What's this about stevia?

barb_roselover_inFebruary 24, 2014

I have heard that stevia has a tendency to make you gain weight. Is this true? So many of these sweeteners are full of chemicals. I thought I had found the answer in stevia. Also hunting for a good rye crispy cracker that tastes good and haven't found that to eat with my soups. Someone help me? Barb

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
strawchicago 5a IL

Hi Barb: Great question. I checked on Stevia and here's WebMD caution: "Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Stevia might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants. This family includes ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many other plants."

Also FDA has NOT approved of Stevia, due to "FDA has concerns about the effects of whole-leaf or crude stevia on blood sugar control, the kidneys, and the cardiovascular and reproductive systems."

A sweetener that curbs appetite is Buckwheat Honey. Dr. Oz show recommended buckwheat honey for its antioxidant properties. We made honeyed-roasted walnuts at least a dozen times ... and we devour them instantly.

Then I replaced "wild-flower" honey with "buckwheat" and we could only eat 1/4 the amount. It still taste good, but it curb my appetite immediately. At first I thought I was me, but it's the same way with my kid. Great for saving money, since walnut is expensive.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Using sweetener in coffee or tea is a learned taste. Try cutting way way back and eliminating the sweetener altogether. May not be easy for you but it's your best solution in the long run.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

From livestrong.com:

Weight Gain

Stevia has no calories and is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. As with the use of other low-calorie sweeteners, the use of stevia may have drawbacks. A study released in 2004 by Purdue University researchers showed that rats eating food sweetened with saccharin took in more calories and gained more weight than rats fed sugar-sweetened food. Another study of 3,700 residents of San Antonio, Texas, demonstrated that those who averaged 3 or more artificially sweetened beverages a day were more likely to gain weight over an eight-year period than those who didn't drink artificially sweetened beverages. - end of quote

Notice the word "may", but it doesn't give any definitive science using stevia; AND it lumps it in with artificial sweeteners they used for the study. Did they just drink 3 diet drinks, or did they have 2 candy bars and a doughnut along with them? The study is flawed with more assumptions than actual facts and science in my opinion.

But buyer beware. Many stevia products are blended with some kind of sugar base like dextrose, maltodextrin, xylitol, or erythritol (however the last two, in moderation, are better choices than the first two - according to some information in my files). You can get pure stevia products - no additives.

I make liquid and powdered stevia using leaves from the stevia plants I grew last summer, which is a WHOLE lot different than highly-processed stevia made into a commercial sweetener. Homemade stevia from the plant is only about 30-45 times as sweet as sugar, while the highly-processed kinds are approximately 300 times as sweet as sugar.

You would never use a homemade version of stevia like you would the highly-processed versions - and I have a number of commercial stevia products in my pantry and have used all of them occasionally, and have not gained weight in forever. I did, however, lose 10-pounds when I went wheat-free.

When push comes to shove, it's too many total calories from all foods that makes most people gain weight, not the no-calorie sweeteners. If the food is sweetened with an artificial sweetener AND contains a wheat product, it's more than likely the addictive qualities of wheat that makes them eat more of it, but that wasn't part of the test!

Low-fat is also hand-in-glove with artificial sweeteners, and low-fat and fat-free foods don't fulfill a satiety level like a little fat in something does. Back in the 90's when low-fat and fat-free was all the rage, if I added even a tablespoon or two of butter to a low-fat or fat-free recipe, you were satisfied with one serving of it, than when it was completely fat-free and you ate 2-servings. So you choose fat-free, sugar-free, something-er-others, even gluten-free, sugar-free something-er-others that are made with high-glycemic flours, but you tend to eat more than what a serving size is because you never reach that satiety level from the missing fat and sugar. If I get a craving for something sweet, I'll take a tiny bite of coconut oil and savor it for a minute or two before I swallow it, and the craving instantly goes away.

That being said, the use of any kind of sweetener (white table sugar included) in moderation will not lead to weight gain UNLESS it's consumed in a form that adds more total calories than a body needs. If there are other medical issues that can be attributed to weight-gain, or interferes with weigh- loss, such as hormones or the endocrine system, etc., it's not about the sweetener.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the help. I have experienced the fatfree myth. A lot of it is in the head, I am sure, and you certainly have to give the food time to satisfy. It is very hard for anybody with thyroid issues to lose weight. You just have to have patience, which I am short of unfortunately.

Nobody answered my question about crackers. Right now, I am using the "baked" crackers, but they have too much sodium--at least the ones I have had. I am trying the wheat thing, but certainly have a hard time watching with all of my limitations. Plugging along though. Barb

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with Grainlady, the math is perfectly simple. Eat more calories than you burn and you'll gain weight. Eat less and move more and you'll lose weight by burning more calories than you take in.

There are no "magic" foods or combinations of foods that will make you lose weight. There are foods that are healthy for you and those which are not. White sugar has no more calories than anything else and the real damage is to your teeth, but it has no nutrition, so it's empty calories and does your body no good.

My ex-husband and I owned a health food store for years after we sold the bar and grille. (Yeah, I know, an odd jump to make, LOL) He has several degrees, certificates and various titles in holistic medicine, herbal medicine, natural wellness, kinesiology, etc. and it all started because of my high cholesterol.

Because of exposure to all those years of education (that means I helped with his homework, his spelling and reading were abysmal) I refuse to jump on the bandwagon of the day. All those classes and books started with "20 years ago, researchers believed...".

Fats are a good example. Butter and lard was common, then we had to have margarine and shortening, it was "better". Now margarine and shortening is bad, the trans fats are killing us, and butter and lard are better. Yesterday eggs were the worst thing you could eat and a nutritionist told me to NEVER eat shrimp because they are so high in cholesterol. Fast forward to today and shrimp is healthy and low fat and doesn't raise your cholesterol and an egg a day is "statistically insignificant" in your cholesterol levels for most people. My old doctor told me that 10 years ago anyway, and he was a pretty smart guy.

Anyway, moderation in all things. A little bit of something won't break the bank, barring health issues like allergies, diabetes, etc. Too much of anything will.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is a growing body of evidence that weight gain is due to too many carbohydrates, and that eliminating carbs will cause weight loss. The low fat diet is probably the worst thing that ever happened to people since low fat foods generally have sugar added to them to make them tasty. Recent studies have shown that people on low carb diets lose more weight than those on low fat diets.

BTW, a low carb diet does not mean that you never eat vegetables or fruits because they have carbs. It does mean that you cut sugar, pasta, most grains, bread, white potatoes, etc. You can enjoy dairy, eggs, meats, nuts, cheese, and lots of green vegetables as well as sweet potatoes. Everyone I know who has tried this diet has lost weight and kept it off because it's essentially an easy diet. In fact, I don't consider it a diet--it's a change in the way you eat.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 6:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have only tried commercial stevia, but several brands and forms. My neurologist recommends it ("if you must have sweetener"). It ruins whatever food it is added to. I loathe it. To me it has a bitter, harsh, poison-ish flavor and I can detect it in amounts my DH cannot perceive at all. Not sure whether this is some sort of hypersensitivity or what, but I avoid the stuff.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
strawchicago 5a IL

Hi Barb: Regarding your question: "Nobody answered my question about crackers. Right now, I am using the "baked" crackers, but they have too much sodium--at least the ones I have had. I am trying the wheat thing." AGREE WITH YOU 100% - I had the same problem, can't find tasty low-salt cracker. The Swedish zero-salt rye cracker is nasty like dry brick.

More than a decade ago when I was into reading nutrition books (over a dozen), I came across a doctor's recommending Eziekiel Bread made from sprouted grains .. for its high protein and LOW glycemic index, good for stabilizing blood sugar. So for the past 15 years I toasted that bread well and used it as cracker for my soup. VERY-LOW salt, with many sprouted Biblical grains. Once toasted, it's addictive and fragrant.

