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The Dark Side of Stevia

the dark side of stevia

As the number of people jumping on the anti-sugar bandwagon sends it hurling down the side of the mountain as sugar is the enemy #1 du jour, I see a scramble to replace all forms of the perceived invader with alternative sweeteners.  Thankfully, the love affair with aspartame seems to be waning among those that are at all health conscious.

The somewhat new superstar taking the diet world by storm is stevia.  Stevia, marketed in various extract forms and in powdered forms such as TruVia (more on that gem later), Sweet Leaf, Pure Via, Stevia in the Raw, and probably hundreds of other I just don’t have the patience to list, over the last 15 years or so, has hijacked the attention of the majority of those that would eradicate sugar from their lives or those that aspire to a low to no carb lifestyle.

While many sing the praises of this miracle plant (even though it is rarely to never eaten as a plant, rather as a processed version of its once  pure and natural “sweetleaf” self), there is a dark side to this sweetener that has gone so mainstream even Coca-Cola has glommed onto its popularity with a “stevia inspired” version of its diet component.

First, let’s look at stevia’s greatest “selling point” with the anti-sugar camp as having “no effects on blood sugar” making it, on the surface, ideal for those with diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity.

The problem with this point is that stevia, being a “sweet” taste to the body, tricks the body into believing there will be glucose (the body’s preferred fuel) so the body clears the way for this glucose by lowering blood sugar in the body clearing the way for glucose to be released.  When it isn’t released, and it won’t be because stevia doesn’t contain glucose, adrenaline and cortisol surge to mobilize or worse (for those on low to no carb diets) create sugar from tissues like liver, muscle tissue, other body tissues, glands like the thymus, or proteins geared to create muscle tissue.  This process is called glucogenesis and will be discussed in our coming post The Case for Sugar.  

Next, the fact that the body prepares itself for glucose and none “shows up” it thrusts itself into a state of hypoglycemia.  Also not a good thing.

Adrenaline and cortiol released for the purposes of mobilizing promised glucose that never shows up (as in the case of stevia induced hypoglycemia) is damaging overall to the adrenal glands leading to one factor in adrenal fatigue.  If the adrenals are out of balance it is only a matter of time for the thyroid and hormones to fall out of balance.  Read more on  OAT Axis Imbalance Here , Here, and Here.

Too much cortisol in the body contributes to abdominal weight gain which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.

Believe me, beauties, any time the body creates sugar from where sugar did not exist (especially when it comes from the breakdown of the body’s own tissues, skin and muscle mass) is a bad thing.  Any time adrenaline and cortisol is released into the body it is stressful and the very thing we want to be avoiding.  Elevated levels of stress hormones (especially since there is rarely a two ton mammoth chasing us these days) in a chronic state contribute to inflammation, weight gain, insulin resistance, low thyroid function,  and impaired immune function).  If you didn’t notice already, stevia, advertised to have no effect on blood sugar which is technically good for treating insulin resistance, can ultimately be responsible for insulin resistance.

If that weren’t enough, stevia, even in its purest form, (ground from the leaf) contains steviol glycocides which have a hormonal structure similar to gibberllin and kaurene.  Studies have shown they have dramatic effects on estrogen and/or progesterone and have a contraceptive effect on the body.  These steviol glycocides are usually processed to isolate only two or three but for those of you who prefer the whole leaf, dried and powdered, that’s up to ten different hormone like structures going into the body taking up pathways that should be reserved for indigenous estrogen to do its job and then be eliminated from the body.  When this doesn’t happen, estrogen dominance ensues.

For those of you with a propensity for kidney stones, leaky gut, autism, or arthritis, stevia is a high oxalate plant. Lowering your oxalates (green leafy cruciferous vegetables, especially when eaten raw, are examples of high oxalate vegetables) could boost your ability to heal.

Stevia does not support the synthesis of glycogen by the body.  When you eat fruit, raw honey, and even, (“eek!”) cane sugar, the balanced sources of both glucose and fructose are synthesized by the liver into glycogen (glucose stores).  Because stevia produces no glucose it does not aid in glycogen synthesis.

When glucose dips in the body, glycogen is mobilized (broken down) to meet energy requirements.  When there is no sufficient glycogen present (such as in a low carb, no sugar diet) the stress hormones are released, as discussed.

Glycogen is also responsible for converting inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into active thyroid hormone (T3).  If glycogen is not present in sufficient quantities, this does not happen.  If this does not happen you have thyroid dysfunction.  This leads to hypothyroidism where weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, lack of clarity, and many other symptoms.

The icing on the cake is that stevia is often marketed by manufacturers (probably due to the high cost of the “pure stuff”) in blends such as stevia with xylitol (a fruit derived alcohol that often leads to gastrointestinal issues), dextrose (a corn based sweetener often using GMO corn), and even aspartame (enough said!).  You probably are not getting real stevia leaf unless you are growing, drying, and powdering the leaves yourselves.

For those of you who believe you are eating stevia to get rid of candida overgrowth, think again.  The lack of sugar does not necessarily mean  candida albicans will not flourish.

Eating sugar and fruit is helpful, rather than harmful as the cultists say, because well nourished yeasts aren’t harmful in the intestine. But starved yeasts need sugar and so they project invasive filaments into the intestinal wall, and can get into the blood stream, at which point – if they aren’t quickly destroyed by white blood cells – they can grow and quickly kill the person. In a typical year, a few people in the world get invasive candida and quickly die, but millions of Americans will insist that they ‘have candida in the bloodstream.’ Eating sugar (fruits, fruit juices) lowers cortisol, keeping the white cells working, helps to increase thyroid, and keeps the yeast from becoming invasive. PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids or omega-3 and -6 oils) are yeast stimulants, unlike saturated fats.– Lita Lee PhD

Stevia, if eaten, should be eaten in the presence of a carbohydrate (preferably sugar) to avoid a lot of the issues discussed, and even then, I prefer to actually fuel my body (and insist my clients do the same) with raw unfiltered honey, maple syrup, fruits and their juices, and even a little unrefined cane sugar.

