“I have stopped drinking diet soda and coffee for several months now by replacing it with drinking a lot of herbal tea with Stevia. The good news is I am completely off all artificial substances and have not touched diet soda or coffee (nor do I want to go back!) I thought the Stevia consumption would go down over time, but it's been several months, and I am still using just as much as I did when I went off the diet soda. I can go through about a 60ml bottle every 2 weeks. Is this too much? What are the dangers of over-consumption of Stevia?”
ANSWER: Just to clarify for our readers who might not know what stevia is: stevia is a plant bearing green leaves that have the particularity of tasting very sweet, without containing any sugar. I’ve had the occasion to try fresh stevia leaves and they certainly can be a nice addition to salads, smoothies, and fun to eat plain too.
Stevia extract, on the other hand, is a refined product that comes in two forms: One is a green powder that is made basically from the dried leaves of the stevia plants, another extract is even more refined and is sold as a white powder. Stevia extract is also sold in the form of a clear liquid.
All of the stevia products mentioned taste extremely sweet; yet do not contain any sugar. They are certainly much less harmful and more natural than the other artificial, no-calorie sweeteners such as splenda and aspartame, whose negative health impact has been demonstrated several times.
That being said, I do not know what the dangers of consuming stevia extract or powder might be. I certainly think that there is always a potential danger in consuming a refined product on a regular basis. Let’s not fool ourselves here: stevia extract is an *extremely* refined product.
If the consumption of stevia can help you get rid of the soda habit, it certainly can be a good thing, just like drinking a decaffeinated coffee can be a good thing to help you get rid of the coffee habit. But eventually, that crutch has to be left behind.
Personally, I have a method for getting rid of any sugar addiction that never fails. My method acknowledges the fact that human have a natural sweet tooth for a reason: we are meant, actually designed, like other primates, to consume natural sugar in the form of fresh fruit. Any refined sugar is going to pose serious health threats, but not the natural sugar in fruit that we are meant to eat.
My recommendation is to start eating more fresh fruit. Once you eat enough fresh fruit (which by the way, is probably a lot more than you can imagine right now), it is impossible to crave any concentrated sweets, including:
- Dried fruit
- Even bread and other cooked grains.
I encourage you to leave that stevia habit behind. If you want to eat stevia, grow the plant! They actually make nice indoor plants. To get rid of your sugar cravings forever, start eating more fruit and less refined carbohydrates. For more information on the subject, please check out my book, “The Raw Secrets
”, as well as my course, “How to End Confusion About Nutrition