Stevia - the latest super-sugar?
As one of the world’s leading soft drinks manufacturers releases a new soft drink with ‘a third less sugar and a third less calories’, we ask, is Stevia really a healthy, natural sugar alternative?
The evidence so far looks good – Stevia is obtained from a plant and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Amazingly, it also contains no calories. It’s suitable to use in baking and as a sugar substitute in foods and hot drinks. Some research has suggested that it may lower blood sugar, blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory properties. However, what’s not clear is whether it has any positive effects on weight loss – like other sweeteners, there is little evidence to date that it aids with weight loss or weight management.
It’s also important to note that due to it’s naturally bitter aftertaste, Stevia is often mixed with other sweeteners or sugars to make it palatable – so if you’re avoiding any particular sweeteners always check the label.
As with all sugars and sweeteners, the key message is to use it in moderation and reduce intake of sugar and sweeteners overall.
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan