Does stevia have side effects?
While the stevia plant and dietary supplement have been safely used for many years, the new highly purified forms of stevia have not. Common sense dictates to me that refined forms of stevia should be used with caution.
I personally think that stevia is safer than artificial sweeteners, but it still tricks the body into thinking it's getting something it is not. That's why I feel it's best to consume stevia as part of a well rounded recipe that has some natural sweetener (fruit purees, a bit of real sugar, honey, etc) in it. If I use it in tea, I try to have it along with a snack.
The good news, for most people, is that stevia has not been shown to spike blood sugars (individual results may vary, so make you check your levels if you need to!). It scores a zero on the glycemic index. HOWEVER, the carbs that come along with stevia sweetened baked goods can.
As with ANY high concentration of herbs, there have been side effects reported. These should be taken seriously. The most credibly reported side effects are:
- Lowering of blood pressure.
- Allergic reactions (especially those with sensitivities to ragweed).
- Temporary numbness in extremities...hands, feet...with overuse has been reported.
Most complaints come from 'stevia products' that use highly purified forms of stevia combined with sugar alcohols and fillers. Sugar alcohols and fillers have their own side effects that have nothing to do with stevia gastronomical problems being the most common. Avoid those by buying plain pure stevia that uses only water as a filler.
So...do your research, always check with your doctor, and use in moderation.
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