Stevia and Cancer: Everything about Stevia
“Stevia is a trailblazer among zero-calorie sweeteners,” says Lou Imbrogno, senior vice president of Pepsi Worldwide Technical Operations. However, it also raises a few concerns: What is the connection between stevia and cancer? Can Stevia cause cancer? How safe is stevia? And a lot more. We’ll resolve all these doubts with legitimate arguments to convince you of the safety and benefits of stevia.
According to WHO, in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese. In 2019, an estimated 38.2 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight or obese.
A major cause of obesity is the excessive consumption of fats and sugar–which increases calorie intake and causes obesity.
As opposed to artificial sweeteners, stevia sweeteners are all-natural options and are more popular than ever because they are calorie-free. In general, stevia sweeteners are sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount of them can replace sugar.
India is embracing healthy lifestyles by changing its diet patterns and tap into Stevia’s health benefits. In India’s sweet-loving culture, this zero-calorie sweetener, Stevia can prove powerful against empty calories (it has 0 calories per serving).
Introduction To Stevia
Stevia sweeteners come from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) plant, a plant native to South America.
Stevia rebaudiana, the sweetest-tasting component of the stevia leaf, is one of over 100 species of the stevia plant. It stands out as a great sweetener due to the compound Rebaudioside A. There is no aftertaste of sweet taste in Rebaudioside A, despite having properties similar to sugar in intensity, and duration.
Origin of Stevia
South Americans first consumed stevia over 200 years ago. Primarily, native people chewed its leaves to get the sweet taste of beverages.
Stevia was first scientifically described in 1899 by Moises Santiago de Bertoni as Eupatorium rebaudianum, in Paraguay. Later, in 1905, it was named Stevia rebaudiana, a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
How is Stevia produced?
Firstly, stevia leaves turn into ultrapure stevia leaf extract by soaking them in hot water and then drying them. Next, the liquid extract is filtered and purified with water, or perhaps in conjunction with food-grade alcohol. If food-grade alcohol is used, it will be removed later.
What is the connection between Stevia and Cancer?
Can stevia cause cancer?
NO! Rather it can help in curing cancer.
Some research papers conclude that stevia consumption can cause cancer due to DNA breakage and chromosome mutations. However, none of those studies are based on human subjects.
According to a study published in Oncotarget in 2018, steviol significantly limited the growth of human gastrointestinal cancer cells 10. The study suggests that steviol may be able to act as a chemotherapy agent.
According to an article by Times of India, stevioside increases cancer cell death in humans and decreases cancer-promoting pathways in mitochondria.
Can stevia help with controlling Blood Pressure?
Since ancient times, stevia is used as a bio-sweetener and for other medicinal purposes such as lowering blood sugar levels. In some studies, stevia plants exert cardiotonic effects that normalize blood pressure. Furthermore, advanced researches also show that stevia could potentially control high blood pressure.
Is Stevia better for you than sugar?
According to Ayurveda, refined white sugar is extremely Kapha-stimulating and can cause heaviness, congestion, and toxin buildup in the body. Stevia sweeteners tend to be 200-350 times sweeter than sugar. Therefore small amounts of stevia sweeteners can serve the same purpose.
On the other hand, sugar forms an adhesive layer of bacteria on your teeth, causing dental plaque and cavities. In contrast, Stevia does not cause this problem.
Stevia is good for diabetes patients
In India, unfortunately, there is a reputation of being the world’s Diabetic Capital. India witnesses a growing number of diabetes cases with 8.7% of people in the 20 to 70-year-old diagnosed with diabetes. By 2025, there will be 69.9 million diabetics in India and 80 million by 2030. Our health resolution needs immediate attention towards the increasing number of diseases linked to sugar intake and empty calories.
In this concern, stevia increases insulin sensitivity in humans and hence, making it helpful in managing type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, Stevia induces a low glycemic response and contains essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B3, and C. It also contains minerals such as magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc. Moreover, stevia’s antioxidant and antimicrobial properties prove to be exceptional in the food industry due to its high heat stability.
Is Stevia safe to use?
Stevia is completely safe to use.
It is a GRAS product, it is a regulatory review process category, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is an acronym for ‘Generally Recognised as Safe’. GRAS ingredients must be safe and must meet the same high food safety standards.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concludes that high-purity steviol glycosides are safe for consumption within permissible daily intakes (PDUs). Additionally, stevia sweeteners are considered safe by:
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, and Health Canada.
How much Stevia should I consume?
FDA guidelines recommend a daily intake of 4 milligrams (mg) per kilogram of body weight for steviol equivalents. It is equivalent to about 12 mg of high-purity stevia extracts per kilogram of body weight per day.
Is stevia banned in India?
In 2011, the Stevia product was banned in India for some reason. One of the prime reasons was that the Indian diet is heavily dependent on sugar. Stevia came into light at a later stage and farmers had no clear idea of how to grow these plants. However, over time, farmers preferred growing Stevia plants for their higher yield. In 2015, the ban was overturned and the benefits of this natural and healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners were accepted.
All of those who used this zero-calorie, natural sweetener realized how beneficial it was. So, if you are also looking for a healthier alternative without compromising your sweet tooth, then you must consider Stevia.
Put an end to the health hazards that calories and fat can cause. Start using Stevia, the nonpareil sweetener! You can buy it right now, from the Bekarmic store: Future Organics's Stevia Sweetener and Zindagi Stevia Products