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Why I Stopped Using Stevia

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that I used quite a bit of stevia back in the day. I used it in chocolate milkshakes, my morning tea, sugar-free desserts, and even my salad dressings. I basically used it all day, everyday.

recipes with stevia

You may have noticed that I don’t use stevia in my recipes or daily routine anymore, so I thought I’d take a moment to share why.

First, let’s talk about why I tried stevia in the first place. I embarked on my first Candida Cleanse in 2011, following the protocol laid out in Natalia Rose’s book, Detox 4 Women. While following the program, I cut out nearly all sugar (even the natural sugar found in fruit) and satisfied my sweet tooth using stevia instead, because it is marketed as an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener that isn’t supposed to impact your blood sugar or feed yeast overgrowth. (And killing off yeast overgrowth is the goal of a Candida cleanse.) I followed this protocol strictly for 30 days, and then stuck with the general guidelines for several months afterwards before incorporating more fruit, grains and cooked starches, and animal protein into my diet again. Even when I returned to a more “standard” diet, I continued to use stevia because it was such an easy way to sweeten things throughout the day. I carried a bottle in my purse at all times!

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However, I started to notice a few things after using stevia for several months, even long after my diet returned to normal:

  1. I craved more sweetness. At first, it took a while for my taste buds to adjust to the flavor of stevia– I actually didn’t like it right away. But once my taste buds adjusted, I couldn’t get enough of it. I started using it in everything, and I noticed that the more I used stevia, the more I wanted it. At one point, just 2-3 drops of liquid stevia was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth in a mug of tea or over a salad, but as time went on I found myself adding much more than that to my drinks and meals to get the same satisfaction. In a way, it felt like the sweetener was skewing my taste buds and I needed everything to taste sweeter to enjoy it. I also found myself craving desserts all day long, and when once a small piece of dark chocolate would satisfy my evening sweet tooth, I soon needed to eat the whole bar to feel the same sense of satisfaction.
  2. I lost my period. The real tipping point for me was the fact that I lost my period while using this much stevia. Though some people could write off a missing period as a sign that the body is “detoxing,” it was a big red flag for me– particularly because I wanted to get pregnant in the near future and hadn’t had a period for nearly 6 months at that point. I was willing to do anything to regulate my cycle again, so I decided to give up stevia completely, to see what would happen. My period returned within 4 weeks, and I was overjoyed! I actually tried adding stevia back into my diet again, just to see if my cycle was affected (and because I was a total stevia addict) and my period disappeared for another 2 months… so that’s when I decided to give it up for good. Of course, I can’t say for sure that it wasn’t something else that caused my cycle to be out of whack, but because pregnancy was my priority at the time, I wasn’t willing to take chances. (On an anecdotal note, two of my close friends also had issues with their cycles and recently decided to give up stevia as an experiment, even though they didn’t use it frequently– and they both saw their periods return within a month.)
  3. My gut-instinct told me to stop using it. Most zero-calorie sweeteners, even natural ones, have always had a “too good to be true” feeling to me, and my gut instinct has always been to NOT use them. My mom is actually allergic to aspartame, so I’ve always steered clear of the mainstream artificial sweeteners to be on the safe side, but I’m not totally convinced that all zero-calorie sweeteners (even natural ones) don’t still contribute to excess insulin being released into the body. The body is programmed to release insulin when your mouth tastes “sweetness,” so if there is no sugar for the insulin to metabolize, I’d worry that it would remain in the blood stream and potentially lead to hypoglycemia, which comes with side effects of anxiety and hunger.

I also find it interesting that Elaine Gotschall, author of Breaking the Vicious Cycle, has deemed stevia “illegal” on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). She notes that stevia’s molecular structure resembles that of a steroid, and therefore it probably has physiological effects on mammals– it’s just hard to tell whether those effects are good or bad. And while stevia is marketed to have zero impact on blood sugar, my mother (who is Type 2 Diabetic) has found that stevia does, in fact, spike her blood sugar similarly to any other sweetener. So, I take all claims with a grain of salt!

It’s also worth noting that some cultures may have once considered stevia a form of birth control. I was advised by a mentor to stop using it before I wanted to get pregnant, which is what led me to even consider that it might be affecting my cycle in the first place. If it can affect my hormones to the point that it might be affecting my fertility, I don’t feel that it should have a regular place in my diet. (However, I do know several women who have gotten pregnant while using stevia liberally– so it definitely shouldn’t be considered a form of birth control, as it doesn’t affect everyone the same way.)

Clearly, what’s right for me might not be what’s right for anyone else, but I did want to address why I no longer use stevia in any more of my recipes, and why I don’t offer modifications using stevia. I do think using stevia leaves, from a fresh plant, might be a totally different story, since the sweetness wouldn’t be nearly as concentrated as using the commercial liquid drops and powders– which are processed to an extent. I can only speak to my experience with using the liquid drops, which as far as I can tell, are fairly concentrated.

