Does Stevia Spike Insulin? 5 Best Sweeteners for Diabetes

Living a life with diabetes is not often a cup of tea. You have to be careful and take steps according to your health. The focus of one’s diet starts to base on one’s blood sugar levels.

As diabetics, sweets and sugars are best avoided. There are many alternatives found in the market to substitute regular sugars or sweeteners harmful to the blood sugars.

It might make you think …

  • But are they safe?
  • If so, what are its good effects?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Which ate the best sweeteners for diabetes?

Etc.

We will answer all these commonly arising questions and assist in clearing your doubts.

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Stevia is one of the most common diabetic-safe sweeteners. But before we can jump into the details of it, let us know what it is.

What is Stevia?

What is Stevia

Foods and beverages sweetened with regular sugars and sweet flavors can be a reason for developing metabolic disorders. It can lead to ailments such as obesity, diabetes, etc.

Substituting these regular sugars that are high in calories and carbohydrates with lower calories is a better way for weight and metabolism management. Stevia is a natural sugar that is used as a healthy alternative to regular white sugar.

Stevia is a natural sugar extract called – Stevioside. It is extracted from the plant – Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni. This botanical extract is sweet to taste and calorie-free. As a plant-based product, it is also herbal and better for the body and overall health.

Stevia is a sugar, which has almost zero carbohydrates. It is available in liquid forms. As it is non-caloric and has no carbs, it does not have any harmful effects on the blood sugars.

Stevia is also observed to improve insulin sensitivity in the pancreas.

It is easily available to diabetes patients all over the world. They are also usually inexpensive.

Stevia is often recommended by dieticians to health, maintaining individuals, fitness enthusiasts, weight-watchers, etc.

Is Stevia Safe for Diabetes?

Is Stevia Safe for Diabetes

There are endless questions raised on food when it comes to diabetes. The doubts regarding sweeteners are even more severe. Let us find out what is said about this herbal and natural sweetener – Stevia.

As an alternative to regular sugar, stevia has been approved by dieticians and diabetes specialists. It has been tested to prove its benefits to the diabetic body. Hence, Yes! Stevia is safe for diabetics.

Stevia, as we discussed earlier, does not have calories. It is also absent from carbs. This is because of the presence of compounds called – Glycosides.

Glycosides are sweet compounds that cannot be digested by the body. Hence, they do not give rise to any calories or carbs, as nothing gets absorbed.

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Due to such reasons, stevia consumption is linked to having and maintaining a controlled blood sugar level. It assists in keeping the blood sugars low.

In addition to that, stevia is also said to be good for the body’s insulin levels. It has been studied and observed to increase insulin response.

Insulin is an essential metabolic hormone, especially for diabetic patients. It assists in the regulation of the metabolism process and its pace. Insulin levels help release and absorb sugars in the body and play an important role in managing diabetic conditions.

Apart from the endless goodness, it is also reported to have minimal or no side effects in general.

When substituted in place of place and managed well, Stevia can keep away and control diabetes.

It is good for removing the extra calories added due to the inclusion of regular sugars and sweeteners in the meals. Studies have also shown Stevia to provide satiety. Therefore, it also helps in keeping weight and obesity issues away.

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Does Stevia Spike Insulin Levels?

We already saw that the effect of Stevia on the body’s insulin is positive. It helps in improving insulin sensitivity. This, in turn, keeps the overall body glucose under control.

Insulin dysfunctions are amongst the major reasons for diabetes. Taking Stevia is a better option to have proper insulin production as well as function.

But one does need to be careful! Improper or excess amounts of Stevia can lead to imbalanced and overproduction of insulin in some cases. Higher than necessary insulin levels can also be harmful to diabetic health.

Hence, it is advisable to use Stevia wisely. Well, don’t know how to? We will tell you.

4 Tips for using Stevia wisely

4 Tips for using Stevia wisely

The Stevia sweeteners that are sold in markets are not 100% pure. They are generally mixed with artificial non-sugar sweeteners.

One such sweetener that is commonly combined with Stevia is – Erythritol. This is a sugar alcohol. These have a destroying effect on the good microbes in the gut and hence may cause troubles.

