I am a coffee lover, so I am always on the look out for a way to sweeten my coffee. I used to use artificial sweeteners such as equal or nutra sweet. I was horrified when I realized the effects that aspartame can have on your health. I then moved on to Splenda, I discovered splenda when I was on the Atkins Diet about 10 years ago. Then after doing research I had found many articles claiming surcalose which is what spenda may cause cancer. I was back at the task of finding a way to sweeten my coffee without health risks.
I have recently starting using Stevia. Stevia remains on the CSPI (center for science in the public interest) safe list. For years, natural practitioners, have recommended the herb stevia as a natural sweetener alternative. The stevia plant grows in South America and has a long history of use with native South Americans for a variety of health benefits. More recently, stevia has been used as a natural sweetener in other countries like Japan. Yet it was never approved as a sweetener in Europe or the US — until 2008. The sweeteners are not in the whole plant form, but are made from an extract from the stevia plant called rebaudioside A, or rebiana for short. Even this natural plant sweetener has had it’s own controversies. In stevia’s past it has been linked to liver mutations, infertility problems, disruptions in metabolism and low thyroid conditions.
Like many other substances, the negative effects of stevia are seen in animals only at very high levels of intake, and we don’t know if these effects will carry through to humans. So light to moderate usage is probably safe, and unlike the artificial sweeteners, there has not been any reports of people experiencing headaches or muscle pain from using stevia.
I am continuing to use Stevia for now. I feel like if it is made from a plant, it is a much better alternative to other sweeteners that are made in a lab. I will also still be on the look out for other things I can use to sweeten my coffee in the morning! What do you use??