What is your relationship with stevia?  If you use it, what is your experience?  If you’ve jumped firmly on the anti-sugar bandwagon, how do you cope with the body’s craving for “sweet”?

 

 

108 replies
          • thedetoxdiva
            thedetoxdiva says:

            I’m approving this to show what an absolute cretin you really are to leave a comment like this. We know and I say fruit has sugar, specifically fructose and glucose. Fruit is also easier for the body to digest because it gives the cells what the fuel they need. Before you call people names, you should see what they are all about. Lest someone call you an absolute moron who thinks fruit is bad for the body.

      • Sugarboo
        Sugarboo says:

        Hi detox diva! Ok so can you tell me where you found the information citing stevia is high in oxalates? Not that I don’t believe you, but more because I have search the internet and found an extremely small amount of info on this subject. I used a bunch of organic liquid stevia( by a well known brand. After 3 weeks of using about 2 teaspoons a day, suddenly my foot problems returned with a vengeance. I was suspecting the stevia because it was the only thing I changed in my extremely strict diet. I was using it to make sweet lemonade. It sucks because I’m diabetic, I have terrible leaky gut and horrible candida issues. ( I’ve had all the tests done at Great Plains Laboratory). So I use xylitol and erythritol, but xylitol raises my blood sugar just like sugar, only it raises it about 4-5 hours AFTER I eat it! So now I just have to give up anything that tastes sweet! It sucks to be me!!!! :-/

        Reply
        • thedetoxdiva
          thedetoxdiva says:

          What if I could go you one better and tell you I could help you fix your blood sugar issues??? It’s not the oxalates that are particularly problematic for most. It’s the effects of stevia directly on the insulin receptors that are causing you problems.!

          Reply
  1. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I have not tried it. There are a couple of pages on FB that I “liked” at some point, that promote recipes using it and/or xylitol. I felt like the whole “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” adage applied to it. What you said is very interesting and makes total sense. But I do love all of your posts and could read them all day. 🙂

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Melissa, I couldn’t agree more reference the “too good to be true”. (Xylitol gives MOST people I know gas and is very processed just to create it!) Stevia was used to sweeten the very bitter Mate ( a tea-like substance) of natives in South America (notably Paraguay) and would chew them for their “medicinal purposes”. (Remembering the whole leaves were chewed, not processed in any way so they may, in fact, have some medicinal use). They were used within reason though as they are exponentially sweeter than sugar). Much of the stevia used today commercially bears little resemblance to those stevia leaves.

      Reply
  2. ClinicalPosters.com
    ClinicalPosters.com says:

    I don’t like the taste of stevia or any artificial sweeteners. I prefer honey, grade B maple syrup, or sugar in the raw.

    Reply
  3. Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club
    Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club says:

    I am so glad I’m not a soda drinker, and I particularly avoid the diet stuff like the plague. If you’re going to eat sugar, eat sugar, not fake sugar is what I’ve always stuck to. I even avoid the diet yogurts too. I need that live culture(it does wonders for me), and I tolerate the (fake, but real sugar)fruit in it. I like to just get the plain yogurt. I guess that’s where I get my sugar–from a yogurt occasionally. Oh, and chocolate now and then of course;) I’m middle aged now, and I have to keep all of that in check, and exercise a lot. Large amounts of food, desserts and sugar are a thing of the past, unless I want to be constantly running up a hill!;)

    Reply
  4. ali
    ali says:

    I have thyroid and insulin issues (as well as being gluten intolerant), neither severe but enough to make me very tired and crabby as well as emotional, very off kilter all the time. I’ve been experimenting with diet to try to find something that works for me for the past 4 years and am at a loss. I was using stevia but really saw nothing positive from the change. I’ve tried no/low carb, maker’s diet, paleo, etc. and feel better when eating mostly protein and vegetables along with small amounts of carbs but am now hearing that there’s even vegetables I should stay away from. I’m so frustrated and would love any advice.

    Reply
      • thedetoxdiva
        thedetoxdiva says:

        Hi Ali. I do consultations. The first consultation is $150 and it lasts between an hour to an hour and a half. I would love to work with you!

        Reply
        • ali
          ali says:

          Is there a way I can get ahold of you to set up an appointment? It wouldn’t be until I save some money (poor recently-graduated college kid and all that 😉 … But I’m very seriously interested!

          Reply
    • Tammy
      Tammy says:

      Have you tried Weight Watchers? Their new plan is so easy a child could do it! With a smart phone its as simple as scan and track. It’s now protein based and fruits and veggies are free. It’s all based around the lean protein and getting up and moving. I’ve tried it many times and been successful, but then got lazy and those pounds eventually came back to visit. Hoping this time I will stick to it, it seems easier to manage with a busy lifestyle and cooking for others.

      Reply
    • Golnaz
      Golnaz says:

      Ali,
      Have you ever tested for Hashimoto’s thypothytoidism? Your symptoms look like it can be that. If so, look for the AIP diet to heal your gut. There are great supporting groups on Facebook too. Like “Hashimoto’s 411”. All the best.

      Reply
      • thedetoxdiva
        thedetoxdiva says:

        AIP isn’t for everyone, in fact, it isn’t for a lot of people. It also doesn’t HEAL Hashimoto’s but arrests it. It works for some people if your epigenetics favors a Paleo style diet but this doesn’t work for everyone!!

