Stevia, also called as ‘meethi patti‘ in Hindi is a popular herb that has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries now. Its botanical name is Stevia rebaudiana. Its traces its origin to Paraguay, but now it is found all over the world.
The leaves of this herb are sweet to taste, and the taste lingers on for longer than regular sugar. It is mainly used in the cosmetic, pharmacy and food industries. It’s a non-caloric, non-fattening herb with low carbohydrates.
Stevia is a boon for people suffering from diabetes and obesity. When you need to cut down sugar from your diet, but your sweet tooth is impossible to control, you can turn towards stevia. But stevia usage is not free from side effects.
[ Read: Black Tea Side Effects ]
Here are the major Stevia side effects that you should be aware of before you decide to include it to your diet:
1. Allergic Reactions:
Anaphylaxis, an extremely severe allergic reaction is observed with the use of stevia. Though this is a very rare occurrence, anaphylaxis can be dangerous. People with pre-existing health allergies to chrysanthemums, marigolds or daisies are more prone to this allergy. If you are allergic to stevia, then you’ll experience symptoms like hives, nausea, dizziness, general weakness of the body, wheezing etc.
2. Digestive Problems:
Since its low on sugar, carbs and is non-fattening, stevia is popular in the weight loss industry. Consuming refined stevia leads to a false sense of fullness, which might lead to complications in the long term. Steviosides, the major components of stevia, can irritate your tummy resulting in bloating, decreased appetite and flatulence.
3. Drug Interactions:
There is always a chance of drug interaction if you are taking supplements and replacements. If you are under the treatment for diabetes, stay away from stevia until you consult with your doctor. Stevia might even result in the increase of blood pressure level.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Green Tea ]
4. Muscle Pain:
This is yet another side effect that is observed in case of stevia consumption. Muscle pain for no obvious reasons and for prolonged hours leads to discomfort. Though not reported frequently, muscle pain is one of the top side effects of using stevia.
While muscle pain is about discomfort, an opposite effect – numbness, is also one of the side effects of using stevia. The person experiences numbness in the long term use of the product.
Infertility is one of the more serious side effects of stevia. This might be due to hormonal imbalances, which lead to direct effects on the process of conceiving.
7. Ovarian Cancer:
Ovarian cancer is a reason for concern and stevia is known to trigger it. The artificial sweetener’s usage might result in the formation of cancerous tumors in the ovary.
Dizziness can be crippling! And stevia can lead to serious cases of dizziness. If you consume stevia and experience a dizzy spell, remember not to drive!
[ Read: Side Effects Of Lemon Tea ]
9. Hormonal Imbalance:
This is seen as the main reason behind the other side effects of using stevia. Hormonal imbalances mess up the metabolism, which in turn result in fluctuations in weight, mood and emotions in general. If growth hormones are affected, one might notice stunted or abnormal growth as well. Also, excessive production of cells might result in the formation of tumors leading to cancer. Keep in mind that proper hormonal balance is important for the perfect functioning of the body and the organs and stevia can mess with it!
These were some of the Stevia side effects. Other than these effects, stevia is a healthy alternative to white sugar. Consult your doctor and discuss about stevia benefits and side effects before adding it to your diet. Your doctor is the ‘go to’ person when it comes to your health care needs. He will advice you based on the levels of hormones and other vital statistics of your body. Also, if you are taking any other supplements, please inform your doctor before you embark on the usage of stevia.
Do you prefer artificial sweeteners over white sugar? What sweeteners do you prefer if so? Shoot a comment and let us know your views.
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