Adding such non-sugar sweeteners resists the natural and pure goodness of Stevia.

1. When shopping for Stevia, look for pure and original varieties of it. Go for the purest one that is available.

2. Use Stevia wisely with your daily diet. Do not over consume sweets or desserts just because they are made adding Stevia. It may be harmful to your regular diabetic health.

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3. Stevia as a sweetener is sweeter than regular sugars. Hence, when using it in food, be careful to use lesser quantity than stable sugars.

4. It is best to consult your diabetes doctors about the effect of stevia on your specific health condition. They can guide you the best as per your requirements as they have a better understanding.

Are there any Side effects of using Stevia?

Are there any Side effects of using Stevia

Well, as we mentioned previously, pure Stevia has no side effects on one’s health.

But the presence of non-sugar sweeteners in market-available Stevia may be problematic. These non-sugar sweeteners may be lesser in calories than regular sugar and may not harm the blood sugar levels. But they might cause other issues.

Sugar alcohols that are mixed in stevia can cause the following symptoms in some people:

  • Excessive bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps in the stomach
  • Other digestive issues

Hence, it is advisable to go for pure Stevia varieties for the best results and avoid side effects.

5 Best Sweeteners for Diabetes

By now, we have looked into the various effects, benefits, and tips on using Stevia as a diabetic sugar. But guess what? We have more options for you, other than just Stevia.

Let us have a look at the five best sweeteners for diabetes:

  1. Sucralose

This diabetic sweetener is popularly sold under the name – Splenda.

This is an artificial sugar alternative that is obtained from sucrose. Sucralose is a lot sweeter than regular sugar. Thus, its use is to be carried out in minimal quantities.

Sucralose is approximately 600 times sweeter than normal sugar. But the healthy part about it is that it is lower in calories. Therefore, it is safe for diabetic patients.

Sucralose is also tolerant to high temperatures. This means that it does not change its composition when exposed to excess heat. Thus, sucralose is often used in making baked goods and desserts.

They can be used to replace regular sugars for all. You can use them even if you do not have diabetes.

  1. Aspartame

This sweetener alternate is another common one when it comes to diabetic sugars.

Various brands sell this diabetic-safe sugar. It is also sweeter than regular sugar. Hence, fewer amounts of it are ideal for use.

They are also used as regular sugar replacements in diet sodas.

As compared to sucralose, Aspartame is not as good for baking as the other. Aspartame sugars may breakdown and influence blood sugar levels.

It is usually used as a table-top sugar.

  1. Acesulfame Potassium

This is also popularly called – Ace-K or Acesulfame K. This diabetic sweetener is as sweet as aspartame.

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This artificial sweetener has been deemed safe after research and observations. It has low-calorie and is safe for health. These experiments have assured its safety on consumption.

Acesulfame K has a slightly bitter after-taste. Due to this taste reason, it is much often combined with other sweeteners to avoid bitterness.

  1. Saccharin

The next one among the popular diabetic sweeteners is Saccharin. It is available in many brands; some are – Necta sweet, Sweet Twin, Sweet’N Low, etc.

It can be available in various intensities. This sweetener can vary from around 200 to 700 times as sweet as regular sugar.

Using lower quantities of Saccharin can satisfy the tastes and flavors. It can be easily and safely consumed as a table-top sugar alternative.

There is a range of these Saccharin sugars found in the market as well as online. You can browse several products and brands.

Make sure to go for authentic and unadulterated Saccharin options for the best of your health.

  1. Neotame

This is another high-tolerant diabetic-safe sugar. It is popularly sold under the brand – Newtame.

It is a lot sweeter than regular white sugar.

As we mentioned, it is also tolerant of higher temperatures. Hence, it can be used for baking as well.

It can be utilized for cooking, baking, and also as table-top sugar options.

It is very necessary to maintain your health’s safety. Thus, make sure to go for products that are safe for your diabetic health.

Opt for pure stevia and other unadulterated versions of diabetic sugars.

And to be on the better and safer side, always keep a check on the effect of these products on your blood sugar levels.

References

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  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900484/
  11. https://www.livestrong.com/article/536467-does-stevia-affect-insulin/
  12. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323376#stevia-alternatives-for-people-with-diabetes
Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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