The Down Low on Stevia - Is it an Artificial Sweetener?
It's practically a unanimous opinion that a bit of sweetness can dramatically improve a person’s dining experience. But with stevia — "a bit of sweetness" is a bit of an understatement.
Traditionally, the tall order of enhancing flavor with sweetness would fall on the shoulders of artificial sources such as refined cane sugar. But while this sugary add-on brings out the best in aromatic cuisine and comfort beverages like coffee and tea, it carries potential health concerns, such as elevated blood sugar levels.
Elevated sugar levels, among other health hazards, caused people to re-evaluate their sweeteners some time ago. High blood sugar can lead to increased risks of health complications, including diabetes, kidney issues and vision problems when left untreated. It became necessary for food companies and manufacturers to move onto something that would provide this sweet flavor enhancement without the worrying side effects.
The search led to the trending alternative to common refined sugar — the marvelous stevia sugar. But as we’ll soon discover, it isn’t all that new of a product. Additionally, there have been various claims made about this super sweetener — but how many of them hold true? Is stevia good or bad?