Stevia: Is It a Healthy Alternative?
It’s 200 times sweeter than sugar and calorie free. But is it any good for you?
Stevia. On paper, switching to a plant-based sweetener that’s 200 times sweeter than sugar with zero calories seems like an absolute no-brainer. But what actually is stevia? How does it stack up against sugar? And are there any hidden dangers lurking within? Let’s take a look…
There’s no sugar-coating the ill-effects associated with a high-sugar diet. From depression to type 2 diabetes, a whole platter of nasty diseases may make themselves known if you make a habit of going too hard on the dessert trolley.
Abandoning the sweet stuff is easier said than done, mostly because it’s hidden in otherwise innocuous foods, like pasta sauce and yoghurt. You could cut out cakes, fizzy drinks, biscuits, and all the other usual suspects, but if your “healthy” salad dressing is full of sugar, you’re facing the same issue, just in savoury form.
If sugar has a bad rep, its predecessor – the artificial sweetener – has fared no better. Various chemical substitutes like aspartame, saccharin and acesulfame potassium have come under fire in recent years for causing some pretty unpleasant side effects in high doses, so it makes sense that shoppers are searching for a ‘natural’ sugar substitute (however tenuous its link to nature).