Hi, for treating and preventing diabetes, you might have heard of Stevia, a calorie-free sweetener. My uncle tried stevia extract and stevia leaves for years, and actually, his diabetes is well under control. Stevia is originated from South America, but it is mainly grown in China now. If you search
Any idea why the FDA considers Stevia an "Unsafe food additive"? http://www.fda.gov/ora/fiars/ora_import_ia4506.html
BUT, these letters refute the FDA warning
Further reading of the FDA report does not indicate why the FDA banned Stevia as a dietary sweetner. I Googled "Stevia in Japan" and discovered its wide use as a sweetning agent in many products, including Coca-Cola. From "About, Toxic or Tasty", http://tinyurl.com/yu6z9s "Stevia has undergone numerous toxicity tests. None of these tests have shown any harmful effects. Few substances can make this claim. The real test, though, was centuries of continuous use by natives of South America. In addition, thousands of tons of stevia extracts have been consumed over the last 20 years in many countries with no harmful effects reported."
It is unclear why the FDA banned Stevia in the first place. Is it politics from the Sugar industry as they have tried to ban Sucralose (Splenda)? I cold not locate any toxicology reports posted by the FDA. If it was a dangerous substance wouldn't there be a test report? I don't know. But, I too would like to hear from Stevia users, specifically diabetics.
Some stores offer stevia in packets but the packets list (rice)maltodextrin or some other additive on the label too to give it bulk and diguise the bitter aftertaste Stevia has. Isn't rice maltodextrin defeating the purpose for diabetics?
I did try it in my tea at a friend's house, it didn't seem to sweeten very well and had a nasty after taste, but I think it was Stevia without additives.
Also, any study should have authors one can respect the conclusions of.
Hi. I'm type 2 diabetic and I've used stevia for several years and *love* it, and wish it were used in more products (it's starting to be, finally).
I started off growing it... I had a big garden space, liked growing new things, and randomly saw the plant seeds listed in a seed catalog and description said something along the lines of "leaves naturally extremely sweet, used for centuries as a sweetener" so I figured why not try it... and wow, they weren't kidding; if you pull a leaf off the plant and put it in your mouth and chew it, the natural sweetness is shocking, almost wierd... the plant looks like a scraggly weed, kind of like a tall daisy without flowers, something you'd chop down or pull out of your garden without giving it a second thought.
Anyway, I started researching it. Turned out it was being used extensively in Europe and Japan, including by Coca Cola and Pepsi because it was 'natural' and sweeter than sugar but had no carbs, no calories, and no known toxic side-effects. So why couldn't I find it in the USA? That remains a good question, and there are tons of conspiracy theories on the web about it [do a web search for "monsanto and stevia"], but not much of substance (meaning articles listing respectable research and authors) though the Wikipedia entry for Stevia has a nice summary of references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia
Stevia *is* available as a powder, as a liquid, and in packets, but can not be sold in the USA as a "sweetener," only as a "dietary supplement" so you can find it in vitamin stores and in the supplement sections of stores like Whole Foods, and online at Drugstore.com and Netrition.com
In my experience, pure stevia powder can be really bitter; the products that add a little sugar-alcohol (like erythritol) and especially for some reason some fiber (like inulin, which is just powdered chicory root) taste the best. Stevia has had *no* negative effect on my blood sugar, and it has been great to use to sweeten beverages and bland high-fiber cereal without having to use a chemical sweetener (you know, the blue packets, the yellow packets, or the pink packets)... give it a try. I personally like the "SweetLeaf" brand best.
Thanks for your comments on Stevia and Sweet Leaf. Have you or anyone you know tried baking with Sweet Leaf? Cakes? Cookies? Splenda does NOT coincide with the other active ingredients so cakes don't rise and cookies come out flat and hard. Nasty.
Oh, such a seemingly simple question... I've actually done quite a bit of baking experimentation; at the time I was diagnosed as diabetic one of my work responsibilities included overseeing a bakery operation... the bakers were enthusiastic about trying out 'diabetic' recipes (at first)... results were frustrating and mixed...
bottom line, no dense flour-based baked good works well with any sugar-substitute, though many sugar substitutes work quite nicely with flourless tortes, chocolate and fruit based desserts, and lighter low-temp/shorter time baking recipes (angel food, etc)
Baking with Splenda:
Regular Splenda: YUCK! I agree with your experience.
"Granulated" Splenda for baking: not bad in terms of taste and consistency, but it raised my blood sugars as much as regular baked goods. Turns out the Splenda is "granulated" with maltodextrin (for my diabetic body, that's essentially sugar) which is derived from starch (corn, potato or wheat). So, granulated Splenda isn't a great sugar substitute to start with; you'd be better off just cutting the amount of sugar in half and probably having a better baking result anyhow.