I have friends who recommended the same bread: one lowered his cholesterol & another on a gluten-free diet. The Hollywood stars like Halle Berry also use Ezekiel bread. After 15 years of using that stuff, I'm addicted to it, and prefer that over a crusty French bread anytime !! See below link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of Ezekiel loaf

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ryvita has 40mg sodium per serving, which is 2 good size crackers

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, Strawberry Hill, for answering my question on the cracker deal. I have used the Ezzekiel Bread for quite awhile, but i was hoping to find a less costly item. Will still use, but it has wheat too, I believe. My thyroid issue keeps me stymied because so many of the good carbs are goitergenic and don't like me. The best veggies I have found that I can tolerate are carrots, zucchini, onions. The others? --sometimes. Barb

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 11:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
strawchicago 5a IL

Hi Barb: I used to have low-thyroid: was always cold, until I traced the culprit: my consumption of soy-patties and soymilk. Soy screwed up my sleep really bad since soy interfered with the absorption of magnesium (necessary for deep sleep). More problems with soy from the below link:

•Phytates are another substance present in soy beans. This acid, which blocks the absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium, is found in most beans and seeds. This can lead to many health problems as well as a weakened immune system in individuals who consume large amounts of soy products. The only way to eliminate the phytates from soy is to use a long fermentation process.

•Goitrogens are substances that can actually reduce the functioning of the thyroid. This means that diets rich in soy products can actually cause weight gain and other thyroid issues. The fermentation process reduces the effects of this problem, but the only way to completely eliminate any risk of these problems is to greatly reduce or omit soy products from the diet.

Soy and Your Brain

•Some studies have shown that soy may make your brain age faster. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition printed a study of tests given to seniors. Memory and analytical ability tests given to the subjects who ate soy products a minimum of two times a week showed that their brains were functioning at a level of four years older than their actual age.

Soy and Your Thyroid

•Soy may also affect the function of the thyroid. According to the book "The Menopause Diet" by Dr. Larrian Gillespie, eating 40 milligrams of soy isoflavones a day can slow the production of the hormone. A low thyroid could produce symptoms of weakness, weight gain and muscle cramps.

*** From Straw: I had a discussion with my siblings (3 medical doctors) about soy ... further research showed problems with aluminum toxicity in industrial processing of soy using harsh alkaline which corrodes aluminum equipment. In Asian countries, we ate fermented soy, and made tofu by hands without harsh chemicals, and without aluminum equipment.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soy and Thyroid problems

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Personally, I stick with sweeteners that also have some other nutritional benefits - raw honey and maple syrup. I rarely use anything else. I can't remember the last time I bought white sugar and I've never bought stevia (can't stand the taste and my understanding is that most of the commercially available stevia is highly processed). On occasion, I'll use rapadura sugar (evaporated cane juice that has not been processed and crystallized).

My coffee gets sweetened with maple syrup (sounds weird, but when you brew it with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, it makes it taste like a pumpkin-spice coffee - yum). Tea gets sweetened with honey.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I milled about a pound of spent rye (dehydrated) from another project (Rejuvelac) and decide to see what kind of wheat-free crackers I could come up with. Needless to say, hubby will be overjoyed with 4 kinds of crackers in the house! ;-) I have been making three new recipes each week as a goal for 2014, so I got all three done today (one recipe I've made before), and now have crackers all over the kitchen.

#1 - The first recipe was one I had in my file from eons ago using whole wheat, but I never got around to making it. I used rye instead of wheat. It was a batter made in a blender and poured onto a jellyroll pan. Nice and simple. They were more-or-less a disaster. The outer edge baked nicely, but the inside portion is now in the dehydrator to finish drying out. Needs work.... Like make half a recipe and not fill the entire pan! I did like the pizza flavor, however. I used a teaspoon of Penzeys PIZZA Spice.

Recipe #2:

This recipe was a version of "Chees Straws", for all of us who learned to make these as teenagers.

(source: Everyday Food - Fresh flavor Fast - Martha Stewart Living)

1 c. all-purpose flour -(I used rye)
3/4 t. coarse salt (I used 1/4 t. and would eliminate entirely)
1/4-1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2 c. finely grated cheddar cheese (8-oz.)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces.

