoid products made from sugar. I eat plenty of fruits and take honey in my cow milk and green tea. I am absolutely fit and fine not suffering from any sort of lifestyle problems. I frequently visit gym and love walking. pls suggest if I am doing anything wrong ??

  133. Vivek Pandit says

    Hi to Lauren and all health oriented friends round the globe. I am from India where sugar cane sugar is used in abundance . I had been using stevia dried leaf powder for the last 3 years in my beverages and try my level best to avoid products made from sugar. I eat plenty of fruits and take honey in my cow milk and green tea. I am absolutely fit and fine not suffering from any sort of lifestyle problems. I frequently visit gym and love walking. Lauren pls suggest if I am doing anything wrong ??

  134. Joy G says

    I gave up all form of sweetener about 40 years ago, never used artificial sweetners in my life, unfortunately my husband is a real sweet tooth and has diabetes so we use Stevia or xylitol as the aspartame nutra sweet ones are far more harmful and i can not get him off sweet things

  135. Tamas says

    You guys need to provide a source if you are going to make such drastic claims about Stevia.

    Yes, studies have shown that consuming Stevia as a preload before a meal, in comparison to sugar, results in significantly lower glucose levels, but not absolutely zero blood sugar! Sounds like your logic is based around eating stevia alone, with nothing else. The meal you’re eating contains carbohydrates which raise your blood sugar levels, so like many studies have reported, stevia helps regulate your blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance when consumed with food.

    STILL, from a study posted in Planta Medica: “Stevia won’t raise your blood sugar levels, and some forms of this sweetener may actually lower blood sugar levels. A study published in “Planta Medica” in 2005 found that there was a dose-dependent effect of stevioside on blood sugar levels, with stevioside lowering blood glucose levels and decreasing insulin resistance in rats with diabetes. However, this research is preliminary, and the FDA-approved forms of stevia for use in food don’t contain stevioside, so most of the stevia products you can buy in the baking section in grocery stores won’t have this effect on your blood sugar levels.”

    So even if store bought Stevia extract doesn’t have an effect on blood sugar levels, what you’re saying is that your body has no intelligent design, and it’s up to your palette to tell your body whether to rush in and stabilize blood sugar levels. That’s like saying you can eat a bowl of corn starch, and because it doesn’t taste sweet, your blood sugar levels won’t rise (which they most definitely will because it’s a simple, quick digesting refined carbohydrate).

  136. Birgitte says

    I read your post about stevia, could you provide me with some research and studies to back it up. thank you

  137. michelle says

    Hi, Thank you so much for this artical I think you may have saved my life. I was dealing with major depression total fatigue and mental fog. I was drinking a cup of decafe with Stevia in it everymorning and gradually my symptoms just kept getting worse to the point I was almost bed ridden adreanal burnt out and hormones totally out of wack. and I read your artical and figured out my decline started about when I started having my coffee in the mornings again. so wow. I really thought I was dying. I appriciate this info so much. I dumped my coffee this morning and starting to feel better already!

  138. says

    Hi Lauren, thanks for the article! – I had read about calorie-free sweeteners causing problems with the thyroid -and blocking protein, I believe, as well (I think it said), months ago in earlyJanuary, when I decided to go off Splenda, which I used a lot, in herbal teas and coconut milk, etc. – I was going to use Stevia only, instead, but after reading the article, decided that I had to just not use any sweetener in my drinks. –Since then. I’ve noticed that the work I do in gym classes and my daily stretch and strengthen actually gives me much more definition (I’ve been doing lots of ab work for years, to help my back after an old injury and for fitness, and didn’t have much definition around my stomach to show for all the work, and chalked it up to genes – but no – it must have been all that Splenda!) Now, my question is, I just read about ERYTHRITOL and that it passes through the body pretty much, but does it do the same number on the adrenals as all the rest? Or would that one be safe to use in moderation? – Thanks for any info, and all the best on all you’re up to, respect and light!

  139. Hayden says

    Firstly, 2012 FDA literature states that WHOLE LEAF Stevia has not been approved as an additive because it has been studied to increase blood sugar levels. However, steviol glycoside (which is the artificial sweetener used) has not been found to effect any body systems in such manners you have addressed. In fact, some studies support that Stevia has a positive effect on beta cells of the pancreas, increasing sensitivity to insulin, and therefore reverses some effects of Type II diabetes.
    Secondly, I agree with Craig that you should be more well rounded and educated on health topics and that reading a nutritionist blog does not compare to comprehending academic sources.

  140. Jay says

    Nice work there winner. Enjoying the crickets? The rest of us are here because Lauren actually DOES have some solid takes on real food issues and we value her opinions and suggestions. Take your angst elsewhere…now run along and go pout in the corner, when you can say something nice you can come out.

  141. says

    Some others publications talking about diabetes:
    Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects.
    Metabolism. 2004; 53(1):73-6 (ISSN: 0026-0495)
    Gregersen S; Jeppesen PB; Holst JJ; Hermansen K Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism C, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.
    “In conclusion, stevioside reduces postprandial blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients, indicating beneficial effects on the glucose metabolism. Stevioside may be advantageous in the treatment of type 2 diabetes”

  142. says

    Who would care what the FDA approves or disapproves? The FDA also is in bed with Monsanto. The FDA also denies real cures for people. I wouldn’t trust a word the FDA says.

  143. Kathleen says

    The FDA ruling only has to do with commercial processing of stevia and is an effort to protect the interests of Cargill (Coca-cola) and Pepsico that have patented extraction systems and the smaller companies that use other patent additives. It is legal to grow your own stevia and make your own extracts using the whole leaf. Steviol glycoside is not an artifical sweetener. Steviol glycosides are the compounds in the stevia leaf that are responsible for the sweet sensation, they are processed in the colon and not absorbed, that is why they are so beneficial for type II diabetes. :)

  144. says

    I appreciate you taking on the trolls, Jay! I had to delete the original troll comment that you replied to, however, because the author was disrespectful and abusive.

  145. Beth says

    I agree with you. Seems like most people trust the powers that be regarding what is good for us. I’ve watched friends and family suffer taking Vioxx, Lipitor, and Fosomax. Not me.

  146. Joe Haselhorst says

    Jay, take it down a notch. Whatever diet you are on is having some nasty side effects. Name calling is not helpful, ever, for anyone, on either side of the issues.

  147. Robin says

    I don’t necessarily agree with this. I was referred by a nutritionist to use stevia. I am type 1 diabetic and I have to watch my sugars closely. Using stevia has not raised my blood sugars. I have used pure cane sugar , honey, molasses and even agave nectar and they all raised my sugars to unhealthy levels. There have been studies done saying a lot positive things about stevia. Everyone has their own opinion. I know what has worked for me. Yes, I’ve had leaky gut syndrome before using stevia they found out that I was wheat & gluten sensitive which caused my diabetes.

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