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stevia addiction and weight loss

by (455)
Updated about 1 hour ago
Created July 31, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I mostly do not consume sugars/fruits now, but when I want something sweet I still use a bit of stevia. But, there hasn't been much research on the long-term effects of stevia, and also any 'sweet' tastes have been shown to induce some insulin responses, which could probably affect weight loss. As an example, I could probably ween myself off stevia if instead of a lower calorie coconut smoothie with stevia, I had a higher-calorie portion of macadamia nuts--which would be a better option for weight loss? Has anyone noticed a change in weight or health by decreasing the amount you use? Thanks!

EDIT: a lot of people have been recommending raw stevia (I've been using mainly stevia glycerite or sweetleaf droppers). Where do you get your raw stevia?

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226 · July 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Me too - after reading your posting it made me realize that I am the exact same way! Best for me will be to cut out the stevia completely and the 5-7 cups of herbal tea that I am constantly craving throughout the day! :) Thanks for sharing that.

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3280 · April 04, 2012 at 6:50 PM

I have the same experience, Kay!

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13993 · August 01, 2011 at 12:34 AM

@ ben - Never have listened to the podcast. But yeah, grain of salt is right. I love the research about hormones and lowering carb intake; but I don't particularly agree the dietary recommendations.

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4181 · July 31, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Ahh Sorry gilliebean - it's kind of a long write-up and I didn't want to take up too much space, I'll keep that in mind in the future though.

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455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:19 PM

interesting idea, thanks

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2
455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:18 PM

ok, thanks for the feedback, looks like most people are ok with raw stevia

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455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:17 PM

raw stevia, as in the leaves themselves or the green powder?

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455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:16 PM

hmm ok..may give that a try. is it the greenish powder? I've been using stevia glycerite/sweetleaf droppers, the ingredients didn't look too too bad...

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15966 · July 31, 2011 at 9:16 PM

ever hear his podcast? Heavy on his supplement pushing but not the worst thing to listen to while walking the dog. grain of salt and all.

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13993 · July 31, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Heather, it'd be great to quote (copy-paste) relevant information from the original post when answering questions like this. Sometimes links change or servers go down; so it's good to include actual information in our answers on PaleoHacks.

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410 · July 31, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Oh I know there has been research done but no hard evidence. Most of the chemical names in them I can pronounce so that is incentive enough for me to stay away from them.

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1020 · July 31, 2011 at 3:01 PM

There is indeed research to suggest that sweeteners are insulinogenic be the pathway psychological or physiological. Whether it's "Proof"? That remains to be seen in the light of much-needed further research.

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4181 · July 31, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I think your assumptions about the effects of stevia might be incorrect, see Mark Sisson's write-up about it.

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15966 · July 31, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Sounds harsh but I think the key to issues like this is to stop eating sweet-tasting things. All other things being equal (although in a body they never really are), yes the fact that stevia has no actual calories would lead to less intake of energy and so a probable reduction in bodyweight. However, if you step back and really think about the whole picture, if you, instead of replacing one sweet-taste with another, stop eating things that taste sweet then have you not removed the real cause of this whole thing?

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34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc
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4181 · July 31, 2011 at 1:57 PM
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc
4181 · July 31, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Ahh Sorry gilliebean - it's kind of a long write-up and I didn't want to take up too much space, I'll keep that in mind in the future though.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208
13993 · July 31, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Heather, it'd be great to quote (copy-paste) relevant information from the original post when answering questions like this. Sometimes links change or servers go down; so it's good to include actual information in our answers on PaleoHacks.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
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25467 · July 31, 2011 at 12:05 PM

I use stevia and have noticed no side effects. It is raw stevia with no additives

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2
455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:16 PM

hmm ok..may give that a try. is it the greenish powder? I've been using stevia glycerite/sweetleaf droppers, the ingredients didn't look too too bad...

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5132 · July 31, 2011 at 11:43 PM

I tend to think that tales of weight gain from artificial sweeteners are psychosomatic. In other words: you could be imagining things. I've used probably every brand of sugar substitutes out there: aspartame, stevia, splenda (sucralose), sweet'n' low, truvia, equal, lo han, xylitol, erythritol, etc.

Many different versions of them: as liquid or in in powder from, including bulking agents like sugar or maltodextrin.

Sum total of my experience: some of them will raise your BG somewhat (but not greatly) and yes, overreliance on powder sugar substitutes can somewhat increase your BMI, because of the maltodextrin. However, most natural sugar subs with zero glycemic loads (stevia, liquid splenda, etc.) will not have that effect. In fact, stevia is slightly hypogylcemic. You might think you're gaining weight. But that's because of something else in your diet and metabolism, not because you haven't eliminated sugar substitutes.

Those with normal metabolism do not gain weight using Splenda or Stevia. The same is largely true with Aspartame, used in diet sodas and sugar-free jellos.

