Breaking Free of Sugar Addiction — Should We Be Eating Stevia?

For every positive piece of information we can find about a product, we can typically find a negative piece of information to go along with it:  Butter is bad.  Butter is good.  We all need to drink milk.  We should all stay away from dairy products.  Eat only organics.  Organics don’t matter.  Eat brown rice.  Brown rice may be a source of toxic arsenic.

Pardon me while I go bang my head against the wall.  (Although I read once that doing so may not be good for my health.)

Because there is so much conflicting information out there, my conviction is to stick with eating a balanced variety of food that is food.  Food that has been around forever.  Food that provides needed nutrients to keep me healthy and strong.  Meat, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, whole dairy, eggs, nuts, beans…my body needs them all.

Breaking Free of Sugar Addiction

But then there’s sugar.

Should we be eating sugar?  And if so, in what form?  Artificial sweeteners are not real - which is, in fact, the reason they are called artificial - so we should not be putting them into our bodies.  White sugar is completely empty.  High fructose corn syrup is highly processed and toxic.  So instead, shouldn’t we stick with sugar in its whole form: honey, real maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar (sucanat)?

Yes, if you’re going to eat sugar, that’s my recommendation.  Those are real.  Our bodies recognize them and utilize them.  But here’s the bigger “thing,” along with my confession to you:

Sugar - in any form - whether it is all natural, whole, or straight out of a bee hive – is still sugar.  Our bodies handle these better than processed white sugar and high fructose corn syrup, for sure.  But don’t think that since you’re eating cake made from sucanat you can go ahead and eat half the cake.  You’ll still get sugar overload.

I know this.  I’ve lived this.

I’ve been addicted to sugar my whole life.  I hate to think how much sugar I’ve put into my body.  When people tell me, sheepishly, how much they love sugar and have a hard time giving it up, I so totally get it.  I’ve been right there with you, loving sugar, eating too much sugar, sneaking extra bites of sugar-filled goodies – all in the name of “I’m eating healthier treats so this can’t possibly be too terribly bad for me.”

My body has not been like, “Oh, thank goodness all this sugar you’re feeding me is in its natural form.”  No way.  Instead, my body has been like, “Mmmm, sugar.  Give me more.  Sorry you feel crummy and catch colds frequently.  Now about that sugar.  Weren’t you going to feed me more?  I’ll take it in chocolate form.  Or butterscotch.  Why are we even still having this conversation?  Give me sugar!”

Let’s Learn Moderation

Our bodies do need sugar to function properly.  Yay!  Bring on the cheesecake.

Hmmm, well actually, our bodies don’t need that much sugar.  Plus it prefers sugar from fruit, vegetables, and other carbs like potatoes and grains.  Cheesecake?  It’s an awesome and fun treat sometimes.  Enjoy!!!  But keep it a treat and keep it occasional.  You’ll enjoy it so much more this way.

Do you struggle with eating sugar in moderation?  Oh how I know how you feel.  Don’t feel guilt.  Don’t feel stupid.  Don’t give up and eat a quart of ice cream.  God knows what you need, what your struggles are, and what you desire.  He’ll help you break free from this.  Don’t make it a “thing.”  That will just make you worried and frustrated.  Let God help you with this one.  That’s the one and only way I know how to beat the addiction.

So What About Stevia?

Should We Be Eating Stevia

I’ve recently been experimenting with liquid stevia.  Stevia is an herb, which is naturally sweet.  It is not a sugar, nor is it an artificial sweetener.  It takes a teeny-tiny bit of stevia to provide just the right sweetness, compared to the amount of sugar/honey/maple syrup/sucanat it takes to provide sweetness.

Sounds great, right?  Yep, and I’ve been excited about using it as a way to cut down on sugar.

But guess what?  There’s controversy about stevia.  (Surprise, surprise.)  Is it really good for you?  Does eating it cause side effects?

