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Stevia Doesn’t Cause Overeating and Reduces Blood Sugar Spike

Previous research has suggested that consuming low calorie foods can trigger hunger and subsequent overeating, because it prompts the brain to expect calories that do not arrive.

To see if this is really the case, researchers at the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida recently conducted a study that tested the effects of stevia, aspartame and sucrose on satiety and hunger as well as on blood glucose and insulin levels.

Their findings were published in the July 2010 issue of the journal Appetite.

Stevia is an all natural sugar substitute that is 300 times sweeter than sugar, making it a great low carb and low sugar additive. Aspartame is an artificial sugar substitute with 200 times the sweetness of sugar. Stevia and aspartame both have a taste that has a slower onset and longer duration than sugar.

For the study the researchers had 19 healthy lean adults and 12 obese adults between 18 and 50 years of age complete three separate food tests.

For each of the tests the participants were given a snack sweetened with either stevia (290kcal), asparatame (290kcal) or sucrose (493kcal) 20 minutes before lunch and dinner.

The researchers found that when participants consumed the lower calorie sugar substitutes they did not try to compensate for the fact that they were consuming fewer calories by eating more during their meal. There were no differences found in satiety and hunger levels.

In addition, when they consumed the stevia sweetened snack, participants experienced lower blood glucose and insulin levels than when they consumed the aspartame and sugar sweetened snacks.

These findings show that sugar substitutes will not cause overeating, and, in the case of stevia, may help with regulation of blood glucose levels.

While this study used stevia and aspartame, stevia should be the better sugar alternative to use because it is natural. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners may have undesirable side effects.

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