For those of you who do still want to use stevia, you can still find some of my older recipes here.

Reader Feedback: Have you tried stevia and if so, do you still enjoy using it? 

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Comments

Edna

I find this very interesting and not at all surprising. I had a similar experience using soy milk, although I didn’t lose my cycle, it was definitely affected. My gut instinct told me it was the soy (and here I was thinking it was so healthy at first) and my periods immediately went back to normal.

We must not forget the huge role marketing plays in our lives. I sometimes think the health driven community should be above this, but I can be naive. I found this post, interestingly, just as I was doing some research on coconut and how that fad is losing steam because it may not be as healthy as we had been hearing in recent years.

    Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

    I struggle with soy too and have cut that out of my diet. But I have no idea about the stevia Megan!!!! I’m actually scared after reading this point, I’m super hypoglycemic and am desperately trying to get pregnant. And I agree ~ the stevia is like a drug, you can never get enough of it. I eat pretty much a paleo diet and drink fruit drinks sweetened with stevia to satisfy for sugar longing. And I did find I was craving more junk food!!!! I thought it was just in my head.

    Debbie

    Yep, stay away from anything SOY. It is an ESTROGEN mimicker. It even causes men/males to develope man-boobs and is apparently the cause of many infertility problems. Not to mention a cause of breast cancer!

      ATS, M.D.

      Soy is NOT a cause of breast cancer. Please do not spread this myth. Women from countries with high amounts of soy in the diet like Asian countries have much lower incidence of breast cancer than U.S. Studies have shown there moderate amounts of soy in diets of breast cancer patients are not harmful and may even be beneficial.

        Edna

        Actually, while we can’t definitively say soy causes breast cancer, there have been some studies that indicate it may increase the risk in some women. Check out breastcancer.org for more information on that. The amount to soy in Asian diets has been overestimated by the overzealous interests in the U.S. who are out to promote soy as a health food. Asians do have lower rates of breast cancer, but to jump to soy as the reason for this is premature at best. There could be any number of factors involved, starting with genetics, a healthier diet rich in whole foods and very low levels of obesity.

          ATS M.D.

          Many studies have shown that soy does NOT cause increased risk of breast cancer and incorporating soy products often leads to an overall healthier diet which can lower risk of breast cancer. Soy supplements should be avoided in breast cancer patients but natural food sources are fine. I am a doctor at a hospital which is part of the Penn Cancer Network and I am also a breast cancer patient.

        wendy

        Most Asian cultures eat fermented soy, the only safe way to eat soy. This makes a big difference (you can google fermented soy vs. non fermented). Soy is not a health food, and should not be eaten. I agree that it can lead to breast cancer. I know someone who has had breast cancer and has been advised by her doctor to no longer consume soy. Then on top of that you add that soy is the biggest GMO crop, heavily sprayed by glycophosphate, and then the ill health issues with soy oil that is in about every processed food.

        Carolina

        In asia they mostly consume fermented soy such as organic tofu or tempeh which is very different than the GMO soy used here in U.S.

        Anonymous

        It really depends on your tumor so be careful to spread that myth as well! The doctors told my mother that her breast cancer tumor most definitely DID grow from soy!!! Everyone’s ecperience is different and until you have experienced all possibilities you too are spreading rumors

      Katie

      I think it is important to realize that estrogen dominance isimplicatedin higher breast cancer rates and that many estrogen dominant women don’t tolerate soy. I wish they would do more studies to see if these women share any other lifestyle factors that could predispose them to breast cancer and not blame soy. I know for myself that when I am pregnant and have higher levels of estrogen I develope disturbing problems with my liver and gallbladder and have trouble digesting fats. My theory is that the liver is burdened by excess hormones and it effects its ability to clear toxins. I believe those excess hormones can come from meat, dairy and perhaps soy. I try to reduce the amount of hormone containing food I eat because my liver works better.

        Megan

        I struggled with gallbladder attacks both pregnancies and a 4 cm gallstone during my 2nd pregnancy.
        I found that my attacks occurred on days that I was not eating enough healthy fats/cholesterol. The body needs cholesterol for hormone production and during pregnancy, there’s a lot of hormone production going on. One theory, is the gallbladder will store cholesterol if it’s not getting enough cholesterol in the diet and gallstones will form. Many times, gallstones that develop during pregnancy will eventually dissolve. I haven’t had an ultrasound lately, so I can’t prove my gallstones are smaller or gone, but I haven’t had an attack since maybe 3 months postpartum and my baby is 16 months old now.
        When I discovered this theory, I increased my healthy fat intake, throughout the day. I felt great unless I was busy and didn’t eat properly.

