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Does Stevia Impact Blood Sugar Levels?

Sweetness in Practice Contributor - Jan 3, 2016
Erin January large

As the holiday season comes to a close, New Year’s resolutions are top of mind for many. Year after year, one of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight and improve overall wellness. For individuals with diabetes, this can often mean making dietary changes such as reducing sugar and replacing with a zero-calorie sweetener. In this month’s article for healthcare professionals, Truvía® Healthcare Ambassador, and Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator, Sweetness in Practice Contributor, discusses industry research on stevia leaf extract and its impact on blood sugar levels, and what this means for patients.

Does stevia leaf extract impact blood sugar levels?

A major source of empty calories in the typical American diet comes in the form of added sugar, with an estimated 20 teaspoons of caloric sweetener being consumed daily.1 Consuming high sugar diets has been linked to weight gain2 and has been shown to have adverse effects on glucose tolerance in healthy individuals.3 Because of this, reducing intake of caloric sweeteners is one of the first areas people target when trying to lose weight and reduce blood sugar levels. As a first step, many of these individuals begin turning toward low calorie or no calorie sweetener options in the hopes of achieving their weight goals without having to sacrifice taste. For individuals with diabetes, incorporating a non-nutritive sweetener, for example one made from stevia leaf extract, can help patients enjoy their favorite recipes while maintaining the ability to manage blood sugar levels.

Recommending sweeteners made from stevia leaf extract, such as Truvía® Natural Sweetener, can be a great way to help your patients manage their blood sugar and weight goals coming out of the indulgent holiday season. Truvía® Natural Sweetener is both safe and appropriate for use by people with diabetes. Research has shown that stevia leaf extract and erythritol have little to no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels and Truvía® Natural Sweetener has also been shown to have no effect on glycemic index. Chronic consumption of strictly purified stevia leaf extract was also found to have no effect on blood sugar, insulin, hemoglobin A1c, or blood lipids in subjects in a randomized, masked study of individuals with type 2 diabetes.4

For patients who seek to lose or manage weight as a New Year’s resolution, reducing consumption of simple sugars can be easily incorporated into a daily diet plan. For example, swapping sweetened beverages for those sweetened with purified stevia leaf extract is one effective way to reduce overall calorie consumption. Sweetened beverages can be a large, inconspicuous contributor of added sugar to the diet. For instance, replacing a 12 ounce sweetened tea for a tea sweetened with Truvía® Natural Sweetener can provide a calorie savings of up to135 calories or more per serving.

Beverages are not the only opportunity where a sweetener swap can reduce calorie and carbohydrate consumption. Baking with Truvía® Cane Sugar Blend provides the same great taste as regular sugar, but with a 75% reduction in calories from sugar. When these swaps are incorporated on a regular basis, weekly calorie consumption can be reduced, which may help to promote weight management and sustainable New Year’s resolutions.

To learn more about how Truvía® sweetener can play a useful role in a healthy balanced diet, click here. »


References:

  1. American Heart Association. 19 May 2014. Frequently Asked Questions About Sugar. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Sugar_UCM_306725_Article.jsp#.Vk4AKBNViko

  2. Raben A, Vasilaras TH, Moller AC, Astrup A. Sucrose compared with artificial sweeteners: different effects on ad libitum food intake and body weight after 10 wk of supplementation in overweight subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76:721–729. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12324283

  3. Cohen AM, Teitelbaum A, Balogh M, Groen JJ. Effect of interchanging bread and sucrose as main source of carbohydrate in a low fat diet on the glucose tolerance curve of healthy volunteer subjects.Am J Clin Nutr. 1966;19:59–62. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5944712