People who want to lose weight or stay slim and trim gravitate to alternative sweeteners to feed their sweet tooth without adding extra padding. It is common knowledge that obesity is a dangerous epidemic affecting the entire world.
Since the introduction of saccharin, monosodium glutamate, acesulfame-k, aspartame, and sodium benzoate in beverages, dairy products, confectionary, and bakery items, dieters have rejoiced at this opportunity to counter calories without sacrificing too much taste.
Diabetics also find that sugar substitutes help keep their blood sugar levels within normal limits.
However, recent studies are showing that one common food additive, the artificial non-saccharide sweetener aspartame, may not be healthy. Originally marketed as NutraSweet in 1965, its popularity is due to the fact that Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sucrose – ordinary table sugar.
Take a look at any diet cola or drink container and just see if it doesn’t contain aspartame. Heck, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that, in 2010, one-fifth of all Americans drank a diet soda on any given day!
Healthline published a laundry list of maladies that critics of aspartame claim it aggravates, notably:
• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• Weight gain
• Birth defects
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Results of scientific studies have proved inconclusive so far, but the negative press surrounding aspartame and other artificial sweeteners has been good for stevia.
In case you hadn’t heard, stevia is “a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana.” Originally native to Paraguay and Brazil in South America, the plant is now cultivated in Japan and China (now the leading exporter). It has been used in beverages like tea since the 16th century, and is part of the sunflower family.
Like artificial sweeteners, stevia has basically zero calories because so little is consumed. The FDA approved stevia as a food additive in 1995, having banned it in 1987.
Unlike aspartame, stevia may actually fight one type of cancer, that of the pancreas. It delivers sterols and antioxidant compounds like kaempferol to the body. A 2016 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine showed that kaempferol reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23 percent.
A 2003 study presented in Clinical Therapeutics found that stevia might help lower blood pressure and ease mild hypertension.
As health-conscious people steer toward natural food choices rather than (potentially harmful) artificial products, it is small wonder that stevia-based table-top sweetener Truvia was the top seller in its class in 2015.
Stevia is more popular than ever now. It is non-allergenic and completely safe for children, too. New Hope Network shared these sales figures:
“Persistence Market Research estimates the global stevia market was $347 million in 2014 and will increase to $565.2 million by 2020.”
Just keep one thought in mind: have you ever seen someone drinking a diet soda in one hand while eating a candy bar with the other? We might find the image amusing, but in reality, avoid canceling out your zero-calorie sweetened products with high-calorie sugary foods.