The sweet truth of the new age alternative- Stevia

The sweet truth of the new age alternative- Stevia

What level of a refined diet/life are you on?

Want to know what's a drug you might have been consuming on a daily basis? 

It’s Sugar, Good morning! 

Of course you might have heard this many times, from your doctor or your trainer and still find yourself circling back to consuming refined sugar. Want to know the reason behind you relapsing to sugar? It's because you don’t have a leverage compelling enough to be completely off it. 

We want to share a story of a Chronic Juvenile Delinquent, and we bet nothing would be as compelling as this kids story for you to rid your body of refined sugar.

This case study is recounted by Alexander Schauss in his Diet, Crime and Delinquency.


 Following is the strict  six meals a day diet plan this kid swore by for years:

  • Breakfast- Five cups of Sugar Snacks with an added half teaspoon of sugar, one glazed doughnut and two glasses of milk.
  • Snack- A foot long rope of licorice and three six-inch beef jerky sticks.
  • Lunch- Two hamburgers, french fries, licorice, some green beans and little or no salad.
  • Snack- A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, a canned tomato soup and a glass of sweetened Kool-Aid. 
  • EOD Snack- A bowl of ice-cream, a marathon candy bar and a small glass of water. 

Wondering if this diet had something to do with his physiology, his state and behavior? Oh you bet!

When a nutrition behavior inventory questionnaire was give to this fourteen-year-old-boy these are the symptoms he accounted for:

  • After falling asleep, waking up and facing difficulty in falling back to sleep.
  • Headaches.
  • Itching or crawling sensations on the skin.
  • Upset stomachs or intestines.
  • Getting bruised or black and blue marks easily.
  • Nightmares.
  • Cold sweats, fainting or dizzy sensations.
  • Constant hunger and faint feelings if not eaten often.
  • Often forget things, feeling restless.
  • Can’t work under pressure.
  • Feeling depressed very often.
  • Blowing out on little things and losing temper.

Sugar is really a drug that you might have made your body addicted to. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, try staying off even the minimal refined sugar you might be consuming in your beverages or meals unknowingly for an experiment. What will happen is your body will start giving you headaches or getting you feeling low on energy, this is just your body’s way of signalling you to give it some sugar! As you might have made it habituated to sugar

Is the history of artificial sweeteners even that sweet? 

Our very first encounter with artificial sweeteners was in 1879 when a researcher accidentally discovered a product at John Hopkins University, which we now know as Saccharin. Saccharin was three hundred times sweeter than sugar, with no real side effects. As the popularity of this artificial sweetener grew, the competitors and regulators naturally started questioning its assumed harmlessness.Well, what can we say, not all accidents are bad right?

From 1912, food regulations treated Saccharin as an “adulterant” and its use was prohibited. Saccharin came in and out of the game between World War I and World War II.With time people started consuming more pre-processed food so they have to cook less. Pre-processed products contained inexpensive Saccharin which led to a rise of a large food processing industry, this caught the attention of regulators, nutritionists and health officers. 

A clinical study performed in 1970, showed higher instances of bladder cancer in rats who were given Saccharin everyday. 

Even after a rising scientific controversy of Saccharin in the 1970s, by 1979, 44 million American users were recorded to be consuming Saccharin daily.

The controversy kept continuing through the years. Towards the end though, the ones behind Saccharin to be taken down from its throne weren’t the government regulations but the producers instead. The producers felt threatened by a possible Saccharin Ban and this led to them researching alternatives. 

Many other alternatives for Saccharin (300 times sweeter than sugar) as artificial sweeteners rose:

  • 1965- Aspartame (200 times sweeter than sugar)
  • 1976- Sucralose (600 times sweeter than sugar)
  • 2002- Neotame (7000-13000 times sweeter than sugar)
  • 2008- Stevia (150 times sweeter than sugar)

        With the rise of these and many other artificial sweeteners throughout the year, Saccharin stands replaced with its competitors.

Why alternative sweeteners are better for you?

One might think that alternative sweeteners might not give them the same level of sweetness as refined sugar and it being the “real deal”. On the contrary, these alternative sweeteners are also at times known as intense sweeteners, as they tend to be many times sweeter than refined sugar.

Alternative sweeteners are popular specifically amongst the weight watchers, as they virtually add no calories to your diet. 

They also happen to have no effect on your blood sugar levels. Alternative sweeteners don’t fall under the category of carbohydrates. So unlike regular refined sugar, they usually don’t play  a part in raising your blood sugar levels. This is why a lot of diabetic patients are advised to use alternative sweeteners when an urge for sweets rises. 

What's all the buzz with stevia?

Stevia is a natural sweetener that is extracted from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana. It is 150     times sweeter than sugar. It is considered to be a healthy sugar alternative. 

It happens to have the following health benefits:

  • Reduced calorie intake.
  • No rise in blood sugar levels.
  • Reduces risks of Pancreatic Cancer.
  • Helps control the consumption of sugar from a young age, hence a good alternative for children’s diet.
  • Doesn’t lead to any cases of allergies.

How naturally is stevia derived?

Stevia is derived from the lease of the stevia rebaudiana plant, an herbal shrub native to South America. For over a hundred years, the stevia plant, apart from being used to make stevia sweeteners, also plays a role in food and medicinal usage, its leaves along with crude extracts have been sold as dietary supplements. 

Different Personalities of Stevia you need to be aware of.

  • Crude/green leaf Stevia- Least processed type of stevia. (10-15 times sweeter than sugar)

  • Purified Stevia Extracts- Contains 95% pure rebaudioside A glycosides. 

  • Altered Stevia Blenda- Alert! This is the least healthy option.

  • Organic Stevia- Produced with organically grown stevia, Non-GMO, No glycemic impact and heads up for it being naturally gluten free!

  • Non-Organic Stevia- Might be produced with pesticides and other chemicals, Non-GMO, No glycemic impact and naturally gluten free.

Where can you use stevia?

Stevia is a great alternative for sugar as it is heat stable and pH- stable. 

It can be included in the following delicious ways:

  • In coffee or tea.
  • Lemonade.
  • Hot or cold cereal.
  • With yoghurt.
  • Can be used in baking (but leave a slight licorice aftertaste)

Are there any side effects of using stevia?

Stevia might sound like the sweetest new but it certainly comes with its side effects:

  • Damages the kidney- Stevia is considered to be a diuretic, which means it has effects on the body’s speed to expel water and electrolytes through the urine. Our kidney being responsible for filtering and facilitating our urine, long-term consumption of stevia might lead to damaging the organ.
  • Will not keep your tummy happy- might cause nausea, vomiting, indigestion, cramping, bloating for some people.
  • Might be linked with cancerous formations in the body.
  • Causes damage to the reproductive system in some cases.
  • Causes damage to the cardiovascular system in some cases.

 If you are looking for a little more sweetness in your life, why not give stevia a try?

Now that you might have lived so many years of life consuming refined sugar, right from being a child, especially in an Indian Household, why not give a healthier option a try? Yes stevia has both it’s pros and cons, but so does refined sugar, probably more cons than pros. Everything in moderation can balance out its effects and the pleasure that comes with it. 

All sweet things come with a little bitterness, don’t you think? 

If you are someone who has successfully stayed off sugar, well, good for you! But for someone starting out, or even for a once in a while sweet tooth celebration, BBETTER Stevia might be a good alternative to consider in moderate quantities.

Hope you have the sweetest day/week/month ahead and by that we certainly don’t mean diabetes. :)