I spent several hours recently doing more research on stevia.  I went to some of my most trusted sources.  I went to random sources I’ve never heard of.  I did internet searches.  I read article after article.  My findings?

Most say that stevia is safe and healthy.  Some people are allergic to stevia.  (Some people are allergic to cats.)  Highly refined stevia can cause digestive issues.  (As does most anything that is highly refined.)  Stevia in its whole form has not been approved for consumption by the FDA.  (Though they have approved pesticides, aspartame, and Captain Crunch as a part of this balanced breakfast.)

Then there are the forums I found that talk about stevia being used as birth control.  These claims caused me to spend considerable time researching.  I only found a few articles on this topic, and while it seemed that the authors had done their research, none of them were from sources I’ve heard of.  Based on what I read, I believe you would have to consume a LOT of stevia for it to effect your fertility.

My Conclusions About Stevia

I tend to stick with my trusted resources (Mercola, Fallon, Price) who tell me that stevia is an okay food when it is in its whole form.  Much of the other information I found was in forums or not backed by research.

Some countries have been consuming stevia for centuries.  Japan has been using it as a sweetener since the 1970′s.  According to Price, “In all this time, there have never been any reports of toxicity or adverse reactions to its usage.”  I found that article to be very helpful, especially given how many years of research and study went into Price’s findings.

Stevia should not be eaten in excess, because that is not the purpose of stevia.  Those who have been consuming stevia for years and years have not been gorging on it.  They use it as it should be used – in very small amounts.

After all my hours of research, I’ve concluded that I will keep eating it occasionally.  Stevia gives me a nice option as a sweetener when I want to avoid sugar.  I encourage you to do your own research and seek your own conviction.  You can certainly take stevia or leave it.  It’s not like we’re talking about vegetables, which are not an optional food choice for optimum health.  Stevia isn’t a health food that we all need in order to thrive, right?  It’s simply a real food sweetening option.

Here is What I Really Want You To Hear Me Saying Today:

Desserts, treats, and sweets?  Whether we’re adding table sugar, sucanat, honey, real maple syrup, or yep, even stevia – these should never be our main food focus.  I think we get all wrapped up in figuring out how to sweeten our drinks and desserts in a healthy way, when the bottom line is that we should not be eating or drinking many sweets anyway.  I’ll continue to use a tiny bit of stevia in my Chocolate Whipped Cream.  I’ll drizzle a few drops of real maple syrup on my Whole Wheat Waffles.  I’ll add a touch of honey or sucanat to my homemade muffins.  These are all real food, real good options as a part of my balanced, whole food diet.

But none of those foods are going to be my main food focus.  Desserts, no matter how I sweeten them, will remain a treat.  Fruits, vegetables, meats, good fats, eggs, whole dairy, nuts, beans, and a few whole grains will continue to be my focus – in balance and for wholesome nourishment.

Balance, Balance, Balance

That’s the key word, right?  Balance.  Try not to let all the contradictory information out there baffle our minds.  If we do, we’ll all just feel like banging our heads against the wall.  (Which is, if you recall, not a healthy option according to all the experts.)

Let’s continue to enjoy the gift of food variety, and focus on giving our bodies balanced nourishment.  Sound like a plan?

Where are you in your journey to cut down on sugar?  Have you tried and do you like stevia?

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Comments

  1. Twila says

    Your first paragraph is so true! The other day I was reading something that yet again was saying how a certain so and so vegetable can possibly do some harm. I’m on a very strict diet for health reasons, and am to avoid root vegetables, which I do, but then the cruciferous vegetables were given a bad rap. I throw my hands up and say “good grief, what is one to do?” The only thing safe is water, and even that isn’t really safe! As far as sugar goes, I feel the best thing for me is local, raw honey (in moderation) and I do use some maple syrup and stevia as well. I think each person has to find what they are comfortable with.

