Stevia has recently been able to make its space in the Indian Diet system by dint of its remarkable health benefits and tremendous strength to replace sugar. As an alternative to sucrose, or table sugar, using stevia as a sweetener has a huge potential for considerable health benefits.
Stevia is generally considered “no-calorie,” depicting that it contains less than five grams of carbohydrate. It can be easily combined with other ingredients, so a few calories from those additional ingredients may be present depending on the product.Stevia does not strictly contain zero calories, but it is significantly less calorific than sucrose and low enough to be classified in the sugar category.
It is quite surprising that the sweet-tasting components in stevia sweeteners occur naturally. This feature hugely benefits to people who prefer naturally-sourced foods and beverages. With considerably low calorie count Stevia qualifies to be a healthful alternative for diabetes control or weight loss.
Some of the remarkable health benefits of stevia.
There is substantial research to prove that stevia sweeteners do not contribute calories or carbohydrates to the diet. They have also demonstrated no effect on blood glucose or insulin response. This allows people with diabetes to eat a wider variety of foods and comply with a healthful meal plan.
Another review of five randomized controlled trials compared the effects of stevia on metabolic outcomes with the effects of placebos. The study concluded that stevia showed minimal to no effects on blood glucose, insulin levels, blood pressure, and body weight.
In one of these studies, subjects with type 2 diabetes reported that stevia triggered significant reductions in blood glucose and glucagon response after a meal. Glucagon is a hormone that regulates glucose levels in the blood, and the mechanism that secretes glucagon is often faulty in people with diabetes.
Glucagon drops when blood glucose climbs. This regulates the glucose level.
2) Weight control
Stevia can actually replace sugar in a diet to manage weight.
There are many causes of overweight and obesity, such as physical inactivity and increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and added sugars.
The intake of added sugars in our diet which we consume in desserts and sweets has been shown to contribute an average of 20 percent of the total calories to an Indian Diet. This has been linked to weight gain and reduced control of blood glucose levels.
3) Pancreatic cancer
Stevia contains many sterols and antioxidant compounds, including kaempferol.
Studies have found that kaempferol can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23 percent.
4) Blood pressure
Some glycosides present in stevia extract have been found to dilate blood vessels. It can also increase sodium excretion and urine output.
5) Children’s diets
A diet comprising of stevia can play an important role in decreasing calories from unwanted sweeteners in the diets of children.
The market now has thousands of products containing naturally-sourced stevia, ranging from salad dressings to snack bars. This added benefit allows children to consume sweet foods and drinks without the added calories while transitioning to a lower sugar diet.
Excessive sugars and calories are linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease.