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Stevia is starting to get a lot of attention as a substitute for regular sugar because it tastes sweeter and doesn't contain calories. Stevia can be used for people with certain diseases who must limit sugar consumption in their daily diet
Stevia is a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Stevia tastes sweet thanks to the steviol glycosides in it. These compounds make stevia taste 250–300 times sweeter than sucrose or regular sugar.
Replacing Sugar with Stevia
Because it has a much sweeter taste than regular sugar, stevia does not need to be used in large quantities as a sweetener in food or drinks. If you're used to adding 2 teaspoons of sugar to your coffee or tea, with stevia you can simply use 1 teaspoon.
Although much sweeter than regular sugar, stevia does not contain calories. Even if there are, those calories usually come from other food ingredients mixed in it.
For comparison, one teaspoon (about 4.2 grams) of regular sugar contains 16 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates, while 1 teaspoon of stevia has 0 calories and only 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Stevia Benefits for He alth
With the reduced amount of sweetener consumed, here are some of the possible benefits of stevia that can be felt:
1. Good for diabetes
In addition to not containing carbohydrates and calories, stevia is also believed to improve the body's performance in processing glucose (blood sugar) by increasing insulin production.
Research shows that consuming stevia is thought to be safe and effective to help maintain blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is recommended to choose pure stevia without a mixture of other types of sweeteners and not consumed in excess.
2. Help reduce weight
Total daily calorie intake will decrease when you replace sugar intake with stevia. This method can help you maintain or lose weight, as long as you don't overeat.
3. Lowering blood pressure
Stevia is also believed to be able to lower blood pressure if consumed regularly. However, studies to prove these benefits have not shown consistent results.
4. Lowering cholesterol levels
According to a study, consuming stevia is thought to increase levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower total cholesterol, LDL bad cholesterol, and triglycerides. However, further research is still needed to prove the benefits of this stevia.
5. Prevent the risk of kidney disease
The habit of eating foods that are too sweet can increase the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Both of these diseases can lead to kidney disease.
According to research, stevia is thought to be effective in reducing the risk of kidney disease because it can help prevent diabetes and high blood pressure. This study also states that stevia is a better sweetener alternative for people with kidney failure.
Until now, stevia has been proven safe for consumption. However, you must still pay attention to your daily food and drink intake so that the amount of sugar and calories consumed is not excessive.
The limit for sugar intake for men is 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons per day. As for women as much as 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day.
Keep in mind, eating sugar-free foods does not mean you are free from calories. Calories can be obtained from other ingredients in the food or drink. In addition, you also need to live a he althy lifestyle because relying on stevia alone is not enough to maintain sugar levels in the body.
If you have diabetes and are looking for a substitute for regular sugar, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor for advice on a suitable sugar substitute and its limits.