As more and more people become conscious of their sugar intake, artificial sweeteners and additives like stevia have become popular options as zero-calorie sugar substitutes. Extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, this sweetener has become a go-to option for many seeking to reduce their sugar intake.
Today, it seems like stevia is everywhere around us. It’s found in sodas, juices, flavored milk, yogurts, baked goods, cereals, sauces, and even more! That raises the question: How much stevia is too much? Given that we’re probably consuming far more stevia than we realize, how much of a health concern is this?
Today, we’re going to talk about how much stevia is too much, and why we should all be careful when it comes to this sneaky, zero-calorie additive. We’ll also blow your mind with an incredible stevia alternative that doesn’t come with the health warnings - stay tuned!
What Happens if You Consume Too Much Stevia?
Although stevia is generally considered to be safe, that’s a bit of an oversimplification. There are both short and long-term effects of too much stevia that are best avoided. Let’s take a look at what you can expect if you find out how much stevia is too much the hard way.
Immediate Physical Symptoms of Stevia Overconsumption
In the short term, consuming an excessive amount of stevia can result in bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Some people are more sensitive to stevia than others and may experience intolerance to artificial sweeteners symptoms, including headaches, migraines, dizziness, anxiety, irritability, and increased sugar cravings.
Long-Term Health Implications of Excessive Stevia Intake
Consuming excessive amounts of stevia might potentially interfere with blood glucose control. Some studies have suggested that high doses of stevia can lead to a mild increase in insulin secretion, which could have serious implications for anyone with diabetes.
Emerging research also suggests that high levels of stevia consumption may disrupt our balance of gut bacteria, which play a vital role in digestive health. Maintaining a diverse and healthy gut microbiome is crucial for our immune function and nutrient absorption, and definitely not something we want stevia to disturb!
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, stevia can also potentially lead to weight gain. Research into zero-calorie sweeteners (including stevia vs sucralose vs aspartame) showed that these additives actually increased BMI, weight circumference, and weight. Yikes!
How Much Stevia is Too Much Per Day For Most People?
Just like most foods, some of us can tolerate more stevia than others. Still, it’s important to understand the basic guidelines around how much stevia is too much per day. So, how much stevia per day can you safely consume? Let’s first look at the different factors that can affect our stevia tolerance.
Individual Differences in Stevia Tolerance: Age, Weight, and Health Status
Age can impact stevia tolerance, particularly in children. While stevia is generally recognized as safe, there’s not a lot of research showing the effects of stevia in kids, and it’s wise to limit stevia intake among young ones.
Body weight and composition can also influence our stevia tolerance. Generally, people with a higher body weight may be able to tolerate more stevia than those with a lower body weight. However, given that stevia may actually cause weight gain, it should definitely be consumed in moderation.
Certain health conditions, such as diabetes or gastrointestinal disorders, can also affect stevia tolerance. For diabetics in particular, it’s essential to monitor your blood sugar levels closely and talk to a healthcare professional about whether stevia is safe for you.
How Much Stevia is Safe Per Day For the Average Person?
So, how much stevia is safe per day, on average? The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for steviol glycosides, the main compounds in stevia, is set at 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).
It is important to note that the ADI is not a recommendation for how much stevia you should be consuming, it’s an upper guideline that shouldn’t be broken. Ok, so how much stevia is too much? Consuming less (or no) stevia is optimal, especially when you consider the other side effects of stevia, which we’ll get to shortly.
How Much Stevia is Too Much on Keto Diets Specifically?
Stevia is a popular zero-calorie sweetener for those on a keto diet, but it can still bring its challenges. Due to the digestive problems that stevia can cause, it can make you quite uncomfortable and can be difficult to stick to your ketogenic diet.
Another issue is that some products containing stevia also contain fillers and additives (to stretch the stevia out). These fillers can be harmful, and may even add carbohydrates to your diet, making it harder for you to stay in ketosis.
So, how much stevia is too much on keto diets? While the JECFA guidelines still apply for those on keto diets, stevia might not be ideal if you’re looking to adhere to a strict keto diet.
The Truth About Stevia - Why Any Stevia is Too Much Stevia!
