Ingredient in Focus: Stevia (By Mark Harrison & Lynsey Coleman)

What is Stevia?

Stevia is a plant, originating from South America, where it has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries. Extracts taken from this plant that are responsible for the sweet taste are known as ‘Steviol Glycosides’. There are at least 10 different glycosides in Stevia, with ‘Stevioside’ and ‘Rebaudoside A’ being the primary ones.

Stevia has been thought of as a sweetener since the late 18th Century but only recently has it been utilised as a food ingredient to improve the sweetness of products.

The way Stevia works is, firstly, taste receptors react to glucose in the glycosides. In the digestive tract Rebaudiosides are metabolised into Stevioside. Stevioside is then broken down into glucose and steviol. The glucose released in this process is used by bacteria in the colon and is not absorbed into the bloodstream. Steviol cannot be further digested and is excreted from the body. This therefore implies that this is a Calorie-Free sweetener; which is great for people cutting/dieting for health or competition.

 

Stevia Credit Stevia Plant and Powder: Shutterstock

Benefits of Stevia

-          Natural

-          Calorie-Free

-          Reduces hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

-          Improved lipid profile

-          Reduces Body Weight

-          Antioxidant effect

-          Safe and Non-Toxic

Drawbacks of Stevia

-          Mismatch between perceived sweetness and calorie content

-          Can increase hunger due to being Calorie-Free

-          May have a bitter aftertaste

Why use Stevia?

With an ever growing concern from supplement users about what’s in the products, and a greater demand for more natural alternatives, Stevia offers a great alternative to more conventional sweeteners. The calorie-free nature of this means that you can still get sweetness into your diet without the worry of increasing fat mass or jeopardising your fitness goals.

Products that contain Stevia...

Reflex Vegan Protein

Reflex Vegan Protein

RRP: £53.99

Monster Price: £31.99

Buy Now

Article by Contributors :Mark Harrison & Lynsey Coleman

About the Author

Hi Guys, My name is Mark and I am the Endurance Expert at Monster Supplements. I compete in many sports that fall under the endurance umbrella. My main sport is Triathlon were I have competed at World Championships in 2010 and many other major events around the UK. I run competitively from 5k up to Ultra distance events. I like to compete in more adventurous events taking in wild terrain and challenging environments. I have a degree in Sport & Exercise Science and am nearing the end of my Masters degree in the same subject. My role at monster is a nutritional product developer and nutritional adviser, so I am always happy to give advice on training, nutrition and supplements. I'm a firm believer in getting out of sport what you put in, so train hard, eat right and reap the rewards!
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