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Not-So-Sweet Side Effects of Stevia

Not-So-Sweet Side Effects of Stevia

December 10, 2020

Medical Research

The Science Times — You may be one of the countless people who are using stevia for their food and drink because you believe it a proven  safe substitute for sucralose and many other sweeteners. But not many people know this natural sweetener may also come with its own potential issues.

A Ben-Gurion University of the Negev study showed that consumption of stevia might lead to gut health issues by upsetting the beneficial bacteria’s balance.

In relation to this finding, the study authors are now encouraging more studies into the probable effects of using stevia.

Stevia is a kind of sweetener processed from leaves. It is described as a low-calorie substitute for sugar and, because of its “natural” designation, a lot of people consider it as a safer and healthier option than artificial sweeteners available in the market today.

Even though many people are reporting to have consumed stevia minus any evident changes in their health condition, a percentage of individuals have reported suffering unwanted side effects from consuming the sweetener. Among these side effects are heart palpitations and trouble with digesting food.

Focus on Impact on Digestion

Dr. Karina Golberg

BGU’s research focused on the latter-mentioned: food digestion, which, according to the said report, stevia stimulates “changes in bacteria that may cause various gut health problems.”

Even though stevia was not found to destroy the gut microbes, the research study did note that it may delay the communication between various bacteria in an individual’s gut microbiome.

Such a disruption may explain circumstantial reports from some individuals who complain of experiencing stomach pain, gas and constipation, among others, while they’re using stevia.

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Karina Golberg of the BGU Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, this is just a preliminary study specifying that more studies are necessary “before the food industry replaces sugar and artificial sweeteners with stevia and its extracts.”

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