3

votes

Is stevia ok for my obese, sugar-addicted, diabetic who is starting Paleo / PHD with me?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 13, 2013 at 1:00 AM

My partner really has a sweet tooth, drinks lots of diet coke, and has little will power or willingness to eat things that don't taste great.

I'm pretty committed to PHD / Paleo and am doing the cooking and meal prep.

If I make a green smoothie, I'm thinking of adding the banana, but combining it with stevia to make it taste better.

Thoughts?

Obviously, it's better than diet coke because it's natural, but I do have a concern that training one's body that everything is supposed to be sweet is a bad idea.

Thanks, Mike

8c509aac21bdb54b3ca91de2da994b9b

(248)

on January 13, 2013
at 05:43 PM

Mike, I am a sugar/carb addict, and I use stevia. Not everyday, but if I want it in a sugarfree chai latte or if I want to sweeten coffee or a protein shake or something. I find that stevia, erythritol, and xylitol don't seem to set off cravngs, but splenda does. I would say use it where needed in moderation, and as your partner gets used to the lifestyle, in time those needs for sweets will start to taper.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:48 PM

Wonderful answer. I was a foodie, too. Still am! I have branched out on vegetables more in the last year than I have in my whole life. Never before would the sad point in my day have been the farmer's market being out of brussels sprouts. I feel free to eat more things I love on Primal than I did before, as a low-fat whole-grain believing foodie.

44349dd8bf3bc226731d2f6bd42e8124

(318)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:27 PM

I'm down almost 60# and a former sweet addict. I use Stevia every day in my coffee. It makes me feel like I'm having a treat and I'm staying in control. I say go for it!

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:18 AM

A bit of raw and local honey is not bad because it has other good properties, like being antimicrobial and fighting allergies. It's just that it has to be very little of it. Stevia givens me stomach pains.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 13, 2013
at 05:20 AM

Honey for a diabetic is no different than refined sugar. Bad idea...

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:55 AM

Yes. I baked as part of my family tradition, as a craft, as a joyful way to relax. BUT I'm just plain not one who can moderate the consumption end. So now I bake mindfully and deliberately once in a rare while and I enjoy the results so much more. I'm still bummed that one of my few gifts is something that I don't let myself use much, but hey, I was dealt this body in this life and I CAN learn new skills to delight in.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:44 AM

I respectfully disagree. I was a sugar addict. A masterful (gluten free!) baker. And I definitely chose to slowly wean myself to new tastebuds AND to cut the grains. I think simple unsweet carbs drive the sugar cravings just as well as sugar. One day I honest to goodness found myself thinking "holy hell, fruit is sweet!" Now the only add'tl "regular" sweet I do is a bit of xylitol in my coffee or fruit. My tastes have changed hugely in about a year of primal eating.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:47 AM

the sweet taste itself will affect the brain's control of glucose. she really needs to learn to forgo sugar in the long-run and its sweet taste if she's to overcome her health problems. you don't quit cocaine by taking small sniffs you go cold turkey. sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine. she has to be mentally ready for her journey, no one else but her

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14 Answers

best answer

5
532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on January 13, 2013
at 07:25 PM

Mark Sisson did the legwork for us on this one:

"In fact, the evidence is mounting that stevia actually is an insulin sensitizer that can aid in glucose tolerance and clearance after a meal. The Japanese have been using stevia for decades in the treatment of type 2 diabetics. Let???s look at a few recent studies. In fructose-fed rats, a single instance of oral stevioside increased insulin sensitivity and reduced postprandial blood glucose in a dose-dependent manner. The same study also found that diabetic rats given stevioside required less exogenous insulin for the same effect. Taken together, these results suggest that stevia may not just be a good sugar substitute for diabetics, but an effective supplement for treatment of their insulin resistance.

Another study looked at the postprandial effects of stevia, sucrose, and aspartame in human subjects. Compared to sucrose eaters, stevia eaters showed lower postprandial blood sugar levels. Compared to both sucrose and aspartame eaters, stevia eaters had far lower postprandial insulin levels. Furthermore, eating stevia did not induce increased appetite throughout the day, indicating stable blood sugar and satiety levels. Another strike in stevia???s favor."