        Reply
  5. Melissa D.
    Melissa D. says:

    Hi, I have adrenal fatigue. Have also had hormone issues : low T3, high FSH, low estrogen, low testosterone, just to name a few. I had an ovarian tumor the size of a tennis ball, so my right ovary was removed. They thought it was cancer. Thankfully, it was benign. I use one packet of stevia in my half cup of morning coffee. Could this, in your opinion, contribute to my adrenal fatigue? I’m in the tired and wired stage of adrenal fatigue. High night cortisol. Can’t fall asleep, stay asleep. Help.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Stevia is estrogenic. I don’t think it would contribute to adrenal fatigue but a cancer scare would, and hormonal imbalance along with thyroid issues all would contribute to adrenal issues. They are all related. You have to nourish your adrenals and thyroid FIRST. That should help with some of the symptoms. I am always available for consultations to go into more depth.

      Reply
  6. jane
    jane says:

    I knew that Stevia must have the same problems as aspartame when it comes to tricking your body to expect sugar. But I didn’t know it contributed to estrogen issues. I will stop taking it immediately.
    Jane.

    Reply
  7. Radha
    Radha says:

    Hi Diva, I am really enjoying your site, especially the information on estrogen dominance which I fully agree with. As I am a nutritionist in training I value such wisdom.

    However, I have a lot of experience with Candida and the anti-sugar anti-candida diet, along with a very gut healing approach is working, albeit slowly since it’s very hard to stick to. I agree that if you DON’T have candida there’s no reason to avoid real sugar. In my early 20’s I had monthly yeast infections, I followed the strict diet in the infamous book, The Yeast Connection, and was very successful, no more yeast infection for 10 years. Of course I fell off and the problem is back now.

    Anyway, I’ve bumped in to a few posts like this about Stevia and how sugar is okay when one has candida, and I wonder if you could share the references to this theory, does Dr. Lee reference studies? I’ve been researching and I can’t find anything to corroborate.

    I use Stevia very moderately, a few drops in my coffee and sometimes in my homemade probiotic drinks. I follow a very clean diet, very healing, anti-inflammatory diet (similar to the one you promote here). But if I eat sugar the candida does NOT go away. If I avoid…well…it does. Believe me I would LOVE to use the sugar approach, but it simply doesn’t work in my experience. I am now addressing my low progesterone/estrogen dominance, feel much better, but again, candida is still there. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Yeast infections, candida overgrowths are almost ALWAYS caused by low immune and potentially hypothyroidism or low metabolic rate. Look up Lita Lee and Ray Peat in regards to candida and they will corroborate. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize that with “candida” symptoms it is generally a case of not nourishing the gut enough to keep the bacteria fed in the lower gut. If you have estrogen dominance, low sugar simply doesn’t work either. It’s the estrogen causing your candida and low immunity.

      Reply
  8. Radha
    Radha says:

    Hi! Thanks, yes I had a nutritionist advise to treat the gut as a first step in treating my candida, my question was more in regards to stevia, and upon further research I think we just don’t know. A quick look at the wikipedia section on stevia shows that there are a lot of conflicting studies in regards to insulin and reproductive effects. For now I am going to keep using the small amount that I use. Of course if we go crazy and think we can replace stevia for sugar in highly processed gluten based desserts, that’s of no use at all 🙂

    I have been taking my gut issues much more seriously lately, no grains, etc. so hopefully those changes will help with candida. I have also been addressing my thyroid, estrogen, adrenal issues. I tested my progesterone, it was low and I have classic estrogen dominance symptoms. I started taking natural progesterone cream and I noticed a HUGE difference in many of my symptoms, especially mood and energy. Maybe my gut issues are worse than I thought and it will just take time to heal it and get the candida under control. I’ve been doing gut healing diet for about 3 months very consciously and feel a lot better, but honestly the biggest shift was when I started using progesterone cream. Before that I would be tired after walking two blocks, was gaining weight, and very depressed. After less than a month using progesterone those symptoms are 90% gone. I’m also starting to take vitex (again, I went off it for a while). I find it’s very good at balancing hormones but it takes several months to kick in.

    I’ll keep perusing your articles on gut nutrition as I agree it’s one of – if not the – most important thing we can do for our health.

    Reply
  9. Valerie
    Valerie says:

    I know this was written a year ago, but I have a question about the glucogenesis. Couldn’t the effect be neutralized by introducing glucose into the body at the same time as a stevia product? For example, having some fruit with your stevia-sweetened dessert? That way the body is getting the glucose it is preparing for?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      In theory, Valerie, yes but the estrogenic effects (Stevia has been used as birth control in certain cultures) outweigh the advantages to using it.

      Reply
  10. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I just came across your article today as I was doing a search for Stevia side effects. I took to Stevia about 8 years ago at the advice of several folks (Naturopath, Diabetic Councillor etc.) when I was diagnosed with type II diabetes after a car accident 3 years before.

    Over the last few years I have been barraged with many unexplained symptoms, low thyroid function, fatigue, cold feet / hands, digestion issues, higher than normal cortisol levels etc. I have been to see specialist, and have been continually subjected to tests, with no concrete results. I use probably 5 – 7 Stevia packets a day in coffee, herbal tea etc. Your article has me questioning the wisdom of using Stevia and so I will bring back Sugar in the Raw, which is what I previously used. Any idea how long it might for the Stevia to flush out of my system and for me to notice a difference. Thank-you very much for this article.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Keep your diet nutrient dense and make sure you are not overloading your body with chemicals and it will resolve over time.

      Reply
  11. Gina
    Gina says:

    Hi, I have been reading a lot about Stevia since reading your article. I have had anxiety and adrenal issues but even taking really good care of myself it seemed like I was missing something. I had an intuitive hit today about Stevia as I had been using more and more of it and I am really sensitive to any kind of sweeteners and found this website. THANK YOU! Anyone know the best way to get Stevia out of the system?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Gina, if you generally detox fine (your liver detox pathways 1&2) then you will detox the stevia out of your system without having to worry about doing anything. Provided you aren’t using it, it will work its way out of your system, I promise.

      Reply
  12. Daniel
    Daniel says:

    Well, my doctors and dietitians tell me low carb is good and since I have all kinds of problems I tried several diets and what not over the years and I still haven’t reached my goal. I use Stevia a lot and I see some people using this argument you used which is based on experiments on rats and I see others (even on forums for psychiatrists) who say that Stevia is good when you are experiencing adrenal fatigue. My doc gave me a printout saying the carbs are not so good when experiencing adrenal fatigue.

    I am a friend of the ketogenic diet (cyclical) cause I put on weight instantly when I’m not in ketosis…. Also I feel better when in fat burning mode and I need dat fat cause I have some neurological issues….
    But I also have problems with my adrenals (my whole life) so I ended up here in order to ask you this:

    What can I use if not Stevia??? I love the sweet and I don’t care if it does not just taste like sugar… I use it in my tea and. One dietitian recommends dextrose the other one d-ribose… but they don’t make it taste good.

    Well answering the question myself I will probably mix them up by using stevia and some ribose… any better suggestions?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      There are lots of sweeteners on the market such as Lakanto that you can use instead of Stevia. If you are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue then Stevia definitely will contribute to that.

      Reply
  13. Marissa
    Marissa says:

    My issue is that I have Celiac (absolute intolerance to gluten) and my body also rejects (as in ejects) soy. I haven’t been staying away from tiny amounts of soy like a bit of soybean oil or lecithin, but I definitely don’t eat it as a primary ingredient or dinner ends up in the toilet. I do NOT have diabetes, but I tend toward hypoglycaemia. I need to eat about every 2-2.5 hrs. or I get brain fog and irritable and just not competent. (Although after reading some of this about lack of clarity, I wonder if I should get my thyroid tested.)

    I have been trying to find a high-protein snack to hold me over between meals at work. I am wary of alternate sweeteners, even stevia and erythritol which are touted as healthy and natural. But my sister recommended Quest all natural protein bars (with stevia/erythritol), due to 20g of protein per bar, and to eat some fruit along with them. It has been good, and 3 hrs later I am only getting a bit foggy but not desperate–I still feel in control of my mood and everything. I was considering ordering more, especially for my upcoming trip to Italy for my honeymoon where I want to be able to enjoy the touring and vacation!

    You seem to be quite informed about these sweeteners and their effects. My doctor has not been able to provide me any dietary help to stabilize myself. Do you have an opinion on the effects of eating these bars along with some fruit? Do you know of any gluten-free and soy-free high-protein energy bars that do NOT contain questionable sweeteners? I’ve been searching a long time but haven’t been able to find any alternatives yet.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I don’t like the bars, to be honest. I would prefer you make bars with gelatin (there are recipes on the blog called protein bars) and just eating fruit with protein and PLENTY of healthy fat (coconut oil, ghee, butter, avocado, macadamia nuts) to get your stability. Healthy fats are the key to satiety. Many of these bars are full of either grains, soy, or nuts and seeds. I also wouldn’t be afraid of natural sweeteners like fruit, maple syrup or honey! When eaten with healthy fats and proteins, they are more than adequate to stabilize blood sugar!

      Reply
  14. Marissa
    Marissa says:

    (This second comment is simply because I didn’t check the box to be notified of follow-up comments the first time.)

    Reply
  15. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    This is so informative and readable – thank you for the information! I recently heard about bacon syrup and would be interested in what you think about it. Looks like it might be okay in moderation. Or do you consider it a lateral move from stevia?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I don’t do Stevia as a rule. There are other sweeteners out there like Lucuma and Lakanto that do not have the side effects if an alternative sweetener needs to be used and if there is no cause for one, maple syrup, honey, and, of course, fruit is generally enough for most people.

      Reply
  16. Angela
    Angela says:

    Dear Diva, thank you so much for all the information and help you’ve been providing us, your fans. I was told that “Organic Blackstrap Molasses – Unsulphured” are a healthy and tasty alternative to all kinds of sweeteners. Do you agree? Is it healthier than organic raw honey and organic sugar in the raw?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      It isn’t healthier but it has JUST as many advantages and is high in iron to boot. It is a balance of glucose and fructose and can be a perfectly healthy part of a balanced diet!

      Reply
  17. Sonya Wilson
    Sonya Wilson says:

    I get what you’re saying about stevia. And I totally agree with your comments on glucose.
    The literature I’ve read on sugar focuses on fructose as being the bad guy. We have moved away from buying sucrose for that reason, and eating glucose or dextrose.
    Sweet Poison by David Gillespie was a key resource as we came to this conclusion. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I have read this book cover to cover and I find no compelling evidence that fructose IN BALANCE of glucose is the bad guy and I also don’t feel sugar is the “sweet poison” it is made out to be. Most people (including health professionals) don’t understand or differentiate the fact that the poison is actually when sugar is combined with chemicals (as in processed foods) or grain which creates toxicity within the body. Glucose/fructose balanced sweeteners when eaten within reason (pretty hard to overdose if you are eating an unprocessed diet) help fertility, thyroid and adrenals!!

      Reply
  18. Jenna
    Jenna says:

    I do not see any sources of where you got this information. When I read things, there needs to be proof or reliable sources that tell me that the information I am reading is true. Do you have the sources for this article?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Of course I have sources to some of the research but some of it is also my knowledge. I am a great authority on what these substances do to the body AS a clinical nutritionist and integrative medicine specialist. A lot of the “research” was done as part of numerous biochemistry and physiology courses.

      Reply
      • Greg
        Greg says:

        Wow, I see my suspicions were right. “Its true because I say so and I’m an expert.”

        I will be warning everyone to stay away from you and this site.

        Reply
        • thedetoxdiva
          thedetoxdiva says:

          I’m really curious what nerve I have touched in you. Why do I threaten you so much? Because I have a holistic view to health that goes against mainstream hype? Because I help women who are stuck in a dieting rut that can actually threaten fertility, hormone health, thyroid function, and adrenal balance not to mention blood sugar when misused? Greg, bear in mind that this was not meant for anyone not seeking alternatives for what may not be working for them anymore.

          Reply
          • Mary
            Mary says:

            Do you have some sources or references to back up what you’ve written here? I like to do my own research. Thanks.

          • thedetoxdiva
            thedetoxdiva says:

            I have my research, of course. I urge all of my clients and readers to do their own research. This is an old post though and any notes I have would be in a box somewhere. 🙂

  19. Dorcas Smith
    Dorcas Smith says:

    i use stevia with honey! Will the honey provide enough glucose for processing needs? I have done really well on the mix. Lost weight, well fat, 5% and grew some muscle 3%!

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      In my view, it would be better to use the honey sparingly than use Stevia more than very sparingly if ever, depending on your hormone status, adrenal status and thyroid status. You can lose weight without using stevia. If you do use it and are healthy, just make sure you are using it sparingly and honey, of course is enough for processing needs.

      Reply
  20. Greg
    Greg says:

    You definitively present controversial and disputed theories as facts without providing a disclaimer that these are not 100% the only accepted explanation, even within the alternate health community. This discredits you and makes you a poor source of information.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Actually Greg, honestly, I don’t say that my view is the only accepted view. I DO say that this works for very ill people the majority of the time. Like it or not, you must sell Stevia to have this attitude because unfortunately, everything I said of it is well researched and it is also my experience. You don’t have to like my site. You don’t have to recommend me. You can even trash me but at the end of the day, you aren’t any kind of client I would want to help, first and foremost because you are a man and won’t ever go through menopause, and second because you are so combative you can’t possibly entertain the possibility that I could have some points about something that is used as birth control in South America in some cultures.

      Reply
  21. Diane
    Diane says:

    Can you point me to the evidence that shows that Stevia leads to gluconeogenesis in the body?

    And, the connections you are making about stevia and thyroid dysfunction are sort of jumping the gun. Sure, stevia doesn’t lead to the creation of glycogen stores. That being said, if a person is eating a normal quantity of food and hasn’t run a marathon that day they are making sufficient glycogen stores for their body to maintain it’s normal metabolic functions. Where did you find your information?

    Thanks for any insights. I’m very curious.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I am happy to point you to a really good one; Chen TH et al Mechanism of the hypoglycemic effect of stevioside, a
      glycoside of Stevia rebaudiana. Planta Med. 2005 Feb;71(2):108-13.[20] Yasukawa K et al Inhibitory effect of stevioside on tumor promotion by 12-O-
      tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate in two-stage carcinogenesis in mouse skin. Pharm Bull. 2002 Nov;25 but before you go looking for studies, remember, these are not across the board with every single person experiencing a blood sugar drop however, if you read the context of the article, it was written in the vein, “A little might be harmless but more than a little (and NOBODY in the health industry just does a little of anything) can increase appetite and elevate adrenalin in that it “tastes” sweet but does not provide glucose to the cell when it’s needing it (perpetuating hypoglycemia).” I am not a stevia fan. Most stevia is eaten in the presence of polyunsaturates which compounds the problem.
      The studies that show that stevia can inhibit gluconeogenesis are flawed, in my opinion, because they are isolated and done on lab rats rather than human beings, first, and if a person has severe metabolic impairment the need for glucose increases and stevia does not support this increase. I disagree strongly that if someone is eating a normal quantity of food they are making sufficient glycogen stores because their needs, especially in the face of thyroid dysfunction, specifically a conversion issue, are heightened, and stevia does not support the need for more glucose. I don’t feel I am jumping the gun at all understanding that if people are eating enough “food” to support their glycogen stores and they still have metabolic challenges then eating stevia rather than ripe fruits, honey, orange juice, and even a few well placed pseudo grains then they may very well need that glucose (or investigation to find out and the antidote given to what is blocking their use of the glycogen properly….) to right the conversion issues. Stevia does not support the conversion of T4 into T3.

      When I wrote the article, ages ago, I forgot (read: didn’t want to write any more of the book) to point out my FEAR with stevia goes far beyond what it does to metabolically challenged individuals (most of my readers) but it’s other very well supported studies.Mutagenicity of steviol and its oxidative derivatives in Salmonella typhimurium TM677
      Terai T, Ren H, Mori G, Yamaguchi Y, Hayashi T.

      Abstract
      Stevioside is natural non-caloric sweetner isolated from Stevia rebaudiana BERTONI, which has been used as a non-caloric sugar substitute in Japan. Pezzuto et al. demonstrated that steviol shows a dose-dependent positive response in forward mutation assay using Salmonella typhimurium TM677 in the presence of metabolic activation system (Aroclor induced rat liver S9 fraction). Our studies were carried out to identify the genuine mutagenic active substance from among the eight steviol derivatives. Steviol indicate almost similar levels of mutagenicity under the presence of S9 mixture, as reported by Pezzuto et al. 15-Oxo-steviol was found to be mutagenic at the one tenth the level of steviol itself under the presence of S9 mixture. Interestingly, specific mutagenicity of the lactone derivative under the presence of S9 mixture was ten times lower than that of the lactone derivative without the addition of S9 mixture.

      Reply
  22. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    I jus started a low carb diet and I’ve been eating Greek yogurt with stevia (instead of sugar) and the crystal light with truvia because I though it was better. I’ve lost 44 lbs so far (over 5 1/2 months) but I’ve noticed I’m losing more hair then normal, it actually is starting to look thin, I’ve always had very thick hair. Do you think it is because of the stevia?

    Reply
  23. Ann
    Ann says:

    Long story short: I really enjoyed Stevia but discovered Stevia was causing me to feel like I had a bladder infection. I found out it is very high in oxalates and people with cystitis, interstitial cystitis, etc should be very careful with oxalate consumption. Oxalates can cause kidney stones and exacerbate many other conditions. Thank for this article. I’ll return to real sweetness in moderation.

    Reply
  24. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    This is a pretty generalized article. Can you quantify your conclusions with amounts used? Any consumption? Large amounts of consumption? I don’t doubt your facts but in order to keep public safe you should consider offering safe amounts to use. I would imagine that say 1/8th of a tsp of stevia in a cup of coffee would not be as harmful as say a can of Coke? Am I right/wrong? The saying “everything in moderation” comes to mind here.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Jennifer, to quantify it, I don’t do Stevia at all in patients that are experiencing estrogen dominance issues. I don’t do Stevia in my own kitchen. I don’t do moderation in untested (and Stevia is untested) phytoestrogenic compounds, however, yes, 1/8th of a teaspoon, if you are so inclined to use it, is not as “harmful” as a can of Coke. Although Stevia is “natural” there is no real reason to use it, in my view. It is non-nutritive in a way that even plain sugar isn’t. (Plain sugar at least provides a balance of fructose/glucose. Everything in moderation, yes but everything that really needs to be in the body and actually tastes GOOD.

      Reply
      • Kia Hamm
        Kia Hamm says:

        Thank you for this article. I could not understand why the last two times I bought bottles is stevia, I kept dropping and shattering them. Then, I was recently diagnosed with fibroids… again, and soon after that came across this and another article warning about stevia and certain hormonal issues. I guess God was trying to help me not to make things worse. ☺

        Reply
  25. jean mason
    jean mason says:

    I have been using Stevia on my daily whole grapefruit. Delicious. But something is causing my hair to fall out. Now I suspect it may be Stevia. Any proof of this?
    Jackie posted same problem in October.

    Jean mason

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Well, I don’t know what you mean by PROOF but stevia is a known endocrine disruptor and in some people that can cause hair loss. There are probably many other factors you would need to identify but there is no reason to be ingesting Stevia. Good place to start.

      Reply
  26. veronica
    veronica says:

    I’m diabetic can’t have sugar, honey or maple syrup and I do use stevia with no problems at all. having said that I don’t use any more than the tiny tip of a teaspoon to take the edge off of coffee and occasionally a sprinkle (less than half a teaspoon) on porridge. I would doubt that I use more than 2 flat teaspoons a week. it works fine for me

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      We disagree in the treatment of your diabetes Veronica. Honey and maple syrup, or at least fruit juice, in small amounts, is actually curative in diabetic states. I don’t disagree that 2 teaspoons a week is a problem but the post was written for people who are using far more than this amount.

      Reply
  27. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Hi! Thank you so much for your article! Yesterday I was told by my doctor that my Thyroid felt a little swollen. She had my blood tested and my TSH was 4.89 (normal range is 0.47-4.68). In August 2015, I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist who also palpated my throat and felt nothing. I have been drinking fruit and (fat free plain Greek) yogurt smoothies sweetened with Sweet Leaf Stevia for the past 2 months (prior to that I had never used Stevia). I use 1/4 tsp. in each smoothie and drink an average of 1 smoothie a day. Is it possible that this has contributed to my elevated TSH levels? If so, is this something that I can reverse simply by discontinuing my Stevia use?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I wouldn’t say that the stevia is the only reason for your thyroid swelling. I would, if I were you, figure out WHY your thyroid is swelling and correct the root. Stevia is not great but it isn’t a root cause.

      Reply
  28. L
    L says:

    LOL Stevia is not a contraceptive. These are fear tactics geared towards females as females will worry more about sugar intake than males- try to go to a better alternative – stevia- then are told it’s not going to let them get pregnant- and they freak out and go back to sugar!!?? Are you KIDDING ME??? Who is behind this DIVA?

    This DIVA states in her findings above that it can cause adrenal fatigue- then ADVISES (I’m using this term lightly at this point) a commenter that it cannot cause adrenal fatigue.
    She states it causes problems for the thyroid – then in the comments again contradicts herself.

    And Sarah(cmmenter on 2/5) why do you need to sweeten your smoothies with anything ? Eat the whole fruit, darling. With as many pieces of fruit that go into a smoothie– you are getting some 40 plus teaspoons of NATURAL SUGAR. It’s WAYYYY too much. Have A piece of fruit. And stop eating fat free and low fat processed foods. The lack of fat is counteracted by many other chemicals or sweetener additives to taste still good enough to eat. It’s all crap. Whole foods are where it is at. I’ve been using stevia- pure- before all these companies jumped on the bandwagon and created half stevias LOL for easily 20 years. Cut out sugar big time way back then and life is pretty amazing. Natural fats, proteins, vegetables and limited fruit and simple carbs (sprouted bread, etc) and a couple to few drops of stevia a day. Again pure with just water mixed with it. What’s so hard ?

    This is a dumb article propagating fear. Shame on Diva.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Actually, it is YOU who is sounding dumber by the moment (though I do agree that I didn’t understand why she was sweetening her smoothies with anything.) Stevia, in the amounts that many have been using it has been show to be a disruptor of hormones. You clearly don’t have the inside scoop on biochemical research, of which is a focus of my studies. You are also really wrong on the composition of some fruits. 40 teaspoons of natural sugar (bet you can’t tell me how sugar is broken down in a healthy body…. in a body with sugar handling issues?) is a LOT of fruit and most people do not eat that much for those levels. Grains, even sprouted, to a person who has an impaired gut, is very hard on the digestive system and sprouting grains does not completely rid them of antinutrients. Of course, if a person is healthy then yes, absolutely, all of this is a reasonable way to eat, but in a woman that is having hormonal issues, stevia can contribute to higher estrogen levels. Why do you need any alternative sweetener at ALL??

