Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

Q:
Can you please give me some answers about the sweetener "Stevia". Is it okay to use if you have diabetes?

A:
I do suggest stevia as a sweetener for people with diabetes. Derived from the leaves of a plant native to South America, it is 200 times as sweet as sucrose so a little goes a long way. Stevia does not appear to have potential side effects of headaches or other symptoms that may occur with aspartame. A few studies have been done with extracts of these leaves, suggesting stevia may have some blood glucose lowering effects. Products made with stevia pass the "taste test" with many folks -- no bitter aftertaste. Stevia is available in both liquid and powder form. It is one of those sweeteners that is also stable in cooking.

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