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/stevia/#axzz2Hswd8PrY

4
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on January 13, 2013
at 02:20 AM

I think stevia is fine to use. Just make sure you know how to use it. It can go from tasty to bitter swill if you use too much. I much prefer the NuNatural brand particularly the liquid regular and vanilla flavored. IMO you don't get a super sweet taste from stevia. You can only use so much before it turns on you. I would give it a go and then taper off if desired later.

Some people go cold turkey and that works well for them. Others, not so much. I've been at this paleo thing a long time and still use stevia on a daily basis. I haven't exploded yet. If some sweetness helps to make the plan liveable and enjoyable then I think that's the way to go.

3
2c256161996191dff0b8ec9ff38a680e

on January 13, 2013
at 09:29 AM

Cold turkey. Rip that band-aid straight off. (choose ripe banana to make smoothie with)

3
68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:09 AM

If sweetener is a delivery agent for some nutritious food to go down better, go for it.

The problem with it is, most people use it as a replacement ingredient in stuff they should be avoiding anyway. For instance, baking with artificial sweeteners. The problem isn't the sweetener, it's the need to make baked goods to begin with.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:55 AM

Yes. I baked as part of my family tradition, as a craft, as a joyful way to relax. BUT I'm just plain not one who can moderate the consumption end. So now I bake mindfully and deliberately once in a rare while and I enjoy the results so much more. I'm still bummed that one of my few gifts is something that I don't let myself use much, but hey, I was dealt this body in this life and I CAN learn new skills to delight in.

3
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on January 13, 2013
at 02:57 AM

Try honey. I ate a TON of honey when I first went paleo, and then was able to wean myself off of it. If you really start eating clean, you will find that your taste buds open up to sweetness in all kinds of things, and you naturally need less. I remember the first time I ate carrots after a few months I was literally appalled at how sweet they were!

I also would sometimes add a small amount of honey plus a few drops of stevia; the honey kind of masks the stevia aftertaste. Here is some sweet tea I make for my southern sweet tea loving husband:

http://kennedycircusunleashed.blogspot.com/2011/04/iced-green-tea.html

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 13, 2013
at 05:20 AM

Honey for a diabetic is no different than refined sugar. Bad idea...

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:18 AM

A bit of raw and local honey is not bad because it has other good properties, like being antimicrobial and fighting allergies. It's just that it has to be very little of it. Stevia givens me stomach pains.

3
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:07 AM

Bananas cause my glucose to skyrocket, so be careful. IMO, stevia is better than artificial sweeteners, but may take some getting used to.

2
Dcc6f3ae86d473542f8556b6e653ce54

on January 13, 2013
at 01:16 PM

I would take xylitol, it looks like sugar and it tastes exactly like sugar. It seems to have also other health benefits like anti-caries and parodonthosis.

2
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:52 AM

Maybe approach this by being open to trying new things with her? This can be a fun adventure. Make it non-judgmental (not that you would be, just be mindful to give that boundary some room - obese folk already get shamed for just existing). Spring for a new brand of stevia or a fun local honey or a really fantastic piece of exotic fruit from the Asian grocery. You need buy in if this is going to be a sustainable lifestyle. I'm not saying to use food bribes, but to have some respect for sweet being valuable to her. Her body chemistry will follow. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I dunno. I'm food motivated. The very notion of cold-turkey improvements is horribly aversive. But I'm as adaptable as the next person. I never, ever thought that I'd end up thinking that my favorite fancy ice cream was sickly-sweet and one day it just was. It can happen.

1
A496558f611e582fd8c4224ac25a4d01

(55)

on January 13, 2013
at 04:42 PM

I used stevia to wean myself off of sugar-free vanilla lattes. It takes a bit of time to get used to it because if you use to much it taste awful. You really only need a small pinch. I used it for about 6 months before I no longer needed it or wanted it. I didn't use it in anything else though. My body didn't seem to react the same way to it that it do to sugar-free syrups. I didn't crave more sweets after using it. It just allowed me to adjust my taste to less sweet coffee.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on January 13, 2013
at 01:22 PM

I think the super-sweet taste of either sugar or artificial sweeteners causes the same response in the body, which spikes insulin and triggers hunger. I think that sugsr, stevia, and aspartame are all equally bad in that regard.