Other sugar substitutes:
"Granulated" substitutes... same thing with all of them... they all are 'granulated'/fluffed (so they can be substituted 1:1 with regular sugar) with some form of actual sugar, so for this diabetic there's not much benefit.
Fructose doesn't seem to raise blood sugar, but results were mixed in terms of taste and consistency. [plus the medical literature suggests some negative long-term effects for diabetics consuming derived fructose]
Sugar alcohols: overall, no for high-temp or over 30-minute baking... inconsistent results, and when they did turn out well, they had a rather profound GI side-effect (gas, bloating, and laxative effect... ick!) plus they caused a delayed but significant rise in blood sugars.
*Except* erythritol which does not seem to effect my blood sugar and doesn't cause GI problems for me, and bakes well, but it's a bit tricky to substitute for sugar because it's SO sweet and you need so little you have to figure out what to substitute for volume.
Stevia: mixed results. Powder (white) forms are heat stable but tend to have a bitter after-taste in flour-based baked goods. The ground (green) form isn't as bitter when baked, but can add an unwanted green color and sometimes cause a granular consistency. Powder, ground, and liquid forms work well with non-flour baked goods like chocolate tortes and such.
Bottom line: for baked goods like cakes and pastries (any sweet flour-based baked good) I think you're better off just limiting your portion size or having a bite of someone else's so you can enjoy the real thing; plus, having just a bite or small portion makes you really notice and appreciate the flavor and experience.... or, better yet, have some fruit with some powdered stevia sprinkled on it. OR, experiment with low glycemic load / high-fiber flours... but that's another post entirely.
Thanks for the informative baking tips follow up. You saved me a tremendous amount of research time for now I can play around with "lighter low-temp/shorter time baking recipes (angel food, etc)".
One would think one or two bites of someones desert (cake, pie, ice cream) would be OK but not for me. Due to my anti-rejection medicine side affects, anything sugar related, including fructose, jacks my glucose way up.
Well, its been 3 months since I ordered the powdered form of SweetLeaf Stevia. I find it disgusting while countless numbers of family and friends do so too. One tiny pin head amount on my tongue made me cringe. It has an artificial super sweet taste and leaves a semi bitter after taste. If one likes an artificial tasting sweetener then Stevia takes first place. To me its Nasty with a Capitol 'N'. Save your $$ for I wish I had. Stick with Splenda.
Wow! Really sorry to hear that your reaction to stevia was so negative. I've had good experience with it, and yeah, it can have a bitter after-taste if tasted on its own, but I've had good results with it, especially in hot liquids (decaf coffee and teas), and I do like it particularly because it's not synthetic and, for me, does not negatively effect my blood sugar... but, if you can't stand the taste, yeah, there's no point. We all have our individual taste buds, I guess... Sorry to have steered you wrong for you!
Previously you mentioned wanting a non-sugar sweetener you could use to bake with, too... have you tried erythritol?
Hey Pete... Thanks for posting back. I've tried both Erythritol and Maltitol. I can tolerate either one in small amounts. However, they both affect my BUN (blood urea nitrogen) - causing it to max out or go above its max range - along with the tendency to leave me with excessive gas and feeling slightly bloated, that is, if I consume more than I should. I'm still experimenting with amounts. They both seem to lack the sweetness I desire. Perhaps its my sugar memories causing this.
They say Erythritol is 70-80% the sweetness of sugar but to me its not. Have you ever mixed Erythritol & Stevia, or Maltitol & Stevia? If I could only find a way to reduce the Stevia bitter after taste...
Oh man, maltitol gives me really awful gas and cramps, so I avoid it. I have tried mixing stevia with other sweeteners, and stevia seems to have an enhancing effect on combined sweetness (mix some other sweetener with stevia and the mix is sweeter than either of the two were on their own). Erythritol and stevia work pretty well together in liquids, but I find erythritol tricky to bake and cook with, maybe because it's such a fine powder, my results have been flat... literally.
Adding vanilla enhances sweetness, and I've found that helpful with erythritol in terms of increasing sweetness, and with stevia to decrease the bitterness. Stevia and Splenda together are almost too sweet to me, but you might try that for your sweet tooth... but again, as we've noted in past posts, the issue with trying to bake remains a problem. Keep me posted on your kitchen experiments and I'll do the same!