    Shakira

    Soy is OK as long as it’s fermented I’ve read, haven’t tried it yet n kind of wary until I speak to someone in the know. Unfermented soy can be very unhealthy for women, it can cause early onset puberty in girls w the complication of hormonal imbalances which will also effect older women. Think it either has hormones added to it or it mimics them? Not sure which, i stopped using it on recommendation of my nutritionist.

Mair

I’ve never tried stevia my gut instinct was it wasn’t for me so I just use little dates or raisins occasionally coconut sugar for sweetening I make my own date or raisin paste for recipes that need liquid sweetener. I’m also allergic to aspartame personally I think it should be banned. Thanks for writing this article.

    michelle

    How do you make a raisin paste? Thanks

Kezia @ Super Naturally Healthy

I have just gotten into using stevia have found it helpful but love this article and the points you shared. While i was on GAPS stevia was not allowed so even now it is not something i would rely on heavily (medjool dates all the way) and I think you right about the whole too good to be true. but its all about balance – i have been trying to incorporate birch xylitol into my diet a little as it helps with teeth but again is a sugar alcohol and can irritate gut . But great to how it impacted your period – i will bear that in mind with clients and research it further 🙂

Sara

You stated that you still use stevia to sweeten things. I would like to know how often do you use them within a week, and whether it still interferes with your period? 🙂 I am a frequent stevia user as well, and I did notice that my period vanished when I started using stevia again.

    Megan Gilmore

    No, I don’t use it at all anymore– not even a drop. Haven’t used it in over three years!

      Marie

      What about good ole mollasses? I have used it in the past but has many nutrients and loved it in my oatmeal in the morning of course in moderation.

        Megan Gilmore

        Molasses is great– especially blackstrap molasses for its iron content. But, I’d never use it on its own for sweetness since the sweet part is subtle and the molasses flavor is overwhelming. It pairs well with dates, maple syrup, and coconut sugar, though!

          Lori Palmieri

          My ex in-laws are Canadian and used to bring down molasses with them. The molasses from there doesn’t have that bitter after taste that ours seems to have here in the US. It’s pretty good stuff!

      Sue Altop

      Hi Megan, I grow my Stevia organically. I have liquid on the shelf, but do not use it much. However, this article has me spinning. I am in the longest menopause in the history of women. I have a couple of questions. 1) How much is a lot of Stevia that you were using? I may use it two or three times a week. It is the dried version, meaning I dried my leaves this summer. I rarely use the drops, but will on occasion to just push something to the desired sweet I am looking for. So, were you using the drops every day? I will throw it in my smoothies once in awhile. Again, the dried leaves, not the liquid. I have a hard time thinking it would be bad for me. It is fresh and green, but then so is other plants that offer problems, so I guess it could be. Let me know. Thank you for posting this.

        Fran Randall

        Go to Janeshealthykitchen.Com to see her extensive research on many sweetners. Stevia is highly processed using chemicals that are then a residue that we consume. She feels it is highly toxic.

      Patsy

      What is the best artificial sweetner I am a diabetic

      Karen

      Has anyone tried Lakanto monk fruit sugar? It was recommended by my nutritionist. The Lakanto brand is non GMO and is zero calorie, zero carbs, zero sugar, zero on glycemic. It tastes amazing, no after taste. The two ingredients are sugar alcohol and monk fruit. I’m worried now that it has unknown side effects. I use it a lot for baking for my kids to avoid sugar, and to sweeten iced tea. Any thoughts?

Meg

Very interesting! I used stevia for a long time too and I NEVER had a sweet tooth in my life, yet, when I was using stevia and wanted everything to be sweet! That’s how I knew it was time to let it go. I haven’t used it in about 2 years, but I find it very interesting how both times it affected your period! Thanks for sharing!

Briana

Great post! Our cycle is pretty much the most natural thing so when that is affected, it is definitely a red flag, probably the highest of red flags. Nothing should really be stopping that except for age.

Faith

So what do you use now? Honey? Just curious since I’ve been thinking of trying stevia – altho, it is something I would need to adjust too, but maybe not after reading this.

    Megan Gilmore

    I use natural sweeteners with calories– favoring dates when possible, but also using honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. I’ve found that I don’t crave sweets nearly as often as when I was using stevia, so I don’t need to use them in huge amounts or too frequently.

      Faith

      Thank you!

      ElleDani

      If you were going to use an artificial sweetener, is there any besides Aspartame and Sucralose that you would definitely avoid? I myself have never had any issues with Stevia but I rarely use it. I just read about one called Ace-K and do not know much about that. Just curious your thoughts on that. I’m trying to find a good protein shake that does not contain sugar or artificial sweetners, any advice is appreciated.

