STEVIA

Kat Hoyle Updated by Kat Hoyle

Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to South America. For centuries stevia has been traditionally used as a sweetener and even a herbal medicine, and in more recent years it has begun to gain popularity in the Western world.

Unlike many other sweeteners, stevia is zero-calorie and doesn't raise blood sugar levels, making it a popular choice among people trying to reduce their sugar intake, lose weight, or manage diabetes. Stevia is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount is needed to sweeten foods and beverages.

Studies have shown that stevia can assist in weight management. In a 2010 study by Anton et al., participants who consumed stevia felt satisfied with fewer calories and did not compensate by eating more food. This supports the idea that stevia can help with weight management, unlike other sweeteners that may stimulate increased food intake.

Furthermore, stevia shows potential health benefits beyond its role as a sugar substitute. A 2016 study by Philippaert et al. demonstrated that stevia stimulates a protein essential for our taste perception and is involved in insulin release after a meal. These findings suggest that stevia could help regulate blood glucose levels, offering an advantage for people with diabetes.

Stevia also doesn’t appear to cause any negative impact to our gut bacteria.

Stevia has been the subject of over 30 years of safety testing throughout the EU, North America and Australia. This makes it one of the most extensively studied sweeteners on the market. Not one researcher has been able to find credible evidence that shows adverse health effects of stevia consumption in humans.

According to the 2008 research by the World Health Organisation stevia causes no side effects when consumed at levels below 4mg per kg of bodyweight (Evaluation of Certain Food Additives : sixty-ninth report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. (WHO technical report series ; no. 952)). If you weighed 75KG, you would have to consume 300mg of stevia daily to be above the upper limit. To put that number into perspective it is about the equivalent of 28 of our protein shakes. Following this research, in 2010, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that steviol glycosides (the natural chemical compounds responsible for the sweet taste) are neither genotoxic nor carcinogenic.

Stevia has passed numerous safety tests in the EU and has been assigned an E number showing it is authorised for use as a food additive. Don't be alarmed by the word 'additive', The European Union legislation defines additives as "any substance not normally consumed as a food in itself and not normally used as a characteristic ingredient of food, whether or not it has nutritive value". Many natural whole foods contain naturally occurring substances which are authorised as additives. Apples are full of 'E numbers' - E 101, E 160a, E 163, E 260, E 300,E 330, E 334, E 363, E 620 and E 920. Stevia extract has been assigned two E-numbers: E 960a for steviol glycosides from stevia, and E 960c for enzymatically produced steviol glycosides. The stevia we use in our products is E 960a - steviol glycosides from Stevia. It is extracted from the stevia leaves then spray dried into a powder.

Considering the potential health benefits and its natural, zero-calorie sweetness, stevia is a popular choice for many individuals. That's why it is the sweetener used in most of our products, including Vivo Life PERFORM protein powder. With stevia, you can enjoy a natural sweetness without the synthetic flavourings and potential health risks associated with artificial sweeteners.

If you prefer a product with no stevia added then why not try our Vegan Protein Unflavoured. This offers a complete protein blend with the natural flavour profiles of Pea, Pumpkin and Hemp.

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