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  2. Katie says

    Your new office space must be invigorating; this post was *extra* you! I am a sugar addict and I try to quit once every few weeks. Thank you about your encouragement to not make it a “thing”. Give it to God. I will take you up on that. I have too many “things” that weigh me down already.

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  3. Lynne Bokelman says

    SO glad you addresses the frustration of “expert advice” changing. I also have been disillusioned and frustrated. In fact 6 months ago I changed all my cooking and baking ingredients (because of much I learned from your blog) and when I got blood tested this week I find out my cholesterol is way up. So I appreciate your advice to find your own convictions and eat balanced. I also struggle to keep sweets under control. I am suspecting that sugar may also cause high cholesterol??? I will keep searching for answers. Thank you for your blog. Lynne

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    Laura Reply:

    Sugar may definitely be causing it. But either way, don’t get too discouraged about those cholesterol numbers. It could be that your body is adapting to all the real food you’re feeding it. Here’s a book you may want to look into: https://secure.ttpurchase.com/906E7875-B525-C953-9B69A6B77F37521D :)

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    Carol Arnold Reply:

    Soluble fiber (found in oatmeal, apples, pectin) is the answer to lowering cholesterol levels. My husband and I keep our levels low with a teaspoon of natural psyllium fiber in juice each day. He lowered his cholesterol years ago by eating oatmeal muffins every day. Before getting their levels checked, my friend and her husband eat oatmeal with cinnamon for breakfast for a few days before the blood test. These things really work, but I would never recommend using statin drugs.
    P.S. Laura, it was sooo fun seeing your family with my kids and grandkids in the pictures from your trip to TN!

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    Alicia Sibley Reply:

    Hi Lynn, I was able to drop my cholesterol about 100 points in six months by taking 1/4 to 1/3 cup ground flaxseed every morning. I recommend mixing it with just a little water in a small dish or putting it in hot cereal. I grind golden flaxseed, which I purchase from Azure Standard. I use a coffee grinder and grind a one week supply which I keep in a jar in the cupboard.

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  4. Marissa anderson says

    I am learning slowly the delights of stevia. I’ve known about it for some time but at first glance it appears costly. Then I realized it is super duper concentrated!!!!! A tiny donk (THM term) goes a looooong way!!! I ordered my first from http://store.trimhealthymama.com/mobile/Product.aspx?id=37526. I’ve also found Swanson has a sweet leaf brand that’s great. I am little by little taking the processed white sugar out of our diet. Yeah!

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  5. Julie says

    Rats! You’re right–it’s the SWEET we have to get under control more than anything. I too have been on a strict diet all this year, for health reasons–no flour, no added sugars–real or chemical, no starches, whole fruits only, and all the meat and veggies I want. Aside from the mental cravings (memories!) of all the forbidden, I have “suffered” such “horrible” effects as losing about 15# I’d been wanting to get rid of, feeling great, and having energy, and sleeping like a log every night. So, it’s definitely been worth it. I have avoided all “contraband” up to now, but confess it has been with a lot of jesting/whining mixed in with willpower and prayer. Thank you for being a true friend, pointing me back to God for the help I need. (BTW, I use powdered Stevia–not a Stevia blend but the pure leaf extract–and it’s a little different type of sweetness, but works great for sweetening coffee. Mostly I use dates to provide sweetness to cooked foods, such as spaghetti sauce.)

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  6. Allison says

    We live in a place where baklava drenched in syrup is a common celebration dessert and Turkish delight, sweeter than baklava, is offered for wedding engagement. I was wondering why people do not struggle with weight issues or sugar addiction. The biggest reason that I have come up with is: sugar for them is for special occasions breakfast is savory, lunch is savory and dinner too. Fruit and veggies are available, inexpensive, bought is large quantities and eaten. There is not the stigma of having to eat veggies because they are part of life. There is no sugar in the bread, meat, sauces etc. Sweetness comes from onions, carrots, or fresh tomatoes. Unfortunately, potato chips and other junk has crept in over the years. My hope is that they do not become sugar addicts too. When we visit the US we realize how much this kind of eating have changed our palates. Sometimes I think that since there is sugar in so many things Americans are immune to natural sweetness and have to add sugar to salads and fruit to enjoy them. Sorry if I seemed overly judgmental. I am not anti-sugar. I am the church expert at cake, cookies, bars etc. The biggest difference is that I have not met an Albanian who given a treat does not look around for someone to share it with.

