Ingredients Spotlight: Stevia

News Written by Richard Harris

Stevia is the common word used to describe the plant ‘Stevia Rebaudiana’. In recent times, the most common use for Stevia has been as a ‘sweetener’ in various food and drinks products. However, stevia usage dates way back to the sixteenth century where explorers made discoveries of the plant and began using it as a medicinal herb to help with various pathologies as well as a sweetening agent.

Why Stevia?

At MPN, we want to make our products taste great, and we believe they do. Stevia provides sweetness up to 300 times that of sugar. This is in fact quite low in comparison to other artificial sweeteners. However, we have also set out not too sacrifice our customer’s health and therefore performance, hence we will never use any artificial flavourings or sweeteners to make our products taste great. The only sweetener we will use in our products, if any, is Stevia. Based on the following evidence, and the growing evidence that sugar in sports drinks is far from ideal (we will be writing about this very soon), we’d far rather use a small and safe amount of Stevia to make our drinks taste great.

Does Stevia really have health benefits?

Absolutely! Stevia has been well researched as a sweetener and has been shown to provide potential benefits in several differing conditions.

Researchers have found that long term consumption of Stevia has led to reductions in blood pressure, improving overall cardiac health.

 

As sweeteners are traditionally used to replace sugars, it is hoped that they have little influence on one’s blood sugar levels. However, just last week, researchers in the BBC’s ‘Trust me, I am a Doctor’ programme conducted a small, but intriguing study on the effects of the artificial sweetener saccharin, versus the ‘more natural’ Stevia, and their influence on blood sugar levels. The full write up can be found here, however the intake of saccharin significantly increased subject’s blood sugar levels and also altered gut bacteria. On the other hand, the subjects in the Stevia group saw no significant changes in blood sugar levels but interestingly saw gut bacteria alter, but for the better!

Research has also found that Stevia may even assist with reducing what’s known as ‘postprandial hyperglycaemia’ - elevated blood sugar following a meal. This phenomenon has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. Replacing other low calorie sweeteners with Stevia has also been linked with a reduction in whole food consumption, benefitting weight management and metabolism.

Other evidence also exists to suggest Stevia has a general anti – inflammatory effect, which can provide protective benefits to several organs such as the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. 

Safe to say…

…that Stevia has several benefits! However, consumption in high amounts generally is not suggested. The doses contained within our products are far less than the recommended daily intake guidelines. Rest assured our products will taste great, and do nothing but benefit your health and performance too.

Team MPN

Back to all articles