I am a type 2 diabetic and have done a fair amount of research, both on the internet and practical, and have given up on artificial sweeteners in baking. On the subject of Maltitol, I bought just one candy sweetened with Maltitol and measured my blood glucose level before I ate the candy and then measured my blood glucose level at half hour intervals. Man, that one candy pushed my blood glucose level way over the top. Further research revealed that Maltitol is about the same as maple syrup. Maltitol is derived from birch tree sap in the same way maple syrup is derived from maple trees. So I avoid Maltitol. Splenda is equally dangerous for diabetics. It is a form of sugar and pushes one's blood glucose level up.
On the subject of artificial sweeteners with aspartame: I was sitting next to a woman on an airplane when the flight attendant offered coffee. I asked for a sugar substitute and was given one consisting solely of aspartame. The passenger next to me told me that aspartame carries the risk of causing diabetes. When I asked her how she knew that she said she worked for Monsanto, the company that makes aspartame. She was a medical doctor in the research lab. Monsanto knows the riskes involved in consuming aspartame but are more interested in making money than worrying about consumer health.
I buy 100% pure stevia extract and use it only in my oats at breakfast time. I don't experience any after taste whatsoever but that may be because of my age. I buy my stevia from a local supermarket and it comes in a plastic bottle equipped with a small (and I mean small) scoop. The product is made by NOW FOODS, Bloomingdale IL 60108. Perhaps you can write to them to find a distributor close to where you live.
It is a natural non caloric sweetener. In fact it’s a small green plant, which grows in Paraguay. Its leaves have a delicious and refreshing taste 10-15 times sweeter than table sugar. Meanwhile the stevia extracts (steviosides) have 200-300 times the sweetness of table sugar.
i use Stevia in liquid form and I love it! Type 2 diabetes runs in my family going back 3 generations. In addition, I am overweight, so at a more pronounced risk. I hate artificial sweeteners, so researched and tried Stevia. I do not like the powder form much, but I use the liquid form in hot and iced tea, in lemonade, and have just started experimenting with pies. I love baking sweet potato pie. Stevia tends to work well here because except for the crust; flour is not involved. In other words, yum...yum!
Yes its a good thing, I have been using it for a while..in the stores now there is something called truvia , I feel okay ,in fact I have put it down to balancing my sugar better in fact cutting out as much sugar as I can ,I also sleep better .
Hi. My wife is 54 years old.In the age 50 her periods stopped.5 month before we made blood tests and resulted with diabetes 127 before food,154 after 2 hours having food as well as glukosed hemoglobina 9%. Blood group is A+. She has an heritated diabetes from her family. She asks the food diet and a good treatment.
Hi Patrice, I have found the same with stevia , they have improved it a lot since this thread was started, I find the best one is Truvia, and is a lot better to take than any of the other sweetners including Splenda which definatly can give one morning head aches and side effects .
Hi, I used Stevia but I have also been able to get it in its dried leaf from, which I use for my herbal teas, and in powdered leaf form (still green), which I use in my cooking. I also used the extract.
For those that are finding the stevia after taste not to their liking, Nu Naturals removes the bitter component in their stevia product. They also sell an alcohol free liquid. In my opinion, this line has the best taste.
www.luckyvitamin.com carries it
They are handing out promotional cards in the cafeteria of my business of something called Pure Via. I gave it my personal taste test: Tear open a packet and pour it directly in my mouth. Yikes! Bitter like Sweet N' Low!! Equal and Splenda work for me. I guess since this thread was started, the status of Stevia has changed. On the Pure Via packet it says "All Natural, Zero Calorie Sweetener"
Hi Tom Anthony here. Try this, there is a sugar made from Acai berry and kiwi, where the juice is squeezed out and then it is freeze tried, these are 2 things the brain doesn’t recognize as sugar so it will not spike the Glycemic index. Another thing, if you drink coffee, (Black no sugar and no cream, Reg or Decaf) that will spike the Glycemic index as well. The caffeine stimulates the brain and then it opens up the Pancreas and releases Insulin (Sugar) into the blood and then turns into fat. This site is for research www.BoreshaResearch.com Here’s another site www.FaithfulToYourHealth.com Never mind the video focus on the products; they are all organic, natural and vegetarian. Any questions call me 352-428-4797
"there is a sugar made from Acai berry and kiwi, where the juice is squeezed out and then it is freeze tried, these are 2 things the brain doesn’t recognize as sugar so it will not spike the Glycemic index."
This statement is misleading.There numerous t2 diabetics that cannot tolerate fructose [fruit sugar] as it raises their glucose levels at the same rate as table sugar [sucrose]. Test and test often when experimenting with fruits.
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