As others have noted, the only way to really drop sweets and achieve the desired positive change in metabolism and health is to drop all of these sweeteners completely. Like others, I dropped sugar but for a long time kept using artificial sweeteners (diet soda and stevia) and my diet never got anywhere. It wasn't until i dropped these that i really gained traction.

If you want to phase into paleo having been a sweet tooth, I'd suggest upping your fat intake. Fat is delicious, satisfying, and tastes a bit sweet, and so satisfies that craving. For example i started putting about a tablespoon of heavy cream in my coffee in the mornings, which is delicious. I found that my tastes began to change just a few weeks after dropping sugar. Sugar masks other flavors and i now appreciate the flavor in foods more, essentially i shifted the spectrum of tastes that I enjoy to cut out super-sweet but to include many others.

I think it is important to focus on the delicious foods that are in the paleo diet too. Steak, roast, fowl, roasted sweet potatoes with lots of butter, vegetables roasted with bacon, etc. I was a bit of a foodie when I went paleo and was worried that i would have to stop cooking great meals because my choices are limited, but that turned out not to be the case at all. For example after almost 2 years i am still finding interesting foods to explore, such as roast goose, wild boar, and a huge assortment of vegetables cooked every which way.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:48 PM

Wonderful answer. I was a foodie, too. Still am! I have branched out on vegetables more in the last year than I have in my whole life. Never before would the sad point in my day have been the farmer's market being out of brussels sprouts. I feel free to eat more things I love on Primal than I did before, as a low-fat whole-grain believing foodie.

1
75bf87379aa119821e3f6f4115f1145a

(224)

on January 13, 2013
at 03:03 AM

i'd advise against using stevia - the ultimate key to destroying my daily sugar cravings was to completely eliminate stevia. it took me 2 years to realize that stevia was giving my body a glucose reaction of some sorts, but given that stevia was the only sweet taste i had left in my life, usually tended to attribute these cravings to other factors and not the stevia!

i was also happily surprised to find that the occasionally dizzy spells i would experience disappeared, likely due to the fact that stevia is very effective at reducing blood pressure, yet this is something which many consumers of stevia are not aware of. perhaps it affects me more because i'm following the autoimmune protocol and am consuming very little carbs, but just wanted to share in case it helps.

1
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:13 AM

Bananas are pretty sweet. You probably don't need the stevia. I find stevia very bitter so it puts me off every time.

That said, Dr. Davis says we KNOW that sugar is not safe, so even the worst artificial sweetener is an improvement. And health wise, stevia is probably the best of the sweeteners.

0
43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on January 13, 2013
at 08:37 PM

It is a good thing you are on PHD vs a no carb diet if you are having artificial sweeteners. From the neuroscience research I have seen artificial sweeteners activates I believe the hypothalamus. In the case of starches or sweets it activates it and it turns on, on an brain scan and then it turns off when the body senses we have received the carbs. But in the case of artificial sweeteners minus the actual sweets there is the potential for hypotholamic damage due to the activation of the brain "hot spot" without turning it off. So stevia with carb meals may be best as opposed to solo to avoid this hypothetical scenario.

Not enough research has been done on this. Or perhaps enough but I just haven't seen it :)

0
D33a8d5f095a8532ddf7a0d6c27bfe63

(578)

on January 13, 2013
at 07:09 PM

If I make a green smoothie, I'm thinking of adding the banana, but combining it with stevia to make it taste better.

It's mind-boggling to add stevia to the banana smoothie. First, you don't need additional sweetness with the banana. Second, the stevia will make it slightly bitter so will turn you off from the smoothie.

The issue is this: Stevia is fine as an added sweetener. It's superior to sugar and artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal or Aspartame. It's natural but processed in the sense that you're not chewing on the leaves but eating something powdered or liquefied. It doesn't raise your BG despite many claims here that the sweetness expected will release insulin and raise your BG: this is a psychosomatic explanation and you need to plumb the person's deep subconscious to find out exactly why. However, on the minus side, both liquid and powder versions have a bitter aftertaste so many people don't end up using it.

Also, a tiny minority of users develop severe allergic reactions to stevia (also to certain artificial sweeteners). This remains a tiny minority but they are the ones that tend to publicize their reactions as the norm, not the exception. For 95% of users, stevia is completely harmless, if you can take the bitterness.

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