So, how much stevia is too much per day? Ultimately, there are certain aspects of stevia that raise questions and concerns regarding its safety and overall appeal. Let’s take a look at why stevia is best avoided whenever possible.
Stevia’s Questionable Past
Stevia's history is marked by controversy and regulatory challenges. In the past, certain forms of stevia, particularly whole-leaf stevia and crude extracts, faced restrictions and even bans in several countries due to concerns about potential health risks.
Stevia was banned in the 1990s by the FDA, due to studies that raised alarm bells about stevia’s effects on blood pressure and reproductive health. Regulatory bodies have often required purified and refined forms of stevia, such as steviol glycosides, to undergo rigorous safety assessments before being approved for use as a food additive.
While stevia is now classified by the FDA as “Generally regarded as safe,” there’s no doubt that questions still exist surrounding the long-term effects of stevia and whether or not it’s truly safe.
The Mental and Physical Risks of Consuming Stevia
Alarmingly, some individuals may experience mental health symptoms after consuming stevia. There have been reports of anxiety, depression, and mood swings associated with stevia consumption in some people.
There are also physical benefits associated with stevia consumption, including gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, and a disruption of the gut microbiome. Plus, stevia has been linked with sugar cravings and even weight gain.
Can We Be Honest About the Taste of Stevia?
While stevia is marketed as a natural alternative to sugar, its taste is anything but natural! Many people find that stevia leaves a lingering, bitter aftertaste that can make it difficult to enjoy your food or drinks.
In fact, the stevia taste can be so off-putting that artificial flavors are often added to products containing stevia, leading to more unnecessary chemicals and additives in your diet, which can bring their own set of unwanted side effects.
What’s a Better Alternative to Stevia?
If you've been searching for a natural sweetener that offers a delightful taste without the potential drawbacks associated with stevia, look no further. We’re about to introduce you to a game-changing new alternative to artificial sweeteners: sweet proteins! Are you ready to meet your new favorite natural sweetener?
Introducing Your New Favorite Natural Sweetener in Sweet Proteins
Sweet proteins are an incredible group of naturally occurring compounds that offer intense sweetness without a nasty aftertaste, unlike stevia. Sweet proteins as a sugar substitute is perfect! Sweet proteins are 100% natural, found in certain exotic fruits, and don’t come with any of the health warnings that stevia and artificial sweeteners are associated with.
How are sweet proteins made? One of the major benefits of sweet proteins is that they can be made via fermentation, similar to the processes that give us cheese and beer. This is an easy way to create vast amounts of sweet proteins, and is much less environmentally taxing than the process of sugar farming, which requires huge amounts of land and water.
Where Can You Experience the Delicious Difference Firsthand?
Here at Oobli, we’ve been perfecting our fermentation process and are now thrilled to be able to bring you some incredible, guilt-free treats, powered by sweet proteins. Our top-rated low sugar tea is the perfect quencher for a hot summer’s day, and packs a deliciously fruity, sweet punch, with only 7g of sugar in each 16oz can.
You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with our decadent chocolate bars, made with just a handful of ingredients and nothing you can’t pronounce. Choose between three tasty flavors, or get a sampler pack and create your own power rankings! Vegan, keto-friendly, and good for your gut - you’ll be amazed when you taste the difference of sweet proteins.
Parting Thoughts on How Much Stevia is Safe Per Day
So, how much stevia per day is safe? While there are guidelines indicating that certain levels of stevia won’t cause long-term harm to your physical or mental health, there’s also a lot of research into the potentially harmful effects of stevia.
If you want to avoid the potential digestive issues, migraines, anxiety, and even weight gain that can come from stevia, it’s best to look for other alternatives. Luckily, sweet proteins are the perfect low-sugar sweetener!
Sweet proteins deliver a sweet punch without any of stevia’s baggage, and won’t leave a lingering, bitter aftertaste in your mouth. At Oobli, we’ve harnessed sweet proteins to create clean, guilt-free versions of your favorite treats, including our naturally sweet iced tea and our indulgent chocolate bars.
This is the breakthrough your body’s been waiting for. Experience sweetness the guilt-free way - shop Oobli’s game-changing treats today!