Stevia is an alternative to sugar. It's an herbal supplement with active ingredients of stevioside and rebaudioside A. Although it's between 200 and 300 times sweeter than sugar, it does not contain any calories. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted stevia a generally recognised as safe status (GRAS), according to Natural-Remedies-Review.com. Despite its status, health dangers are associated with stevia in the raw.
Causes Infertility In Males
A study of stevia performed on animals found that using stevia caused a reduction in sperm production and decreased testis weight in rats, states Natural-Remedies-Review.com. Yet the website also states that subsequent studies do not yield the same results. Furthermore, the 1968 study was allegedly flawed, as rats were given doses of 10 millilitres in a 20 minute time period--a much higher dose than humans normally would use, states Stevia Info. Contact your doctor to seek clarification on this issue.
Harms Pregnant Women and Children
A two-year study on pregnant rats and a six-month study on pregnant hamsters using stevia determined that it did not harm the animal's offspring. Even when the dose of raw stevia was increased to 80 times the usual dose as a sweetener, the offspring were unaffected. Only when the dose was increased to 240 times more than human recommend consumption levels (equivalent to FDA recommended daily sugar intake of no more than 40 grams per day for an adult) were animal offspring impacted. At this high-level, stevia was toxic, and it decreased the total number of offspring and reduced their weight at birth. However, no studies have been conducted on pregnant humans as of 2010. For this reason, pregnant women should refrain from using the supplement.
Produces an Allergic Reaction
You can suffer an allergic reaction from digesting raw stevia. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, numbness, headaches and muscle pain--common side effects also associated with stevia. Stop taking stevia if you experience any of these symptoms. If you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums and daisies avoid stevia.
Causes Blood Sugar to Fluctuate
Your blood sugar can drop from using stevia when consumed in large quantities. Consult your physician if you suffer from diabetes in advance of taking stevia. Check your blood sugar levels before and after consuming stevia, and stop using the supplement if your sugar levels drop.
Alters Blood Pressure
Clinical trials found that it caused blood pressure to drop in some people in the test group, according to Natural-Remedies-Review.com. If you suffer from hypertension, check with your physician before using stevia as a sugar-substitute. Take your blood pressure frequently when using the sweetener and immediately discontinue its use if changes occur.