Karuizawa Web

Karuizawa Web

Stevia and Sugar Substitutes

White stevia powder is an artificial sweetener that actually might be good for you. I’ve long since given up on most artificial sweeteners, not because of the artificial flavor, but because of the fact that they’re toxic to the body. For those who haven’t heard, here’s the simple explanation. Artificial sweeteners have zero calories for one very simple reason, because your body can’t process them as a food. Instead, it sees them as toxins and processes them accordingly. Over time, these toxins cause an overburdening of the liver and other organs, leading to many other health risks. There are already so many foreign toxins in our environment, things like preservatives, pesticides, and overly processed foods, don’t add even more by using artificial sweeteners, especially when there are good alternatives out there. One that I prefer is using honey instead of processed sugar. Sure, you’ll still get the calories, but you won’t get the other drawbacks that come with processed sugar. But if you need to kick the calories too, white stevia powder is actually not so bad.

Stevia is a compound that’s derived from natural plant sources, and therefore isn’t treated as a foreign toxin in the body like artificial sweeteners are. Stevia has a fairly complex flavor, and many people have described it to be something like licorice. Apparently stevia has had a long history of use in South America where natives would use the shrub as a sweetener. Stevia powder is synthesized from an herb, and the herb itself is actually fairly rich in nutrients, though during the processing, most of the nutrients are lost. That’s okay though, because the main benefit of stevia is that it’s a great non-toxic substitute for sugar.

There are a few added benefits to using white stevia as a sweetener instead of regular artificial sweeteners.

1) Reduced Craving for Sugar. Because of the fact that Stevia is a sugar substitute and not an artificial sweetener, your body is still able to process it. It doesn’t just fool your tongue in the way that artificial sweeteners do. Because of this, many people who use white stevia as a sugar substitute report a reduced craving for sweets made with processed sugar. They’re able to give their body what it wants without the excess calories.

2) Stevia Extract is a Helpful Herb. Apart from processed white stevia powder, the stevia herb itself is quite healthy. Studies have been done to show the different health benefits that the stevia herb has to offer. Using stevia extract, concentrate, or whole stevia leaves can help control appetite and other cravings, such as for alcohol and tobacco. It has also been shown that stevia extract can be used topically to help heal minor injuries. When applied to cuts and scrapes, there is an increase in the rate of healing and pain reduction.

Even though stevia has been shown to be a very helpful herb to the human body, debate still rages over how healthy stevia actually is once it undergoes its refining process to turn it into white stevia powder. Without a doubt, the less processed the stevia is the more healthy, but is it still healthy as a processed powder. Studies are currently being conducted in order to answer that question. Stevia has been shown to be healthier for the body than artificial sweeteners because it’s synthesized from real plant sources. White stevia powder is definitely more aptly named a sugar substitute, not an artificial sweetener. From that base, Stevia is much further ahead of its competition, but I still maintain that the best and healthiest sugar substitute out there is natural honey. If you can get away with the extra calories, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor by using honey in your coffee and tea, and whatever else you need to sweeten.

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