The Pavlovian explanation that eating something sweet (whether or not it's actually glycemic) will secrete insulin, and result in weight gain doesn't hold true for most people. At least for those whose metabolism isn't deranged. Dr. Bernstein tells stories of his patients relying on sugar substitutes with no weight problems -- and these are people with prior weight problems. Frank Hu also presented a metastudy which exonerated diet sodas from causing obesity.

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410 · July 31, 2011 at 2:11 PM

There is no proof of psychological insulin release with any sugar alternatives. We don't want chemical alternatives obviously but raw stevia, which for me is hard to find and expensive where I live is perfectly "paleo'. The Japanese have been using it without side effects for a couple hundred years. There isn't much western research on it but its safe. Enjoy in moderation.

B5cc60ce970d2efed2de1f01c3b33e86
410 · July 31, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Oh I know there has been research done but no hard evidence. Most of the chemical names in them I can pronounce so that is incentive enough for me to stay away from them.

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564
1020 · July 31, 2011 at 3:01 PM

There is indeed research to suggest that sweeteners are insulinogenic be the pathway psychological or physiological. Whether it's "Proof"? That remains to be seen in the light of much-needed further research.

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564
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1020 · July 31, 2011 at 2:04 PM

The only thing I'd wonder about is the psychological aspect of insulin release. If the brain senses that any caloric intake is about to enter the body, it secretes a bit of insulin as a primer to using the expected glucose spike. But with stevia, there's no glucose entering the bloodstream, and thus similar to other sweeteners, there's a secretion of insulin with no fuel to use. This confuses things. Some research shows just looking at food cause the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin in to the blood stream. How much of an issue is this? Nobody knows. There really needs to be more research on the subject.

But I do, on occasion, use stevia in my coffee, however I put a very small amount of it in.

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179 · July 31, 2011 at 1:09 PM

I have also used raw stevia and have no adverse side affects. I only use it in my green tea drinks and have found no cravings stemming from the use.

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455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:17 PM

raw stevia, as in the leaves themselves or the green powder?

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20 · April 04, 2012 at 5:43 PM

My concern is that stevia feeds my old sugar addiction via the dopamine receptors in the brain. I crave the sweet taste all day long and find I am continuously sipping on stevia sweetened liquids. If I do not have any access to stevia, I really feel the need for something else sweet. Out of desperation I have occasionally resorted to sugar. I think that the addiction is from the tongue to the brain and it is for all sweet tastes --even stevia. What do you think? Am I addicted to stevia or just to all sweet tastes?

(please respond to me via an email at : kmillerjjj@comcast.net Thank you.

75bf87379aa119821e3f6f4115f1145a
226 · July 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Me too - after reading your posting it made me realize that I am the exact same way! Best for me will be to cut out the stevia completely and the 5-7 cups of herbal tea that I am constantly craving throughout the day! :) Thanks for sharing that.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc
3280 · April 04, 2012 at 6:50 PM

I have the same experience, Kay!

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13993 · July 31, 2011 at 7:01 PM

An insulin response is not a bad thing. Chronically high insulin is a bad thing.

For weight loss, you shouldn't worry so much about whether you're having one tree-nut product or another and with a minimal amount of stevia. You should worry if you're having one smoothie after another after another without giving your body a chance to process the first one. In other words, don't snack on macadamia nuts or smoothies.

Also, I have a theory that the alleged extra insulin released from the "sweet taste" (if it actually does occur) could possibly be helpful in clearing the blood faster.

Read: Mastering Leptin.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208
13993 · August 01, 2011 at 12:34 AM

@ ben - Never have listened to the podcast. But yeah, grain of salt is right. I love the research about hormones and lowering carb intake; but I don't particularly agree the dietary recommendations.

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2
455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:19 PM

interesting idea, thanks

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15966 · July 31, 2011 at 9:16 PM

ever hear his podcast? Heavy on his supplement pushing but not the worst thing to listen to while walking the dog. grain of salt and all.

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318 · July 31, 2011 at 1:12 PM

I don't think raw powdered stevia presents any hidden dangers in the form of insulin spikes.. I use it and can't tolerate any real sugar, or even starches

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455 · July 31, 2011 at 9:18 PM

ok, thanks for the feedback, looks like most people are ok with raw stevia

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3280 · April 04, 2012 at 6:50 PM

I've had an increase in weight from use the two time periods I've used it, and lost weight when I cut it.

Both times I added stevia to my diet, I found that re-adjusting my taste buds to sweet things made it FAR EASIER for me to stray into doughnut and cake territory. It completely rekindled my desire for sweets, which I had lost long ago by just not eating anything sweet aside from fruit.

I don't know if it directly impacts how my body stores calories, but I know for certain that it weakens my resolve...when I'm somewhere that I can't get a stevia-sweetened item and I'm craving sweet, I'm more likely to grab some M&M's or cookies "just this once." Of course it's never just this once! If I had iron will it might not be an issue, but I don't.

Just my experience; YMMV. My sister swears by it and maintains her weight loss.

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