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    Ashley Reply:

    This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing! I love the idea of treats being to share with others – not just for our personal indulgence…

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  7. Alicia says

    I recently discovered a great way to sweeten whipped cream. I pour raw cream into the blender with a ripe banana and whip it up. The banana adds just the right amount of sweetness and is absolutely delicious!

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  8. says

    Dear Laura,

    I’ve been a long-time reader but don’t think I’ve ever commented! :) Maybe once perhaps… Anyway, hi there! Your blog has been a real encouragement to me. Over the last several years (but especially this past year), I’ve been researching nutrition for myself and my family. Anyway, what prompted me to comment was just a few clicks ago, I was reading an article on stevia by a nutritionist I highly respect from my old home state and then I clicked over here and saw your post topic. Anyway, this nutritionist, Karen Hurd, has a wealth of information right on her website. Well….just wanted to send you the link since you were researching it. Perhaps you already stumbled onto her website in your own research!

    For what it’s worth, here’s the link:
    http://www.karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/currenthealthtrends/ht-cht-stevia.html

    Great post, btw! I agree with your sentiments whole-heartedly. My pursuit of better nutrition has been a somewhat frustrating journey, in terms of the conflicting information available. So many claims…so many contradictions and passionate/confident ones at that on both sides of many issues! {Just a side note but wanted to share – As a result of all the confusing information presented, this past year of research on health and nutrition truly grew my appreciation for the Word of God. :) I’m so grateful God’s Word never changes – it’s true and correct and unchanging. Pondering verses such as Psalm 37:3 and Matthew 6:30-33 helped me during times of frustration!} :)

    Anywho….just stopping by to thank you for your blog and your encouragement through it.

    Blessings to you,
    Katie

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  9. sally mcquaid says

    Thank you for this post. It was just when I needed it. My family started a sugar fast for all of July. I am allowing very small amounts of honey and maple syrup. I was amazed after only one day I was only one craving (crazily searching our house) for something sweet that feel in my rules. After eating half a pan of homemade granola bars, I realized its not just what kind of sugar but the quantity my body was addicted to. This month will truly be a battle as I start resetting my bodies need for sweet.

    I was very curious bout stevia. We had grown a plant before and used it and I have read all your website and all the recipes you’ve posted lately using it. It was one of the things I was going to research more extensively during our fast. Thanks for doing all the work for me.

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  10. abbie says

    I love the idea of stevia, I’m even growing it. But it gives me a headache\migraine. The only store bought one that doesn’t is truvia. I haven’t tried the liquid yet and I haven’t tried the fresh that I am growing. My sister also reacts to stevia this way.

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  11. Tracie says

    Thank you for this post! Even though I kicked my sugar addiction over a year ago, I DO still struggle with craving treats. It is something that I just have to continue to pray about and trust God to give me the strength to overcome. I know that might sound silly to some, but having a family history of diabetes and heart disease has made my health a priority once I hit 35!
    I tried stevia and found that it upsets my stomach, otherwise I would probably use it more often. But, then again, having ANYTHING sweet amps up those cravings. I have found that, for me, sticking to fruit, maple syrup, and honey are the best sources of sugar, when I do feel like I *need* something sweet. And, if you haven’t had refined sugar in awhile, a berry smoothie sweetened with banana and freshly squeezed OJ tastes AMAZING!!!!

