Is stevia safe to use if you have type 2 diabetes?
The low-calorie sweetener stevia is made from sweet compounds that are extracted and purified from the stevia plant. Some of the brand names of stevia include of Truvia, SweetLeaf, or Purevia. The main compound extracted from the stevia plant that gives these products their sweet taste is called rebaudioside A or Rebiana.
There was some debate in the recent past about whether or not stevia-based sweeteners should be available as artificial sweeteners in the United States. However, stevia is now generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means this product can now be sold as a table top sweetener and companies can also use it to sweeten the products that they make. However, it is not fully FDA approved, a process that takes additional research and time.
Stevia-based sweeteners have minimal calories and carbohydrates so they will not have a significant effect on your blood glucose levels. Stevia, along with other very-low calorie sweeteners, can be useful for people with diabetes to curb sweet cravings without disrupting blood glucose control.
As with anything, do not go overboard when you use very low-calorie sweeteners. Most products have at least some carbohydrates, which can add up if you have too much at once.
Stevia is new on the market, so hopefully more research will be available about its effects on blood glucose in people with diabetes.
There are also five artificial sweeteners that have been rigorously tested and approved by the FDA: acesulfame K, aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, and neotame. Visit our Artificial Sweeteners page to read more about these sweeteners.
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