Stevia is a plant that is grown in the central and South America, which is a part in the family of sunflowers or Asteraceae. Stevia is also known as rebadiana. Stevia consist of about 240 species all over the world. Recent developments in the food industry have found the use of stevia as an artificial sweetener and can be used as an alternative to sugar. During the past 500 years, Stevia has been used by people in Brazil and Paraguay as a sweetener because it is considered 300 times sweeter than conventional sugar. Other advantages of stevia include the prevention of infections because of inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Being non-sugar, it does not cause tooth decays and high blood sugar levels. Stevia can also be used in cooking or baking because it resists heat.
Stevia side effects
Stevia has been linked to the reduction in blood sugar levels because of interference in the glucose regulation. People with diabetes should be cautioned in the use of products with stevia because of possible hypoglycemic states when taken with insulin injections as stevia side-effects.
2. Sterility in men
Studies in hamsters have indicated a reduction in the sperm cells because of affectation of the production of the sperms by the testes. This is especially true in hamsters that received high doses of the plant. There have been no studies in human regarding this matter, but proponents have indicated that this stevia side- effect may not be true in humans.
3. Weakness and fatigue
Stevia is also believed to block the absorption of carbohydrates, thereby leads to inadequate carbohydrates to produce energy. Limited production of energy may contribute to weakness and fatigue especially in children as stevia side effects.
Stevia is also known to contribute to obesity as stevia side effect because of being 300 times sweeter than sugar. However, because of absence of sugar, the person tends to over eat to compensate with the caloric requirements. The intake of stevia should be monitored in clients with high risk for obesity.
Stevia may also lead to addiction as stevia side effect, especially to sweet foods because of being too sweet. The body tends to constantly search for sweet things that ARE comparable to the sweetness of stevia.
6. Bloating and abdominal pain
Sweet foods tend to produce more gas in the intestines leading to bloating and abdominal pain as stevia side effects.
7. Increased risk for cancer
Stevia was also linked to the development of cancer; however there are no adequate evidences to support such. DNA mutations have been observed in animals, which can contribute to the presence of cancer.
Allergy to ragweed may also lead to allergy to stevia because of similar plant components.
Stevia was also observed to cause numbness especially in the extremities. However, there is no direct link as to why this stevia side-effect occurs.
Additional effects of stevia are the possible problems relating to pregnancy, thereby, pregnant women are encouraged to use other forms of sweeteners during conception.
Despite the side effects, which have no concrete and strong foundations, stevia may still be used as a sweetener being accepted by the FDA. The benefits of stevia can be considered.
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