      Reply
  29. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    Interesting read and food for thought, no pun intended. Is there a reliable test a health practitioner can administer to check my adrenals? One checked them some years ago and said they were fine, but I experience quite a few things that you and others have mentioned (on Nature-Throid for hypo, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, etc.) as well as 0-to-60 emotional reactions at times and occasional anxiety symptoms. I’m currently doing Nutrisystem and the weight is coming off, but I noticed they use various sugars including stevia, honey, and fructose.

    Reply
  30. Patti
    Patti says:

    Oh my god! This just hit me right in the big gut I have since using stevia! I thought I couldn’t lose the baby weight because I’m 40. I thought my strange facial hair was due to a hormone imbalance because I had a baby at 40. I realize now that all my problems stated when I started using sweet leaf! I need to detox badly but I’m breastfeeding. Ugh! I’m so mad that I didn’t see this! My belly has been so big and I have worked so hard to no avail. I’ve never had this hard of a time losing baby weight! Thank you so very much! I’m going to make some tea and use my raw local honey now! I’m throwing stevia in the garbage!

    Reply
  31. Karen
    Karen says:

    Thank you so much for the invaluable information! I have been having a lot of sweetleaf stevia daily for the last couple of years & have been getting a lot of belly fat. Can you please tell me how your patients have improved once stopping stevia? Has it helped them lose weight & helped with their sugar cravings? Thanks in advance for your response 🙂

    Reply
      • Peggy
        Peggy says:

        Isn’t Lakanto predominantly erythritol and only a tiny bit of monk fruit? For how much it costs, erythritol seems like just as good, and less expensive. Is erythritol as bad as stevia?

        Reply
        • thedetoxdiva
          thedetoxdiva says:

          No, not predominantly. It is predominantly monk fruit with a little erythritol. It is worth every cent you pay because monk fruit (which used in it’s original form is not as appetizing) actually has been used to treat Diabetes in China for centuries. Erythritol is not as bad as stevia but can cause many severe digestive symptoms as it is a sugar alcohol.

          Reply
  32. M
    M says:

    I am curious about the broad statements about stevia here. Your blog comes up in a google search about stevia and blood sugar, so although you’re writing to a specific group, it’s getting out to people who don’t necessarily fit into your core audience (as the comments show).
    Stevia leaf is not approved as GRAS by the FDA, I believe only rebaudioside A (one steviol glycoside) and maybe stevioside are approved and can be used in food (not sold as a supplement).
    I use a few products that are sweetened with a rebaudioside A/monk fruit combo to supplement my healthy, whole food, diet, so I’m wondering if there is an effect of this particular stevia extract on a healthy person with a healthy diet? Not hormonally compromised?
    Since this blog is reaching a larger audience and turning up on Google, it would be great if you could address this! Thanks!

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I actually don’t see the need to narrow down my audience for such a blog. Thanks for the recommendation but it is my intention to reach as many people as possible, hormonally compromised or otherwise, so that I can spread the word on what actually caused hormonal compromise because, in all reality, it begins with something. I don’t happen to believe that, if you are healthy, a little will hurt you. But here’s the thing. Is there a reason you can’t just use monkfruit which has no such warnings or side effects? You can buy Lakanto without stevia.

      Reply
  33. brother's keeper
    brother's keeper says:

    I’ve been using Stevia for a long time now(almost ten years) and went super low carb, as in no sugar, honey, fruit and no winter squashes even. I’ve developed adrenal fatigue, high cortisol, have diabetic markers and a motor neuropathy to boot.(MMN). Have you ever seen something like this reversed? I’ve been reading matt stone, Ray Peat, Danny Roddy, etc, since I read this article. It’s been quite enlightening. It’s hard to shake the sugar is bad for you crowd.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Brother’s Keeper I have heard of ALL these issues on NO sugar diets. It IS hard to shake that “sugar is evil” crowd but it’s only when we OVERDO it (and that’s easy to do unless it’s with real food). You are reading the best, though, for sure, to reverse your issues!

      Reply
  34. Kara
    Kara says:

    First of all, I want to thank you SO very much for this information. I’m not totally sure, but I am beginning to think Stevia is the cause of some pretty severe problems I have been having with my skin and body in general for the past year. I saw a naturopathic doctor who recommended it and soon after developed burning, crawling, and very sensitive skin (pins and needles), agitation, muscle pain, and the inability to sit still. I ended up in the ER and was prescribed klonopin to deal with the symptoms. Nearly every article online praises Stevia and mentions no side effects. The message needs to be spread that this “health” food comes with serious risks.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Kara, I actually do feel like someone should look a little deeper into the types of Stevia that are on the market and consider putting a warning label on the “potential” side effects. I hope you are doing better now!

      Reply
  35. J - E.H. Health
    J - E.H. Health says:

    As a fellow nutritional therapist, I’d like to thank you for pointing out all of this information about Stevia! I’ve been using it myself for around 2 years, and only recently have I stopped to discover that my adult acne cleared up very quickly and my cortisol and TSH levels normalised within a few weeks. I’m very surprised that I missed this, but we’re always learning new things in this industry! 🙂 Also, to those who insist on calling this article and the Diva out on a lack of references and “unreliable information” because they haven’t experienced the same effects on Stevia – the first thing any nutritionist will tell you is that each and every person’s body reacts different to different substances! If you can use Stevia without a problem, great… but many others might not be so lucky, especially those with compromised carbohydrate metabolism and hormonal issues. I’m one of the latter group. Thank you, Detox Diva, for a wonderful article. I’ll be sending many of my clients to your page!