        Micki

        Hi ElleDani,

        I prefer my protein shakes without sugar or artificial sweeteners (even stevia), and so I typically opt for unflavored varieties. If you can tolerate whey, plain whey is great blended with fruit, spinach, and water or almond milk. I recently cut dairy out of my diet and have been using a plant-based non-flavored/non-sweetened powder from Garden of Life. It’s not bad! If I want my smoothies/shakes to be a little sweeter I mix in some fruit juice.

Carla

I found that many brands of Stevia – powdered or liquid – were far too sweet. The powder only needed the tiniest amount to overwhelm my coffee.

We did find a different brand where a half teaspoon was not crazy and was significantly less sweet. Just enough to cut some of the bitter in my coffee.

I only use it in my one or two cups of coffee each day and do not find myself craving sweets etc.
I can’t remember the brand though! But it comes in a bag and we get it at Costco or Loblaws and affiliate stores.

Hopefully your removal of the product from your diet will help 🙂

Judy

Hi there. I was wondering if you have ever try Lakanto for sweetening. That is what I use and it is great. It comes in larger crystals and I just grind it in my coffee grinder to use in powder from as a sweetener.

    Megan Gilmore

    I haven’t tried that. Since it has zero calories, I’d still be concerned about it causing insulin issues without any actual sugar/glucose for the body to metabolize. But, since I haven’t tried it myself or done much research on the matter, I couldn’t give you a truly informed opinion on that one.

JN

What about Truvia sweetener? Have you tried that? Are they similar?

    Megan Gilmore

    I would personally stay away from Truvia, too, especially since it contains erythritol. I tried a “stevia-sweetened” chocolate bar once that also used erythritol and I literally thought I was going to have to go to the hospital– it can be very aggressive to the intestines, causing symptoms of severe IBS, and I can’t recall being more miserable in my life. (And that’s including labor!)

      Diana

      I had the same experience with erythritol Megan! Seriously thought I was going to die, I felt MISERABLE. I vomited all.night.long after eating a tiny slice of cheese cake sweetened with Truvia. My intestines were in knots for hours and the pain was terrible (I’ve had 3 unmediated births so I’m not exaggerating here). Never again…LOL.

Tc

My midwife told me to stop using stevia the first time I was pregnant. I just kind of figured that if she didn’t feel it was ok while I was pregnant, it’s probably not that great ever. Also, same as you, I just feel like 0 calories = too good to be true.

Lauren

Very interesting! I use stevia almost daily, but I use a ‘more natural’ variety by Planetary Formulas (the color is actually black!). After my third baby, I developed candida, and stevia has been a Godsend in the way of sating my sweet tooth. I typically use it in combination with another sweetener, so that cuts the bitterness, and may help in the way of insulin issues.

I used it before, during, and after all my babies, and have not had any trouble. I think it’s important to note that other additives in a stevia may affect a person. For example, I can’t personally take any stevia that contains ‘natural flavors’, (which so many do), and a lot of companies like to stick maltodextrin or some other filler into their brand. I’ve also noticed that studies I’ve read on stevia and infertility don’t specify which brands they are using. Everyone is different though, so I’m happy to keep this info in mind in case I ever have trouble!

    Christina

    Lauren, I totally agree. It could depend on the brand. Many claim to be stevia, but are actually mixed with other sweeteners to counteract the bitterness. .

Heather

this is super interesting! i never would have thought of stevia as being connected to fertility. have you tried lo han sweetner/what are your thoughts on it? thank you!!

Deryn @ Running on Real Food

I recently started using stevia as I’m tracking macros right now for athletic performance and I’ve also lost my period over the last few months. I didn’t even think it might have anything to do with that! My gut tells me the same too, I’d rather not use it. I’ll definitely be doing some more research on it now. I was previously using maple syrup as a sweetener but the carbohydrates add up so quickly. I’d prefer to stick to maple syrup, dates and other whole foods but I’d definitely been relying on stevia to reduce the carbs in baking and other recipes, and even using it in coffee. I don’t eat a lot of sweets but I definitely have a sweet tooth! Anyways, thanks for starting this conversation, very interesting!

Maria

Thanks for posting! I can’t use Stevia either — I get dizzy after using it — the same reaction after having too much (real) sugar. But with stevia – it just takes a drop for me to get dizzy.

Heather McClees

I love stevia, but I appreciate you writing this and totally respect your reasons. Great post, and I love Natalia Rose. Her work taught me so much. I wish we saw more of her in the maimstream again. Can’t wait to see what else you do!

