Stevia The Real Deal For Dieters

So we all know that Stevia, along with the other zero-calorie sugar substitutes, is helpful just for curbing sugar cravings without adding empty calories to your diet or spiking your blood glucose.[1]

There’s a lot of exciting new research coming out that indicates it has all sorts of added benefits for dieters as well — everything from regulation of insulin levels to an increase in production of the satellite cells that serve as precursors to new muscle tissue cells. There’s even some study results that indicate it may be able to reverse the effects of some metabolic diseases!

If you’ve been reading up on zero-cal sweeteners, you may have seen some of these claims already out in the wild … possibly without any kind of citation or evidence backing them up. In this post we’re going to go over the relevant studies to date for each of these claims.

For example, anyone claiming that “Stevia reverses diabetes” is going way too far based on the evidence that’s available right now… but there are interesting indications that it’s at least helpful.

What Stevia Can (and Can’t) Do!

  • Stevia For Satellite Cells

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    A 2012 study indicates that Stevia reduced inflammation and boosted the immune system when administered in the wake of a muscle tissue injury induced by cardiotoxins.[2]

    There’s a couple of important notes here. This is the lone study of this nature thus far, and it was done on rats. While rat results do often indicate a promising direction for future studies in humans, they can’t be directly equated to the same results in humans without similar testing.

    Also, while increased satellite cell production was seen in the muscle tissue, it did not appear to actually contribute directly to quicker regeneration of the muscle tissue. While the researchers conclude that further research along this line is warranted, it’s too early to say stevia helps to repair injured tissue, let alone that it will have any sort of exercise benefit.

  • Stevia Regulates Insulin Levels

    While Stevia will clearly keep insulin levels stable as compared to sugar, there are actually several studies — again in mice — that show administration of Stevia stimulates insulin production.[3,4]

    Again, however, we’re dealing entirely with rats — usually diabetic rats at that — without appropriate follow-up on humans as of yet. There’s only one partially relevant study on humans that indicated Stevia showed a small drop in blood glucose in participants when taken for three months. The study was focused more on general pharmacological safety and wasn’t directly measuring insulin production, however.[5]

    As with satellite cell production, it looks promising, but it’s way too early to link Stevia directly to insulin production in humans.

  • Stevia Reverses Type II Diabetes

    Now we get to the big one.

    The most exciting study thus far showed that administration of Stevia created a flood of free radical scavenging antioxidants that specifically seemed to target liver damage … in diabetic rats. Healthy rats used as a control also saw an improvement in their glycemic balance, with no dips into hypoglycemic levels during the trial, and an improvement in serum superoxide dismutate levels.[6]

We’re Talkin’ About Rats

Watch out for your Stevia

Do not let this man near your Stevia.

To paraphrase Allen Iverson — “We’re talkin’ about rat studies. Not a clinical trial. Not a clinical trial. Rat studies.”

All of this information is promising, but it all leans almost completely on rat studies at this point, and not even very many of them. More research on actual people is needed before any of these claims can be made definitively.

What we do know about Stevia is that it seems relatively safe (as long as it is highly purified), well tolerated in most people, and will have the caloric and glycemic benefits that any zero-cal sweetener will have when you substitute it in for your sugar. So strictly in terms of weight loss, it does appear to be the real deal. But you should take any other miracle claims about its health properties with a big grain of salt, at least until we see some more studies.

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