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I really want to thank you for the vote of confidence. I have seen some really complex situations clear up once stevia was stopped and I am still gobsmacked as to WHY except I feel like there is a serious underlying hormonal effect (which would pull TSH out of whack too!). I am really thrilled you found value with the article! It is so great that we can have networks of professionals on the same page. We should start a network!

      Reply
  36. Kristy
    Kristy says:

    I quit stevia a couple weeks ago after reading it can cause hormonal distruptions. A week into stopping it I’ve been having issues with nausea, could that be linked to withdrawal symptoms of stevia? I’ve never been nauseas before in my life! The doctor also suspects hypoglycemia, did I ruin my insulin sensitivity or will that also eventually regulate? Im 26 years old at a healthy weight and very active. I used it a lot for a few years. Also will my hormones go back to normal after I stop taking it? If so how long do you think until my body goes back to normal? Thank you!

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Stevia can cause hypoglycemia and it can take quite a while for your sensitivity to insulin to return. They will go back to normal eventually but you will need to take steps to make sure you do what you need to do to restore that sensitivity.

      Reply
  37. Tara Ragan
    Tara Ragan says:

    I suffered from yeast infections monthly for 8 years. I cut stevia out and the infections went away. I didn’t realize it was the stevia till I added it back and boom a yeast infection the next day. I’m sure this is my acne problem to. It’s rare to find this info. Thank You because this confirms what I believe is happening to me.

    Reply
  38. Rohit
    Rohit says:

    Hey Diva! Thanks for a great article! I’ve read similar on the internet about how stevia ‘tricks’ the body because of its sweet taste. I was wondering what the source reseach was that you were looking at? I haven’t seen any scientific studies cited by these sites so I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. Something that showed their correlation between stevia and the increase of cortisol and adrenaline? Thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Rohit, I have changed computers three times since this was written so I will have to dig… but if you were to do a google search you could come up with plenty of peer reviewed studies, I am sure. I used journals, not so much google, but the journals I use also do post on Google as well, I think.

      Reply
  39. Amy
    Amy says:

    I found this article after eating something sweetened with stevia the last two days, and I had the worst fatigue and headache and GI distress I’ve ever had. I’ve never eaten anything sweetened with stevia but I have muscle fatigue today after eating it twice. I have a high sensitivity to high fructose corn syrup, so I feel like the stevia is what is making me feel so lousy the last couple days comma and I feel like my hormones are out of balance. Thank you so much for this article

    Reply
      • Robert
        Robert says:

        Rather than to feel “sorry” that I am pointing to references which somewhat dispute your conclusions and to refuse to comment, you might be a little bit more open about it. You call your article “fantastically researched” since it’s your article. Your referenced Wikipedia article shows that a chemical structure is “similar” to gibberllin and kaurene. (You decided that similar is enough). Then you say “Studies have shown they have dramatic effects on estrogen and/or progesterone and have a contraceptive effect on the body.” I presume the unnamed studies relate to gibberllin and kaurene, which are NOT found in Stevia. As a chemist, I have to say that the structures to which you point are NOT the same as Steviol or Rebaudioside A. How can a six carbon ring with a bridge be compared to a seven member ring? Even if the chemicals to which you point were “similar” that does in any way prove anything. As any chemist knows even optical isomers (same atoms but mirror image arrangement) can have vastly different properties. Yes your article is “interesting” but is it factual?
        I am not saying that the various Stevia extracts on the market are safe or unsafe. All I did was to point to an article which has detailed references in it, upon which you did not comment, to show an open approach to the subject of Stevia safety.
        Even if stevia were high in oxalates, the amount of stevia used is so small that it doesn’t amount to much and should not be a concern since oxalates are everywhere.
        Here is another researched link with different conclusions:
        https://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/is-stevia-safe-is-stevia-bad-for-you-stevia-infertility/
        It takes courage to be open to opposing viewpoints, particularly when you put your view out to the public. I wish you luck with this. I am sure you want to help others.

        Reply
        • thedetoxdiva
          thedetoxdiva says:

          I think the article you gave is fine but I don’t think it is particularly relevant in my clients’ cases they being women. I don’t feel the article actually refuted what I had to say, rather spouted the other side, that stevia is completely safe. I don’t find it to be. I find it to be a culprit in many symptoms of estrogen imbalances, progesterone deficiencies and even with SIBO. So thank you for pointing out your viewpoint but I will still not be recommending stevia to any of my clients based on the facts I have put into the article AND what I have witnessed as a functional medicine practitioner. I have not found it to be safe except with VERY small doses (far lower doses than the average stevia user consumes). It is through years of practicing I have come to the conclusions I still have about stevia. The other article doesn’t convince me either simply because the halting of stevia use has “mysteriously” balanced hormones and blood sugar issues that persisted for a great number of my clients. In this case, practice and my own observations with my clients which are not merely happenstance, rule my recommendations.

          Reply
          • Robert
            Robert says:

            OK, I appreciate that you read them and commented. I am in a place of in-between. It is not settled for me whether Stevia does or does not affect bodies negatively. Most of what I see is anecdotal evidence. This can be fine if all variables are known and controlled, but that is not usually the case.

  40. Laura
    Laura says:

    If the problem comes from tricking the body into thinking it is getting something sweet, wouldn’t sugar alcohols such as Zylitol and Erythritol have the same detrimental effects? What about Monk Fruit extract?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Yes, indeed they would and do! Monkfruit extract is rarely pure. It has been used for centuries to treat Diabetes but with it not being pure it’s hard to consider as a sweetener that is without it’s issues.

      Reply

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