Nicole

I hope most people realize the white, grainy stuff in most commercial brands of “stevia” is barely stevia at all. Stuff like Truvia hardly has any of the plant at all and is really misleading consumers. (The erythritol in it is also most certainly from GMO corn.) Some people having issues with these products, may actually be reacting to the fillers and other junk in the major brands (including the organic ones). A ton of them actually have maltodextrin as the main ingredient– something that causes blood sugar spikes, bloating, and weight gain. A lot of them also list “natural flavors” in their ingredients. There is absolutely no way of knowing what that includes.

I use 100% pure Stevia powder. You can tell the real stuff, because it is green and has a very strong taste that takes some getting used to. You really cannot use too much in your food, as the flavor is so overpowering that you would ruin your drink or meal using the amount needed with the white, processed version.

    Magdalena Hopkins

    glad you wrote this!! As I wrote my note in similar way at the very bottom ( today comment) and now I read yours comment.

    Rebecca

    Yes, the powder should be green. I pointed this out in my comment too. Anything else is processed to the point where important plant chemicals get removed. Bad idea,,, those are much needed to keep stevia balanced. I have an article on it somewhere.

    Michelle

    You are absolutely correct, Bravo! I’ve been sounding the alarm on maltodextrin for well over a year now. Truvia, simply stevia & almost every brand out there is mostly made up of maltodextrin, which definitely spikes blood sugar. Believe it or not it’s the second ingredient in Glucerna (for diabetics). I discovered this when attempting to get my dad’s type 2 under control.

    Jan Janota

    Where do you find the green stevia powder?

      Nicole

      Hi, Jan — The last bag I bought was from the brand Now, and I got it online. Can’t remember which store, but Vitacost, PureFormulas, and LuckyVitamin are online health food stores I usually buy from.

      I would suggest getting a small container, if you’re new to it. (I buy it in a bulk-size bag.) Again the flavor is strong. It’s not something I use in tea or coffee, but in foods that just need a kick of sweetness (i.e. pasta sauce, soups, oatmeal, homemade fruit & nut bars). Just a 1/4 teaspoon is plenty for those dishes. For drinks, I use Trader Joe’s organic liquid stevia. It has alcohol in it, but the flavor is much milder and dissolves nicely in hot or cold drinks.

Myra

Stevia is actually a natural product that has been used for hundreds of years in South America. Actually 1500 years according to Wikipedia. It is a leaf that is processed to extract it’s sweetness. It actually had a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar and was introduced in the US as a supplement for the Pancreas. Because of that you may find stevia in two places at the health food store. To be sold as a grocery item it will have added ingredients. It will be cheaper since it’s not regulated by FDA as a supplement. In your Vitamin department you might find pure stevia at a higher price. I enjoy the stevia from Sunrider, it’s not the cheapest, but it is supplement grade. The company owner was one of the first to introduce Stevia to the US. They add chrysanthemum to enhance the flavor. Chinese drink chrysanthemum as a tea-it’s naturally sweet, but contains no sugar. I think additives and processing methods differ,so be curious, read your labels and ask questions! I hope people would post what brands they are using, may be helpful to navigate through all the different stevias.

    Colleen

    Yes it has been used for hundreds of years as a form of birth control. I am surprised people trust wikipedia because companies pay people to constantly edit their pages to show only the information they want you to see. I have never tried stevia nor do I ever read wikipedia.

Heather

I’m so happy that I read this post. The only brand of Stevia I did like was the brand that you recommended, NuNaturals, but I found that I wasn’t getting my period. This completely freaked me out! I love all of your recipes, and I especially love that you use all natural, whole ingredients. You’re so right, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Heather
http://www.heatherinreallife.com/

Leonie

i grow stevia, and cut up the leaves to put in home made mint sauce and use a quarter of a leaf in my coffee. I suppose its like any refined food… a sweet green leaf turns into white sweet crystals. I will limit it now after this post. Thanks for the information.

Erin L

It’s interesting I’m not the only one who noticed changes when using stevia. I started when I was breastfeeding at about 1 year postpartum- just a tiny bit! And my milk supply dried up within days. I had to wean my daughter within a few days as I had no more milk left but hadn’t changed anything except adding some stevia.
Also, it makes my mouth feel very dry. Both my parents say it makes their mouths tingle- I was thinking allergic reaction?! I just felt parched after using it.
I tried using a popular add-to-your-water stevia powder and after my bottle of water I felt dry. I used to use it more but not anymore. It’s rare, and maybe a few drops here and there. I want to cut my sweet tooth, not make it crave more…

Paula

I have never liked Stevia.

What do you think of Xylitol? I like the taste and measure for measure. I know it causes some people digestive issues but doesn’t bother me. But what do you think?

