Stevia side effects are either ignored or misstated while arguing for stevia sweetener as a natural alternative to sugar. Almost every study proves that stevia sweetener contains zero calories. Many studies even show that stevia sweetener is excreted through urine undigested, without adding any sugar or calorie to the users’ bodies.
Does it prove that stevia sweetener remains inactive while starting from our tongue, passing through the stomach, entering into blood veins, and finally excreting through kidneys and bladder?
Iryna Liauchonak, Bessi Qorri, Et al., have replied to this question in March 2019 that sweet taste on our tongue generates immediate “physiological responses, including the anticipation of the arrival and absorption of food to control body weight and energy balance.”(1)
The physiological responses also include releasing insulin and Peptide YY. They conducted a scientific study on the side effects of 14 sweeteners, including artificial ones like Saccharin, Aspartame, Sucralose, Erythritol, and natural ones like Stevia glycosides, Luo Han Guo Monk fruit extract, and Lucuma powder.
The study "Non-nutritive Sweeteners (NNS) and Their Implication on the Development of Metabolic Syndrome” proves that none of the NNS, including stevia, remain inert while passing through our bodies. The report has exposed shocking stevia side effects, which may impact future of stevia as a sweetener.
The study states:
“NNS consumption can modulate energy balance, and metabolic functions through several peripheral and central mechanisms, suggesting that NNS are not inert compounds as once thought.”
They have also busted another myth that stevia side effects are not so harmful as those of other sweeteners. They have shown data to prove that stevia side effects are more serious than those of white sugar. Regular over-consumption of stevia can lead the users to metabolic syndrome, which leads to various other diseases.
This research team is not alone to give such findings on stevia side effects. Earlier Dr. Bruce Fife had written the book “The Stevia Deception,” to prove many stevia side effects. He also established that as soon our tongue receptors feel the sweetness in our mouth, our pathology starts working to welcome new energy. Insulin is released to reduce the already available sugar in our body. Other hormones to digest the expected food are also activated.
Sugar, when taken in moderate quantity, is somewhat helpful for our bodies to perform various functions. Whenever we eat something sweet, our bodies start reacting as our genes have learned for centuries. However, overconsumption of sugar causes multiple diseases, including obesity, diabetes Type 2 and heart failures.
The best way to avoid these problems is to reduce sugar from our diet. However, instead, consumers are switching to natural or artificial sweeteners. Most of the sweeteners are refined to the level that they become calorie-free products. Stevia is a naturally calorie-free herb from which stevia sweetener is processed to minimize its bitter aftertaste.
When we put stevia sweetener, in any form, our tongue receptors communicate to or bodies to release insulin to enable our metabolism to consume the forthcoming calories. Our bodies know that a toothsome diet contains more calories, so metabolism becomes even more active.
When stevia sweetener passes through our bodies, the requirement of the body is not met. The cells continue to wait for the energy which is vital for their functions. Ideally, our bodies should consume already stored energy, but satiety issues arise. Initially, it may reduce some weight, sugar, and blood pressure. But a regular use leads to metabolic syndrome.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) defines metabolic syndrome as a “group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. The metabolic risk factors include abdominal obesity, high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar.”
Iryna Liauchonak, Bessi Qorri, Et al., have proved that metabolic syndrome caused by natural or artificial sweeteners can lead not only to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular problems but also to “hypertension, glucose intolerance, proinflammatory state, atherogenic dyslipidemia, prothrombic state, and kidney disease.”
Both show that stevia caused metabolic syndrome can lead the users to more than a dozen diseases, which can be calculated as stevia side effects.
Isn’t it ironic?
Most of us switch to stevia to avoid harmful side effects of sugar. However, our ‘natural’ stevia sweetener causes many more diseases than white sugar could have done.
Dr. Fife Bruce states:
“Normally, every time we eat a meal, our metabolism increases slightly for a couple of hours to help with the digestive process. This increased metabolism burns off many of the calories consumed in the meal. Foods containing non-caloric sweeteners, however, do not trigger the normal post-meal rise in metabolism. The result is a more sluggish metabolism that causes the body to store, rather than burn, incoming calories. Many overweight people already have problems with a sluggish metabolism; they don’t need to compound the problem by eating fake sweeteners.
He further asserts:
“It doesn’t matter what type of zero-calories sweetener is used – saccharin, aspartame, stevia – the metabolic effects are the same. Eating foods sweetened with stevia will sabotage your weight loss efforts.”
Dr. Fife Bruce, before writing his book “The Stevia Deception,” was not only a fan of stevia himself but also convinced his family members and friends to start using stevia sweetener to avoid harmful effects of sugar. He confessed to writing about the benefits of stevia in some of his books and articles. Like most of us he was convinced to believe absence of any stevia side effects.
When his friends and family members started complaining about different health problems, he began to look into stevia side effects. He began collecting data to discover that almost all stevia sweetener users were facing one or more health problems. He also found that stevia side effects were more harmful than those of sugar or even artificial sweeteners. In the end, he wrote this book containing a lot of wisdom to understand why almost all synthetic and natural sweeteners were harmful for human consumption.
The latest studies are proving what Dr. Fife Bruce has already discovered.
Saqib Ali Ateel
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