Unless you’ve been living in a cave in outer Mongolia for the last year or two you’ll know that too much sugar is very bad news (too much anything is bad news by definition but…) As a nation, almost as a planet, we vastly over consume sugar and suffer all the unpleasant, life-shortening effects.
So, there’s a massive market for sugar substitutes. But have you noticed that people who use sugar substitutes are very often overweight and remain so years after starting to use them? Just changing from sugar to one of these fake sugars does not induce weight loss without changing the rest of your diet and lifestyle. Additionally, the safety of these products is questionable.
Read my previous post on artificial sweeteners.
So enters Stevia, the bumpf says:
“Zero glycemic index, zero calories and zero carbs. It is 25-30 times sweeter than sugar, and far more healthy!”
Sounds great eh? Woohoooo we can all go mad sweetening our foods and training our brains and palates to expect sweet foods and we don’t have to worry! It comes in green containers, IT HAS PICTURES OF LEAVES ON THE FRONT!! Dang it’s five times as expensive as sugar but we are prepared to pay that BECAUSE WE WANT TO EAT LOTS OF SWEET FOOD! HELL WE CAN EVEN DRINK COKE NOW AND NOT WORRY!
Well, not so fast. Stevia has not been used in its processed form for long enough for us to know its long term effects on health and hormones. Preparing the brain to receive sugar and then not giving it the real effects of sugar could set up more of a craving than just having real sugar. The brain gets all excited then let down then it gets angry and demands sugar. It’s a roller coaster.
My real issue with Stevia is the concept. I like to encourage people to simply eat less sweet food and when they do eat sweet food to use natural, tried and tested over the long-term, products. The inclusion of Stevia in stuff like Coke and Danone yoghurts is just clever marketing of processed foods. Would you rather eat a highly processed yoghurt sweetened with Stevia, or some minimally processed greek yoghurt with honey?
I know what I would do!