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  12. Susan says

    Research on health and eating is endless, no? Because of my autoimmune condition, I’ve done an enormous amount of research, and my diet has changed drastically in the last 1.5 years, in an attempt to bring healing and reduction of symptoms. I’ve found that inflammation is a key word. Keeping inflammation down is key for anyone’s health, but it’s especially true for those with autoimmune issues. Certain foods have a tendency to trigger inflammation in sensitive individuals: nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.), dairy, processed vegetable fats/oils (canola, corn, safflower, etc.), nuts, grains (including wheat), chocolate (say it isn’t true!), caffeine, etc. So, I may find that I personally cannot eat certain foods (vegetables, even) because they trigger a reaction in me, but someone else could eat them and be fine. Some of the effects are cumulative – small amounts adding up over time overload the system. We might not immediately see negative results, but eventually will – or else will just have a general lack of vibrant health.

    Each of us must do our own digging and experimenting to find what really helps us on our journey to health, and what hinders. BUT, the one thing that applies to all – Sugar should definitely be limited!

    Thanks, Laura. You crack me up, and make me think.

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  13. Deborah says

    I am in the process of getting off of sugar. I have finally cut it out of my coffee. I am still struggling with not eating chocolate. I am a chocoholic!!!!! I have to have something sweet after a meal. I am really doing better though. I get migraines and feel bad when I eat too much chocolate. It is something I definitely need to delete from my diet. I have not tried Stevia yet.

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    R Reply:

    I don’t know if your migraines are because of chocolate or the other ingredients, but I’ve found that the type of chocolate makes a huge difference for me. The more refined or processed something sweet is, the worse my head quickly feels. I can’t eat conventional candy bars anymore, though I could on occasion when I was in college. Now, because I do really like chocolate, I go for natural dark chocolate bars, sometimes but not necessarily organic: no PGPR, BHT, and the rest of the alphabet where we don’t want to see it. A little bit of it goes a long way in satisfying a craving, but I still pick the ones with less sugar than others. If you have a Trader Joe’s near, they have boxes of 100 cal. individually wrapped dark chocolate bars that have only 5.5 g of sugar in each. I’d get rid of the soy in them if I could, though.

    By the way, Laura, thank you for your humor, insight, balanced perspective, and above all, heart shaped by God.

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    Deborah Reply:

    Thanks for the notes. I will try that. Anything is better than suffering with a migraine or waking up every morning with a headache.

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  14. Shelley says

    Thanks for the great article. I grew up eating lots of sugary treats as a kid, so I do have a lot of sugar cravings still. I agree that we should eat it for an occasional treat only, but it’s very hard. They say it’s more addictive than cocaine. I was in the grocery store yesterday and felt like crying. The organic produce was either too expensive, not available or wilted and my garden is not producing anything much yet. The rest of the store felt to me like nothing but junk food. Eating food should not be this hard. I bet people 100 years ago didn’t stress over their food like we do now.

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    Laura Reply:

    I’ve gotten to where I don’t hesitate at all to buy non-organic produce if it means we’re actually getting fruits and veggies. Our choices for organic produce in my town are very limited, so we would hardly ever eat fresh fruits and veggies if I went with only the organics available.

    You’re so right, 100 years ago people just ate food…they worked hard and ate food. How great it would be for us all to get back to that mind set. Take heart! Don’t stress at the store – purchase real food (organic or not) and let it nourish you. :)

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  15. Karen Dee says

    I have used Stevia for years in everything I need to have a little sweetness in. Don’t know how much to use to bake with it, but, I live alone and try not to bake for myself because once I start on sweets, I eat the whole thing! :( Thanks for not saying anything really bad about Stevia. I would be heartbroken.
    Alecia, I am sure going to try the banana/whipped cream recipe. That sounds wonderful!

