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I'm diabetic and am looking for a sugar substitute. I'm going to try agave nectar, but I also wanted to try one in powder form. I've heard that stevia is great and has a low glycemic index, but I've also read that the long term side effects are unknown. Somewhere else, I've read that stevia has been banned in certain countries because they aren't sure its a safe product. Anyone know anything about this stuff? Has anyone used it for a prolonged period of time?
 

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There have been a lot of animal testing done on Stevia, but the results are inconclusive. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia</a>
 

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I would be VERY suspect of anything (including "studies" b/c that "study" was likely PAID FOR by these companies that have "something to lose" should stevia gain market share) that says that Stevia is bad for you. Why? B/c they pose a serious threat to the fake sweetner companies (like Monsanto who ...btw... is behind a lot of the FDA "crack down" on Stevia which started in 1991).<br><br><br><br>
Stevia is the ONLY truly natural 'no calorie" sweetener straight from a natural plant. It's been in use by the South American "Indians" (rather Natives) for an estimated 600+ years. It was "discovered" by white man 100 years ago.<br><br><br><br>
Japan (who's Ministry of Health... an equivalent of our FDA (only better) and is historically FAR stricker than our biased FDA) approved this for wide use as a sweetener in 1975. Last I had heard, there had not been a single report of a problem.<br><br><br><br>
In this country, the FDA tried really hard to get it banned as a sweetener and succeeded until 1994 when Senator Orin Hatch of UT introduced the dietary supplement law that was later passed. TG! B/c now it's sold this way. (Even today, no company can call it a sweetener outright. The FDA will shut them down in a heartbeat.)<br><br><br><br>
There's a book ["The Stevia Cookbook" by Gates and Sahelian] that discusses the federal cover-up and the drug/chemical company involvements. It's actually a cookbook but the older version I had devoted the first 40% of the book to the background on this plant. It was very informative. Recipes... eh. They are "ok" but certainly more than good enough to get you started. (Be ware: if you buy an older print of this book, then know that the processing of stevia has gotten better so that even less is more. For example, if an older recipe for stevia calls for 1 tsp of the powder in a recipe, today that recipe might only need a 1/2 tsp, if that. I'm not sure if the 2004 update corrected these differences or not. I haven't looked at it in person.)<br><br><br><br>
I have another cookbook for stevia that's better but does NOT go in to any background on it. Frankly, I'd buy the book I named just for that information. It will open your eyes in ways you've not done previously.<br><br><br><br>
And btw... some say they've had headaches after using stevia. I'd say those were caused more from detoxing from the decrease or complete cessation of the use of sugar and/or chemical sweeteners. (Both of which I've used in the past and both caused me problems for a few weeks when I quit them. I have NEVER used a "fake" sweetener since the late 90's. I still use sugar for various things but not nearly as much as I used to.)<br><br><br><br>
I've used stevia for 10 years, approx. Right now, I use it everyday. No problems here!<br><br><br><br>
Whatever you do, avoid aspartame like your life depended on it. (It does.) I could go in to a whole host of issues with it but I don't have the time right now. I will leave you with one bit of info... aspartame though calorie free DOES cause an insulin response in the body causing you to crave even MORE sweets. Not to mention the damage it will do to your brain...<br><br><br><br>
but I digress.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway, HTH!
 

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The Banning has to do with FDA rulings about labling food additives etc. You can read the story all over-- here is an example:<br><br><a href="http://www.henriettesherbal.com/faqs/medi-2-6-stevia.html" target="_blank">http://www.henriettesherbal.com/faqs...-6-stevia.html</a><br><br><br><br>
I would watch powdered pasket forms-- read the ingredients.<br><br><br><br>
I believe in places like Japan, they have used it for quite a while. 10 years or more.
 

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in the oral aspects of herbal studies in the ayurvedic system, stevia is considered inappropriate for women who are not post menopausal. it is believed to affect fertility.
 

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The <i>catalyst</i> for banning stevia in 1991 started over one single (yet suspect) and ONLY ONE anonymous complaint that the FDA has refused to identify... even after all the requests done under the Freedom of Information Act (yes, even today).<br><br><br><br>
Since every single head or higher up of the FDA has gone on to *high* paying jobs working for companies from whom the agency is suppposed to watchdog and protect us, their refusal to ID the author of the complaint is widely viewed as a coverup. (It's widely believed to be Monsanto, makes of Equal/aspartame.)<br><br><br><br>
Zoebird, Do you happen to have any links? I'd be very interested to read these. Thanks!<br><br><br><br>
ET fix typos
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you very much for the helpful information. ..I know that sweeteners like splenda/equal aren't good for you, but I use them anyway. The only alternative (I thought, until a couple of months ago), is sugar..that obviously isn't good for me, either. I've read several times that it is completely safe for diabetics (stevia), can anyone back that up by personal expirience? I'm so concerned because somedays I drink several cups of tea, so I would be using this a lot. Maybe even moreso than usual, knowing that its safe and better for me than chemical substitutes.
 

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I'm not diabetic but hypoglycemic... I get what would happen to diabetics who took too much insulin... or took their insulin and then didn't eat. When I eat too much refined sugars, I get very reactive to them and my hypoglycemia gets nasty. So, I do not drink any sweet drinks... with exception of those with stevia. In fact, I put away b/t 1/2 and one gallon (or more) of water a day. All of it with stevia. Been doing this for years. Never bothers my hypoglycemia or anything else. Plus, I conceived my 2nd son just like the first... one the first try. (Ummm, quite literally.) So... at least for me, absolutely no problems with fertility, either. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
HTH!<br><br><br><br>
And please, please, please... avoid the equal. And splenda will still give your diabetes problems b/c it isn't sugar free. It claims to be zero calories... that's because in the law for foods, if an item has less than 5 calories per serving. Splenda by outside tests has about 4 calories in one of those little baggies. Regular sugar in one of those baggies has about 16 calories per serving. So, while it has less, it's NOT zero by any means. And it's been denatured to a degree that is unhealthy for your body.<br><br><br><br>
Try using stevia and maybe even xylitol. Agave syrup has a very low glycemic level, too. Lower than xylitol, I think.<br><br><br><br>
What kind of diabetes do you have? (Must be mild if you're using sugar, still?)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm not insulin dependent, but I have to take meds everyday to manage my sugar. I don't use regular sugar in drinks, and I never drink soda or anything unless its diet. I occasionally eat vegan ice cream, or some cookies, though, if I have a sweet tooth...even though I shouldn't.<br><br>
Green and black teas are wonderful for helping my blood sugar. Sometimes tea works better than my medication. I hate being on meds, but I know right now I need it to control the diabetes. After being vegan for a while, and becoming generally more healthy with that..eventually I want to be able to control it just with diet/exercise, and go off the meds completely.
 
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