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You may have tried to use this non-caloric sweetener in the past and you were just not able to get over the weird taste or it lost flavor after a few sips. So, today I am going to show you how to use stevia leaf extract in a way that will solve both those problems.
So here are some interesting facts about real sugar and artificial or non-caloric sweeteners like stevia:
- *Artificial sweeteners taste very sweet when you first consume them but then stop registering as sweet to the taste buds moments later.
- *Real sugar will continue to taste sweet.
- *Real sugar raises your blood sugar. This is not inherently bad. Large quantities of sugar causing your body to produce insulin continuously in order to keep your blood sugar close to normal is inherently bad.
- *For some, non-caloric sweeteners, including natural items such as stevia, monk fruit and so on, can also still raise blood sugar. It turns out the sensation of sweet on the tongue can be enough to to send the message to the brain that sugar is on the way and that the body respond accordingly.
There are studies where mice were given unrealistically high doses of stevia and got cancer. (See this post from The Paleo Mom).
In my opinion, the trick is not to go crazy on any of it. Ideally, you don’t use any additional sweetener at all but this is a behavior that falls into the ‘don’t throw out the good in pursuit of the perfect space… where I happen to spend most of my time.
I have a trick that helps minimize your intake of both stevia and sugar while still giving you some flavor.
Note: If you feel like you are always needing to add sugar or a sweetener to your food and drinks and have sugar cravings daily you may want to consider whether you have blood sugar issues and/or have some dysbiosis of the gut (such as a yeast overgrowth) that may require some further investigation.
However, if you just like your coffee to be slightly sweet or you want to cut the amount of sugar in a recipe here is a great, reasonable option:
How to use stevia leaf extract
- Add a little bit of sugar (or in my case honey. (Which has actually been found to have many health benefits beyond helping with allergies and notice the difference in opinion of two highly regarded experts).
- And a little bit of Stevia (I prefer this brand).
I don’t like super sweet coffee but I generally put about a half to a full teaspoon of honey and 2-3 drops of pure liquid stevia extract into my coffee.
Now the stevia works as a flavor enhancer much in the way you add salt to a dish. It expands the flavor of the sugar. That small amount of honey tastes much sweeter and the stevia or monk fruit has much less of a weird aftertaste.
I prefer liquid stevia drops made only with stevia, water, and alcohol. Many of the powdered packets have fillers and “natural flavors” (and there’s no way to know for sure what that actually means).
Stevia on the go.
I always have a bottle of stevia at home and when I’m out I might use half or less of a monk fruit packet if I’m at Starbucks or a tiny bit of equal if I’m at a restaurant with less desirable options. Or, I may just use a little more honey or sugar when I’m out. I do not see it as a cause for concern as it’s not part of my daily routine. I do like to forgo adding any sweetener to my coffee occasionally for 2 or 3 days just to recalibrate my palette. But there’s no need obsess about these choices when your regular routine is composed of better choices.
Caution concerning Spenda and all non-caloric sweeteners
If you normally use Splenda, be aware that it’s made by replacing some of the atoms in sugar with chlorine. Originally, it was believed to be inert and passed through the body without being digested (according to studies conducted by the manufacturer). But in 2013 The Center for Science in the Public Interest downgraded the safety rating from “safe” to “caution” and after a study conducted by Ramazzini Institute, an independent laboratory based in Italy, which found that the chemical caused leukemia and related blood cancers in male mice, the rating has been downgraded again to “avoid.”
Full disclosure: Studies have shown all artificial or non-caloric sweeteners appear to have some effect on the gut microbiome. And this includes Stevia. Over time, continuous use of these products can decrease your sensitivity to being able to taste sweet. Again the brain is getting a signal that says sugar or carbohydrate is on the way, yet nothing comes. Our bodies are incredibly adaptable and will adjust satiety levels in order to try and achieve the appropriate response.
So if you know how to use stevia leaf, you get:
- *a reasonably inert amount of sugar,
- *the taste you want,
- *actual sugar calories for your body to respond appropriately to, and
- *you avoid a crazy amount of any one substance.
We are programmed to digest and benefit from sugar or carbohydrate in the packaging nature provided. (Such as whole fruit). We were not programmed to live in the world we do today. And excessive sugar intake being deleterious to one’s health is possibly the only thing everyone agrees on in the realm of nutrition. Using non-caloric sweeteners to reduce your sugar intake can be a wise choice if you are cognizant of their limitations and potential risks. Do your best to reduce or keep your intake minimal over time.
Keep in mind our success in health is based on making the best choices we can most of the time. The body is amazingly resilient when you focus on giving it what it needs to protect you from the assaults of daily life. And not necessarily trying to aspire to an unattainable goal of purity and discipline.
For more strategies on how to get the most out of your diet and still live in the real world download my free pdf 35+ Easy Meals and Snacks.
I would love to hear any feedback you have on this or any other posts.
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