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  16. Erin says

    I switched to stevia a year ago. And I was amazed that most of my cravings left along with it. I now forget about eating at times until true hunger hits and I realize that I forgot to eat lunch :) Before that, I was planning my next snack before the meal was over and snacked my way through the day. And now, I taste the natural sweetness in things that I never noticed like Squash!!! Who knew it could taste good? Love it now. And I also look for hidden sugars in anything that I buy which is very little. No more spaghetti sauce in a jar. I make a huge batch in the crockpot and have it on hand for fast food. I still use some honey and sucanat for my kids but they are realllly limited on sugary snacks.

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    Emily Reply:

    I have been looking for a good crock pot spaghetti sauce recipe. Would you mind sharing?

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    Erin Reply:

    Sure thing! I am not known for exact measurements :) I rarely measure and just eyeball it. This is forgiving.

    I just throw all the following into a crockpot sprayed with nonstick spray: 2 chopped onions, 2 small cans mushrooms or the equivalent of fresh mushrooms, 3 t minced garlic? I add way more I’m sure, 1 can 28 oz diced tomatoes(or equivalent of canned garden tomatoes, 2-15 oz cans of tomato sauce, 1 small can 6 oz tomato paste, 1 1/2 T Italian seasoning, 1/3 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, 1/2 t of crushed red pepper flakes. Cook on low for 8 or so hours. I will prop the lid with a wooden spoon at the end to reduce somewhat. I also often add a good sprinkling of garlic powder and/or onion powder if I think it needs a little something extra. If not sweet enough then I add in another tomato paste. This is for one batch but I double or triple depending on the crockpot size and make enough to freeze. Then I use this like Preggo.

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    Emily Reply:

    That sounds great! Thank you!

    Kristin Reply:

    FYI one should NEVER eat canned mushrooms, aside from the BPA lined cans and added sodium and/or sugar, the FDA allows a certain amount of maggots (18-20?) as well as mites in each can. Yuck! I stick to buying fresh mushrooms from the farmers market or grocery store(in winter).

  17. HollymMead says

    Thank you for writing on this topic. I switched from sugar to stevia four years ago (both liquid and powdered form), ignoring any negatives I’d come across regarding it (Food Renegade has had some negative comments in the blog about the high processing of stevia and Jenny at Nourished Kithen recently had a nicely sourced blog post about why she does not use stevia). Here’s my experience: I BECAME AS ADDICTED TO STEVIA AS I EVER WAS TO SUGAR. I started out needeing just a tiny little half scoop of powdered stevia in a cup of tea in the beginning to using three heaping scoops to get the same sweet sensation. I began having hideous digestive and skin issues when consuming stevia, so I cut it out and I had desperate cravings (though my health issues resolved). I did an experiment to see how much sweetener I needed in a cup (well, huge stein really) of morning tea. I used honey, maple syrup, sucanat, organic white sugar and coconut sugar. My results? NONE of them even got close. I had 11 teaspoons of white sugar in a cup of tea and it still wasn’t “sweet enough.” 1/4 cup honey wasn’t cutting it. I stopped the experiment. Stevia changed my taste buds to crave a level of sweetness that cannot be achieved with any other sweetener and now I think all other sweeteners taste “funky” and “not purely sweet” like stevia. When I thought about it, I realized that any non-caloric sweetener (be it asparteme, or stevia) triggers the hormonal system to expect the calories of a sugar and it prepares to metabolize it. . .and it never comes. That can’t be “healthy” (especially habitually, or in excess, like I was using stevia). Since quitting stevia, I have been so desperately addicted to sugar. . .worse than I ever was before starting stevia. My body has acclimated to wanting sweet constantly. I feel mopey because I just cannot achieve the comforting sweetness I used to enjoy in my morning cups of tea. . .it was my comfort food. As you cautioned against, I DID indulge in more sweet treats because they were “good” since they were stevia sweetened and now I still crave lots of sweeties! Because I built up a tolerance for stevia (by the time I went “cold turkey” I probably used 1/2 teaspoon of the powder per day) and used it in amounts that caused bad reactions, I know I cannot go back to using it. I don’t know of anyone else who has had this experience with stevia, but I doubt I am alone. I appreciate your call for moderation and a non-hyped-up treatment of the topic.