Magdalena Hopkins

I think it depends what make or kind of stevia you were buying/ using.
As i have STEVIA plant in my garden and just as you make fresh mint tea I use Stevia. Drop the stem with leaves into my tea or just warm water/ milk if I bake. I also went through a year long candida cleaning process but used stevia very rarely because I believe Candida needs sweet environment and it doesnt recognises if it is healthy agave syrup, stevia or white yuk yuk sugar. The craving we get for sweets is because Candida is hungry and makes us want what she wants! So we must be strong and dont let her win the battle 🙂
Of course if you used tablets or liquid stevia it went through a chemical process again and there is a high chance also that there was aded something which might not be as healthy for humans. It is sad but it is usually the fact.

    Rebecca

    You are right about using the whole plant. The refinement of stevia is what causes trouble.

Joanna

I was totally surprised by this post because I thought you have always been anti stevia! I’ve been following your blog for 2-3 years and I haven’t seen you use any stevia at all- just honey, maple syrup and sugar. I’m wondering if your cycle was affected not by stevia itself but by the fact that you replaced it with high carbs and your body does well with carbs.

Monique

I am guessing you were using the “off the shelf” processed stevia. As a qualified herologist, I am not surprised at those results. My suggestion, to all wanting a healthier, more in tune with yourself and nature lifestyle, use the ACTUAL Stevia leaf. No nasties, all natural.

Kate

Do you still use calm magnesium powder? I wish it didn’t have stevia love that product.

    Megan Gilmore

    No, I stopped using that because of the stevia, too. I do still take a magnesium supplement when needed, though– just not the drink.

      Honey

      They have a natural calm without any stevia, that’s the one we usually use. Sometimes I get the stevia one because it tastes so much better, but now I’ll stick to the unflavored with no stevia! My daughter is allergic to stevia, she gets itchy bumpy skin all over her body from it.

      Melanie

      Which magnesium supplement do you use? I have been using the calm magnesium because I had read that the magnesium pills don’t absorb as well. I would love to know if you have had success with something else other than Calm.

Carol

Maybe it was because of the processing of the stevia you were using. Try growing and drying your own.

Rebecca

I am completely convinced that my severe use of stevia which I thought would be a better sweetner, especially for my diabetic boyfriend, completely disrupted my hormones. I feel it was the root cause of my low progesterone and adrenal fatigue. I was full of energy and life before my use of stevia. After years of trying to figure out what was causing my low progesterone and adrenal issues…by process of elimination, it came down to stevia. I kicked it to the curb and in literally days my brain fog lifted, aches and pains went away, and I just felt better. I am 90% better…..it is has taken a very long time to balance back out. I took my whole family off of it. My girls especially….I don’t need them having fertility issues. I have read that using green whole stevia powder, is acceptable but I just can’t bring myself to try it or if you grow it to use the whole leaf. There are components in the whole leaf that are missing when they make liquid stevia, supposedly that help control the effects of stevia. The incredible sweetness of stevia is caused by the extraction process. The Japanese I have read are responsible for creating the liquid stevia which is now used in almost everything! Sold it to Coca Cola ….I don’t drink soda but if I did, I would be concerned about that. It is also in vitamin waters etc. No stevia or microwaves for me….no thanks!

Maegen

Hi! Have you noticed any other products or lack of products affecting a lost cycle? I haven’t had a cycle in 1.5 years, and been on bio identical hormone cream and hypo thyroid prescription. I don’t eat flour, added sugar (only sugar from fruit, except for very occasional maple syrup), gluten nor dairy (except goat, eggs if that counts). I’d try introducing some of those products back, but they just make me feel sick. Maple syrup, paired with high protein, is the only sugar product that doesn’t make me sick as long as I stay within reason and eat it later on in the day. I’m pretty active, so I’m not sure if I just need more carbs but I load myself up with carbs so not sure. It’d be wonderful if anyone has any thoughts to try. Thank you!!

    Sue

    I have been researching wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and meat; basically anything that is in the food chain that is GMO and/or sprayed with chemicals like RoundUp. I went on a diet two years ago that was free from any first or second generation foods that would have RoundUp in/on them. Within two weeks I was pain free and full of energy. Several months after starting the diet, I took a six week trip to Europe to stay with friends in Germany, Ireland, England, and France. Since I was staying with others, I felt like I could not tell them that I had a special diet and could not eat the foods they prepared, so I ate all of those foods that had given me major problems in the United States. I was expecting to feel horrible, but I did not; I was still full of energy and pain free. When I returned to the States, of course my husband did very little grocery shopping while I was gone and the cupboards were empty, so we went out for dinner that night and I had a burrito with beef, cheese, and a flour tortilla. Within an hour I was doubled up in pain, I felt bloated, and all my joints hurt! The next day I began researching what could be causing the trouble. I discovered that RoundUp and similar products are banned in many countries because of the effects described here (and worse!). So now I look for organic products to replace the conventional wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and meat or I look for things like pasta made in Italy and bread made in Germany or I make my own from organic products. Those European foods or organic foods do not cause me troubles.

