Is Stevia a Good Sugar Replacement for Weight Loss?
Almost everything we eat, anything processed, and most items you will get at restaurants are filled with sugar. Fast food in particular is notoriously bad about this. Sugar is basically all carbohydrates, and as such, can lead to rapid weight gain. In addition, high volumes of sugar actually prevent the body from burning fat effectively when you’re exercising. Most Americans generally get about 22% of their daily calories from sugar alone, and this is an area with significant possibility of improvement. This has caused our nation to not only become malnourished, with the lack of natural nutrients, but also obese at the same time.
Unfortunately, most packaged foods also contain high amounts of sweeteners, usually corn syrup or sugar. Not only does sugar taste good it’s often highly addictive. Your body becomes dependent upon the sugar over time. Once you develop a regular diet filled with a lot of sweeteners, it’s often difficult to break away from it. There’s been some suspicion over the years that sugar is being added to food in order to make people become addicted or dependent on that food and increase revenue for the manufacturer.
What we know as sugar is an unnatural concentration of vegetable or cane extracts. It comes from either sugar canes or beets typically, with the juice being extracted from these. During a refining process this is changed over to molasses. After processing the molasses is turned into refined brown sugars and then crystallized into white sugars we all know. Unfortunately, this sugar that’s the end result does not contain any vitamins, minerals, nutrients or enzymes that our body needs and is, for the most part, just empty calories.
Recently the USDA factored in how much sugar and other derivatives are consumed by Americans each year, and a whopping 130 pounds is consumed per capita. This is an astronomical amount of sugar, and represents over 1/3 a pound of sugar each and every day. It’s quite clear that, for the most part, Americans are addicted to this substance. From the time we are born we’re exposed to processed sugars. Even most baby formulas actually contain large amounts of the compound.
When someone consumes sugar at this level, they can develop complications such as hypoglycemia. According to FDA, around 35 percent of Americans experience some kind of chronic low blood sugar. Once they eat sugar, this turns into a high feeling for brief periods until they crash shortly after. Hypoglycemia causes issues like fatigue, insomnia, and a huge increase in appetite.
Can Stevia Be Used as a Sugar Alternative?
Sugar doesn’t really serve any function in our foods that we make with it outside of flavor. Unlike flour or baking soda, sugar does not actually chemically alter food in any specific way at the chemical level. According to WebMD, it’s possible to substitute stevia into almost any recipe that involves sugar, cutting out the unnecessary calories and preserving the taste. It has been used significantly in matters of weight loss as it enables people to cut out a lot of carbs.
Stevia is a natural extract from the sweetleaf plant, native to South America. Stevia actually contains two different molecules of “glycosides”. These are approximately 300 times sweetener than regular white sugar. Stevia contains no effective calories and zero carbohydrates. The taste is similar to other artificial sweeteners, but it’s more natural than other things like Splenda. As a result, many people are choosing to take stevia instead as a lot of the supposed cancer risks with other sweeteners are not present with Stevia. Stevia’s slightly mild aftertaste can be masked through the introduction of small amounts of sugar, if needed.
Stevia offers a fantastic alternative to sugar, without all of the carbs or calories. Just switching over to stevia would cut your daily caloric intake by at least 20% on average. This is one of the easiest and most pain free ways to cut out unnecessary calories.
Jennifer T. works with several blogs talking about nutrition and health. She’s had years of experience working with people to cut out unnecessary calories and help them lose weight.