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    Laura Reply:

    Great insights – thank you for sharing your experience!

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  18. Betty Stewart says

    We have used Stevia for about 20 years with no side effects as far as I know. We use the KAL brand. You can get it half price online at www. vitanetonline.com. It is pure Stevia. Others at the grocery store are not i.e. Truvia and don’t taste as good as KAL. It is powder. My husband is Hypoglycemic so we can’t use honey or maple syrup. Agave doesn’t agree with him. The only thing I have noticed lately about the KAL brand is that now it is made in China which I don’t trust. I am looking for another good brand that isn’t made in China.

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  19. Micah says

    Hello, my name is Micah, and I’m addicted to sugar. Pregnant with baby #7 I really have been more careful with what I’m eating, mostly due to nausea, except when it comes to sugar. My husband likes to give me sweet treats (i.e. chocolate junk from walmart!) because he knows I enjoy the taste. I’m always reminding him that just because it tastes good doesn’t mean it’s good for me! I’d love to move away from sweet grains for breakfast. We typically have eggs to go with muffins, toast, etc. but we need vegetables!! It’s challenging sometimes to get as many veggies as I’d like into each day.

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  20. Steph J says

    This is timely. I’m on day 16 of my “21 day sugar detox.” It’s the only time I’ve ever put myself on a restrictive diet in my life–I’m very suspicious of them, in general :) The “detox” cuts out sugar in any form (even honey, maple syrup, etc.) and also restricts foods that taste sweet (all fruits except green-tipped bananas and green apples) including sweeteners like stevia. That last part was the reason I almost didn’t do it–how healthy can the diet be if it cuts out fruit?–but I was so interested in how sugar affects me that I tried it. The idea being, of course, that we habituate ourselves to need increasingly sweet food, but if we back off, foods will start tasting sweeter to us.

    I think that my diet was similar to yours before–I’ve tried over the last few years to reduce the overall sugar in my baking and by limiting processed foods, I avoid a lot of those sugars. I don’t feel dramatically better without sugar. Although I was looking forward to the incredible energy people described when they stopped eating sugar (and grains, which are also limited), I keep telling myself that this really is the best case scenario–that my former diet was reasonable for me! I did lose weight, but that’s mostly because all of my easy to reach for foods were restricted, so I end up just waiting for the next meal (probably not a bad thing!).

    I have never used stevia. My mother-in-law used it, and it did give a bitter aftertaste, so I’ve always avoided it. Maybe she was using too much, as you said.

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  21. D'Ann Martin says

    I got the nunaturals liquid stevia to check out your choc whipped cream recipe, and I’ve been so pleased! I played with it this weekend making freezer jam. I was actually able to use only 1/2 cup of sugar per batch with 1 and 1/2 tsp liquid stevia. I think too much stevia tastes funky, so to me it’s about using as little as possible to make food taste palatable for my family. Just 5 drops in my morning smoothie takes the edge off the bitter tastes of the greens I add. Just waiting for my endless supply of sugar to run out so I can try sucanet. Only a few cups left;) Great article!

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  22. Fletcher says

    I like your post, Laura. I use Stevia in my morning coffee and some people probably think I use too much (my kids), but it lets me have sweetened coffee without the sugar/sweetener side effects.

    I also use a stevia/cane sugar mix for baking. It’s 1/3 of a cup for each cup of sugar (I’m terrible at writing in ratios!) Great stuff and it makes yummy cookies..

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  23. Karen says

    Thank you for your research! I’ve been wanting to do the same myself so am so thankful for the conclusions you’ve drawn on Stevia.