Whisk together flour, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add cheese and butter; mix with hands, rubbing butter into dry ingredients, until a dough forms.

Transfer dough to a sheet of waxed paper. Form into 1-1/2-inch diameter log; roll up tightly in paper. Refrigerate until firm, about 2-hours.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Trim ends of log, if desired, slice dough into 1/4-inch thick rounds (I made mine a little thinner using my cutting mandoline to make the slices). Arrange rounds 1-inch apart on baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets half-way through, until edges are golden, 16-18-minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool. Crisps can be stored up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container. Makes about 40.

[Grainlady note: I would suggest making a 1/2 recipe and making the dough log about 1-inch. These are pretty high in sodium and fat!]

Recipe #3:

This recipe is an old "friend" from "Quick Wholesome Foods" by Rita Bingham & LeArta Moulton. These are more like baked potato chips.

2 c. water + 1 c. whole wheat flour (I used rye)
Mix and season to taste with one of the following:
-1/2 t. each onion and garlic salt or powder
-1 t. salt OR vegetable salt substitute
-3-4 T. parmesan cheese
-1 T. of any of the following seasonings: taco, sour cream and onion, barbecue, Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Seasonings, etc.

[Grainlady note: I used 1/4 c. of rye flour, 1/2 c. water, and 1 T. parmesan cheese. I milled some caraway seeds into a fine powder and added them and a little salt so these "crackers" would taste a little like rye bread, which they did. I like to make the batter in a blender.]

Pour mixture into a squirt bottle (an old honey bear, ketchup bottle, mustard bottle....). Spray your baking sheet with Pam. With the nozzle of the squirt bottle, draw a circle about the size of a potato chip or cracker with the batter. Now fill in the center with the batter (thin-to-win, thick-won't-do). This little tip will help to prevent it from running. Shake your bottle periodically. You can sprinkle these with sesame seeds, if desired. Bake at 350-degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crisp, checking occasionally and turning them if necessary.

For making cold cereal: Season the batter with salt and a little sweetening, if desired. Bake as above and break into smaller pieces when crispy. NOTE: The thinner the batter, the crisper the chips.

Recipe #4:

I found this recipe at the link below and may actually make them again because I think they can be modified to be savory or sweet. Plus they were quick and easy to make.

Makes 12 small crackers.
Nutrition per cracker:
- 0.5 g. carbs
- 0.2 g. sugar
- 1 g. fat
- 18 calories
- 4.3 mg sodium
Dairy free, gluten free, low-sodium.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Sara Solomon -

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:20PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
How to fix rock hard espresso powder? :p
I am VERY careful about trying to keep powders dry...
I'm a corned beef virgin
I was at Sam's club today and they had nice looking...
Holly- Kay
Another OT Seattle
I'm watching a series on Netflix called the killing...
Islay Corbel
Cool feature I've just noticed (OT)
Has anyone else noticed that you can click on a picture...
How to Buy Pistachios for a Recipe
I'm planning on trying a recipe I found on Food.com...
Sponsored Products
Denby Imperial Blue Cast Iron Omelet Pan - CII-520
$79.99 | Hayneedle
Cambridge Carnival 20 Piece with Rack - 09620MP4DS
$19.99 | Hayneedle
Campania International Scroll Handle Tub Cast Stone Planter - P-294-AL
$514.99 | Hayneedle
Design House Ashland 5251 Double Handle Utility Faucet - 525139
$61.99 | Hayneedle
Toto Drake HDCP Toilet - CST744SL#01
$357.00 | Hayneedle
Butler Clayton Oval Coffee Table - Olive Ash Burl - 1234101
$419.00 | Hayneedle
Stellanova Illuminated 5 in. Physical Blue Ocean Tabletop Globe - SN891379
$30.00 | Hayneedle
Alpine Furniture Midtown Side Chairs - Espresso / Black - Set of 2 - 581-02B
$219.00 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™