Karen

I’m was trying to sweeten with dates this year after seeing what you do. but I’m opposite. I’m easing up on that and going back to stevia after seeing dentist and seeing potential cavities. I’ve never had a a cavity in my life! This past year I had eased up on stevia and used more dates and natural sweeteners for my son and I to use in out smoothies. But my dental health is suffering now. So go figure. Everybody is different in their own way.

Suzanne

Oh, I find this all so very interesting! I have been using the organic powdered stevia for a long time, but all this info and abundance of comments is inspiring me to lay off for a while and see if some of my irritating health issues might improve, although they are relatively minor in the big scheme of things. Thanks to everyone for their comments and input!

Bethany

Thank you so much for writing about your experiences and thoughts on Stevia. I started drinking Stevia just because it came in the Vega protein powder I got from Coscto. I didn’t like the taste at first…it was actually really gross to me at first. But as I kept drinking it I felt addicted to it…even after a few days. I craved it and had to have more not in a healthy way. And I craved sweeter and sweeter things. I was concerned about this change so I dropped it and am so glad I did. Good to know I’m not the only one who has had an experience like this with Stevia.

Sandy

Any info on xylitol? I’m curious about that as well.

    Megan Gilmore

    Most sugar alcohols, like xylitol, have a laxative effect to some degree, and my own experience with them has been terrible. So, I won’t go near them due to that side effect. Xylitol in particular is also VERY toxic to dogs, so I wouldn’t bring it into my home since I have a small dog. (Just a few pieces of sugar-free gum could cause her liver failure, so imagine what a teaspoon of straight xylitol dropped on the kitchen floor could do!)

Marie

This is spooky… I started eating organic stevia 4 months ago, and now my period is gone. I think my sleep has been affected as well, I wake up really early and cannot get back to sleep. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your experience, I will must definitely drop the stevia now!

Lisa

I do use stevia in my coffee and am having trouble using no sweetener. Do you have any suggestions for coffee? I’m trying to cut back but it’s so difficult!

    Jili

    Honey in coffee is the only reasonable alternative to sugar and is nice to have as a rare treat. In my experience your need for sweetness seems to reduce if you are following the detox approach (even if it’s not 100% of the time). The body is infinitely adaptable and honestly your sweet tooth will leave you. It’s just a matter of time and you will get there if you want!

    Micki

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m like you, I like to have some sweet in my coffee. Have you tried bullet proof coffee or something similar (with a lot of good fat in the coffee)? For me, I’ve found it to be way better than just straight black coffee, and I can drink it without adding any sweetness. Other than that, I do like a little maple syrup, and I’ve found it really helpful to cut back my coffee to just once or twice a week, and switch to plain green tea instead the rest of the time.

July

Thank you so much for this post – I have amenorrhea and I suspect stevia could be the culprit!

Do you have any thoughts on the probiotic beverage kevita? I believe it contains some stevia but I would imagine the amount is minimal.

Also, I use some natural protein powders once or twice a day (vega brand and garden of life raw meal) and these contain some stevia as well. Do you have any suggestions for stevia-free protein powders?

I love your blog and really appreciate your insights!

Alexa

Thank you for sharing this post! I had no idea about the potential negative impacts of Stevia. Will definitely keep this in mind in the future!

Amy

For anyone who follows Dr. Peter D’Adadamo’s Blood Type Diet, stevia is prohibited for Blood Type B. It’s allowed for the other types, but it was something that caught my attention right away when I had it in my green powder, so I cut it out immediately.

jj

Such an informative post. How much stevia were you using each day? Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    I don’t know if there’s an accurate way to measure how much I used, but it was usually a few drops in my morning tea, a few drops in my salad dressing, and several drops in my daily sugar-free smoothies. I usually used the liquid kind, though I also experimented with using the powdered green version (I just didn’t care for the taste of that one as much.)

      Jj

      Thanks for your reply! Just curious because I use half a packet of stevia in my morning coffee each day and your article scared me half to death 🙂 I haven’t noticed ill effects, but I’m on birth control (though will be trying to get pregnant in the next year). Splenda is also bad, and I’m not eating processed foods at the moment (so no sugar), so I think the healthiest answer is just black coffee :/

Jeanne

I grow my own stevia, then distill it to make stevia syrup. I can use just a tiny drop to sweeten a large glass of tea and have never seen any adverse effects. But it is pure, fresh from my herb garden.

Beth

Is this all stevia, or just the liquid form? I use organic stevia packets. What are your thoughts on organic granulated stevia?

    Megan Gilmore

    I personally wouldn’t use the granulated version either, especially if it’s a white powder. As far as I can tell, the least-processed stevia is still green!