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  24. Ann Marie says

    I haven’t tried stevia and I’m not 100% sure I want to (but articles like this are very helpful in rounding out my information gathering and coming to a decision). I am a sugar addict but I have found ways to cut back. Dr. Pepper is my drug of choice but I’ve finally been successful in quitting soda pop by replacing it with soda water and lime. I also found several of my treat recipes are unaffected by reducing the sugar (for example our favorite zucchini bread calls for 1 cup of sugar but I’ve been making it with 1/2 a cup and no one has noticed!) Little steps to reduce the sugar I use and our taste buds are slowing acclimating.

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  25. says

    This post is so timely. I love when God uses other people to speak right to our heart and our struggle.

    Long story short, I just started the Whole30 as a way to eliminate inflammatory foods from my diet. I’ve been having issues with inflammation and joint pain, which is why I’m doing the Whole30. What I didn’t realize though, was how seriously addicted I am to SUGAR. I’m talking total resistance to giving it up for these 30-days, and actually fighting God’s prompting to give my sugar idol to him. Just yesterday, I was visiting with a friend who didn’t know of my food issues, and she shared some verses with me regarding an area of bondage she was finding herself in….and wouldn’t you know it, those verses went right to my heart and spoke right to my struggle. Then today there’s your post on SUGAR, of all things!

    God is so kind and good to use his people to minister to each other! Thanks for sharing this!

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  26. Jerri mayfield says

    We love sweet tea in our home but hate the sugar. We have replaced the sugar with stevia and no one could tell the difference. I need to experiment in some other dishes too!

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  27. says

    What a great post. It was very thoughtfully done- thank you for sharing your thoughts on sweeteners and sugars. And I love how you really encourage your readers to think for themselves and find what works- because each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made to be unique.

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  28. says

    Very well stated, and I couldn’t agree more! I can’t tell you how many times I have made myself sick researching things trying to make my family as healthy as possible with our food. It seems impossible. I have come to the conclusion, like you, that I will feed my family as much real food as possible, and trust God with the rest. I recently wrote a post about this, if you’re interested. http://wp.me/p4viGJ-26 Another aspect that makes this even more complicated is one’s finances. For instance, I know raw milk is the best choice, but our budget only allows for powdered milk. I can’t cry over my milk, but I can pray about our health and feed my family lots of fruits and veggies. We, too, try to choose the healthier sweeteners and eat desserts sparingly. Stevia isn’t an option for me, at the moment, because of the cost. I do think that it is the safer of the alternatives. Great post!

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  29. Angie says

    Thank you for your post, Laura! I am actually encouraged looking at all the comments and seeing that I’m not alone in the sugar-addiction battle! I have been using stevia for about a year. I started by reading Trim Healthy Mama. It’s a great book filled with lots of information and good recipes. I am now reading Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. I’m really trying what you said in your blog – give it to God. I want to crave my Heavenly Father, not all the treats in my pantry or at the checkout counter at the grocery store. Thank you for encouraging your readers! You are truly a blessing to me!

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  30. says

    :-( I wish I could like stevia!! To me it tastes like aspartame or some other fake sugar and I want to gag! I’m currently trying to get through a tube of toothpaste that has stevia in it. It came with an essential oils kit, the taste of the stevia in it once made me so disgusted I had to lean over the toilet I thought I was that close to throwing up …. So, no stevia in my whipped cream is what I’m getting at here…

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    Laura Reply:

    Girl, we’ve got to get you some of the good stuff! Some of it really is gross. NuNaturals (and others, though I haven’t branched out much) is really good. BUT if I use too much, it’s yucky like aspartame. I promise you would like my whipped cream. I had like a bucket of it on my strawberries after we went swimming today. :)

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  31. says

    I’m right there with you on the sugar addiction. My naturopath actually diagnosed me with insulin resistance, meaning that my body has been unable to use the sugar already in my system. So, I’ve drastically cut my sugar (and grain) consumption and have been seeing significant improvements (I lost 20 pounds in three months!). I have also found that my sugar cravings have decreased. As long as I stay away from it, I do pretty well.

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