Adding stevia to a recipe has helped me in many ways. The benefits of stevia leaf extract are numerous. Using stevia as a sugar substitute can not only help with weight loss but with other health benefits listed below.
Let's face it... I like my drinks to be sweet most of the time. Many of us are desperately seeking for foods that will satisfy our sweet tooth without adding extra weight around our waistline. Stevia could very well be the answer not only for weight loss and maintenance, but also for many other health issues.
This natural sugar substitute, called stevia, is made from the leaves of the stevia plant. These little leaves are extremely sweet and contain no calories or sugar. Plus, stevia leaf extract is a safe for most people. But I do know of someone that reacts to stevia. So be mindful when trying it out for the first time. Webmd.com states, "Stevioside has been safely used in research in doses of up to 1500 mg per day for 2 years." Due to the fact that stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, most people would not even be able to consume 1500 mg in a whole week.
A serving size of the powdered stevia I have used in the past, NuNaturals Stevia, is a 1/4 of a teaspoon. But there is only 40 milligrams of actual stevia leaf extract in that serving. That means you need over 37 servings to get 1500 mg of stevia powder. I usually use maybe 2 teaspoons of powdered stevia a day for my entire family. But to get 1500 mg of stevia, I need to consume over 9 teaspoons of this powdered stevia. That is a large amount!
There are also flavored stevia drops on the market. I love the berry and vanilla flavor for smoothies. It adds a burst of juicy berry flavor to a fruit smoothie. I especially enjoy adding it to green smoothies. As I can get away with using less fruit, adding more greens, and still enjoying it! This berry stevia also tastes wonderful in ice water with a squeeze of lemon for a "No Calorie Berry Lemonade".
If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. That statement makes sense. But how can someone easily cut out calories? Stevia could be one terrific option!
Stevia contains no calories and will not spike blood sugars. Maintaining healthy stable blood sugar levels alone will set many people down a path to a healthy weight.
Stevia is not just beneficial for weight loss. There are many other health benefits from using stevia leaf extract.
If someone started using this sugarless sweetener to replace refined sugars in their diet, they may see a decrease of tooth decay.
Check out what Susan Raatz from USDA had to say about Americans sugar intake... "The average American eats (or drinks) 34 teaspoons of sugars a day, which is equal to 500+ calories. This averages more than 100 pounds of sugars per person each year. Sugar intake has drastically increased over the last century. In 1822, the average American ate in 5 days the amount of sugar found in one of today's 12-ounce sodas. Now, we eat that much every 7 hours!"
One can only imagine how many teeth can be saved by replacing all of that sugar with healthier options, such as stevia. That is one of the great benefits of stevia.
Don't think that you consume that much sugar? Start tracking what you eat. Check out the food labels for added sugar. Here is a list of just a few out of many foods that can be packed with unexpected added sugars: ketchup, baked beans, cream substitutes, salad dressings, deli meats, processed juices, yogurt, breads, etc. Some ingredients to look for are glucose, fructose, dextrose, corn syrup, ethyl maltol. The easiest way to see the sugar content is the nutrition label. This ice cream has 10g of added sugar to a 2/3 cup serving. Have you measured out a serving size of ice cream? It is so sad!
I bought an adorable mini bowl, like a small mug, from a local potter this past summer for my ice cream. The beautiful blue speckles and smooth ribbed walls remind me of my departed grandma. One serving of ice cream fills that bowl. That scoop of ice cream looks way bigger in that little blue bowl than our giant soup bowls!
Webmd.com suggests that there is research that stevia could lower high blood pressure by using between 750-1500 mg of stevioside each day.
Amanda Gardner, at CNN.com, states that researchers have linked the high consumption of fructose, another hidden sugar, with a raised risk of high blood pressure by 30%. In fact you only need to drink 2.5 cans or more of regular soda each day to increase your risk.
If more people choose to lower their risk by eliminating sugary soda and using stevia throughout the day to sweeten water, they may have a better chance to lower their blood pressure in the future.
In the long run, it is about finding drinks that you enjoy and that you will stick with day in and day out. Those days add up to weeks... then to months... then to years.
Webmd.com also highlights other research revealing that 1000 mg of stevioside could reduce blood sugars by 18%.
But again... It is about finding sweet alternatives that you look forward to drinking instead of the sugar-packed soda... aka Coke... aka pop.... or even sweet tea or coffee.
There are many foods used on a daily basis that can be sweetened with the benefits of stevia instead of the other harmful sweeteners. For instance, homemade spaghetti sauce can be easily sweetened with stevia or buy the sauce with no added sugars. Many companies have realized that their customer base wants good sauce without the extra sugar and have done it! It usually doesn't cost much more. We just need to figure out which brands have done it.
Or request a lemon slice with ice water and add a dash of stevia instead of a soda at a restaurant. This one trick not only has saved us from gaining excess weight but also has save my family so much money!
I usually use between 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of powdered stevia in a large 3-4 cup smoothie. I like my dessert smoothies on the sweet side... I use about 1/2 teaspoon in a 2 cup dessert smoothie.
If I am using the liquid form of stevia, I use about a dropper full or two for a large smoothie. If you want an all-purpose liquid stevia... I would recommend that you try using the unflavored liquid stevia. Then you can use it with dessert smoothies, fruit smoothies, green smoothies, and whatever else you want to sweeten and receive the benefits of stevia.
Even though stevia has shown all of these great qualities, there is still need for more research in order to validate the above benefits of stevia. In the meantime, people can enjoy the natural sweetness without the guilt of the calories.
Thirsty? Check out more delicious and healthy smoothie recipes!