March 4, 2013
Stevia is a type of herb which belongs to the sunflower family. It is found in abundance in regions of Central America as well as subtropical and tropical areas of South America. The leaves of this plant are almost 30 times sweeter than the ordinary table sugar. It can be added in food preparation but may be eaten raw as well.
After the ban on all artificial sweeteners like saccharine and aspartame in the 60’s, Japan introduced the use of this herb as a natural sweetener. Stevia gained popularity as a sweetener which made numerous other countries followed its lead. Nowadays, Stevia is used as a commercial sweetening agent for lots of mass produced. It is also used for marketed food products like bakery items, low calorie foods, diet sodas and many more.
The Side Effects of Stevia
In America, Stevia is not known as a food additive or sweetener. It is considered a dietary supplement. Based on scientific reports, its extract stevioside can result to health problems of the consumer. Some of the most common allergic reactions anyone can have after its consumption include nausea and headaches. Aside from these, there are a lot of possible medical problems associated with its use. You will find below a list for your information.
- Harmful to the Metabolism: Experiments in animals have shown that large dose of stevioside can interfere with the absorption of the carbohydrates in the body. As a result, the conversion of food into energy is hampered.
- Reproductive Concerns: In 2006, a group of scientists from Europe conducted an experiment on male rats and female hamsters. These animals were given with doses of steviosides and its derivative called steviol respectively. This is to draw conclusions regarding the side effects of Stevia on the reproductive organs of male and female. The sperm production and also the weight of the seminal vesicles of the rats drastically reduced. While the hamsters delivered pups or babies which were weak and small in size. Thus, it was concluded that stevioside can easily cause infertility.
- Malignancy: Even if numerous tests have been performed in order to check for the role of this herb in causing cancer, it is still somehow debated upon. In a controlled experiment conducted in the laboratory, stevioside derivative steviol may be converted into a compound which is genetically mutated. Cell mutation can result to cancer.
Filed under: Food Supplements