Taking a Look at Stevia

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“The leaves of the stevia plant- a small perennial shrub also known as sweet herb- have long been used as a natural sweetener and herbal medicine in the plant’s native South America (Horowitz 36).” The artificial sweetener Stevia is becoming more popular. Stevia is an herb with about 300 times more sweetness power than sugar. There are many benefits to stevia such as helping those maintain a healthy blood pressure, helping diabetic patients and those who are on a low carb and low sugar controlled diet. “Previously only available as dietary supplements in the United states-because of theoretical concerns about effects on blood sugar control, renal function, and human cardiovascular and reproductive systems-highly refined preparations of stevia glycosides are now approved for use as sugar substitute food additives (Horowitz 36).” A 2 year study was conducted of randomized patients with mild essential hypertension (Horowitz 36). “Those who took capsules containing 500 mg of stevioside powder 3 times daily had significant decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo group (Horowitz 36)”. “The quality of life also improved in the stevioside users, and no significant adverse effects were noted (Horowitz 36)”. “Reviews of stevia also found positive results with respect to glucose tolerance and response (Horowitz 36)”. “In one of these studies, stevia preloads significantly reduced postprandial glucose and insulin levels, compared to both sucrose and

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