Lisa S

Gives me HORRIBLE headaches!

mandy

I use stevia almost daily when I have sweet tea. I keep it in my purse for travel and while I don’t use it to cook, I don’t notice negative side effects. Albeit I take birth control constantly and skip the placebo week so I never have a cycle anyway, so I wouldn’t notice that side effect and would probably love it anyway! But, good to know all the info. just to make more informed decisions and share with friends who use stevia and ARE interested in getting pregnant. Thanks for sharing!

RondaT

My family and I recently started the Trim healthy mama diet. They advocate using Stevia and all tier recipes are geared this way. I was having headaches from the diet and I was being told that I was just “detoxing” from Sugar and carbs. After digging a littler deeper, I found that the Stevia plant is in the Ragweed family and I an allergic to ragweed. I stopped using stevia and no more headaches. I decided to have a little one day, just to make sure, so I used a drink “stick” sweetened with Stevia in a 20oz bottle of water. I had a headache before I was halfway done with my drink and noticed a stuffy nose as well.
I think the info here will cause me to encourage the rest of my family to no longer use it as well.

Cherie K

What about Monk sugar? We tried Stevia but didn’t like the taste, then found Monk sugar. We tend to limit sweets and don’t prefer our tea and coffee black, so only use the Monk sugar occasionally, when we bake or make pancakes. We always mix it roughly half and half with real sugar/Monk sugar, (for moisture/ browning) but usually use higher proportion of the Monk sugar. Using this method we get good flavor/products with half the calories and we feel what we are eating is better for us. Has anyone read/heard/experienced anything negative about Monk sugar?

Missy P

I was happy when my husband found and purchased pure stevia, even though I wondered some of the same things you did. But, after a couple of tastes, I gave it up! Strong aftertaste and an unpleasant, unnatural taste in tea were the main reasons.

Disgusted

“When we eat food, glucose is absorbed from our gut into the bloodstream. This rise in blood glucose causes insulin to be released from the pancreas.”

http://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/insulin.aspx

The spreading of ignorant information like “The body is programmed to release insulin when your mouth tastes “sweetness,”, helps no one, and can harm many.

    Megan Gilmore

    It is not ignorant information, it comes directly from Pub Med: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17510492

    According to this peer-reviewed study, just the taste of sweetness from both sucrose and artificial sweeteners elicit an insulin response, even before the glucose levels rise in the blood.

      Diane

      I owed and operated an herb farm for many years. We sold stevia. We held workshops using stevia, how to cook with it, how to preserve, etc. Stevia, like all plant material is wholesome as it is, not processed in any way. Dry the leaves and powder them, or whatever form you want it to be. It can be used in many salad dressings, muffins, drinks…………be the boss. But Truvia, and other sweetners claiming to be pure stevia is false. True stevia is the green leaf. It is sometimes called the Sweet Herb. God created this wonderful plant and at the end of His creation, he says it was very good. Hard to improve on that.

Michelle

Thank you for sharing your story. I just wanted to point out that one or a few peoples experiences cannot replace scientific data, and the scientific evidence for stevia is actually quite strong in favor of it. If you do the research on pub-med stevia has been shown to actually lower blood-sugar levels, help diabetics by improving glucose tolerance, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It is also a natural appetite suppressant. I’m sure just like any other food or supplement, the bio-individuality of the person and the quality of the product will effect its outcome, but I actually think stevia in light of the research is an excellent substitute for people who still want something sweet. Better than dates, honey or coconut sugar which act in the body exactly like regular sugar. For people with reactions (and you are sure its stevia) by all means stop using it but I think the majority of people should be fine based on the data. The most up to date studies show that stevia does not cause infertility. And although my story is also anecdotal , I use around 12 drops of stevia a day in coffee and use protein powder with it, I also drink 1/2 Kevita drink daily have perfectly normal periods and have two children that were conceived while using it and have never craved sweets. I thought I would leave links to two articles that reference some of these studies just so people can see both sides and make an educated decision about using it. Thank you! http://www.marksdailyapple.com/stevia/#axzz44Vn6I1iO, https://chriskresser.com/does-it-matter-if-a-sweetener-is-natural/

shiree

just wondering if anyone noticed hair loss, thinning while using stevia? i noticed my hair thinning around the time i started using stevia on a regular basis… not sure if it coincides…?

Vanessa

Stevia is from the ragweed family. If you have hay fever DO NOT use stevia. My husband was diagnosed with an auto immune disease called Eosphinopholic esophagitis / gastritis from drinking a popular beverage with stevia. Since he is highly allergic to ragweed drinking stevia caused his white blood cells to attack his esophagus and small intestine. The immunologist we went to didn’t even know the correlation until I figured it out. Since stopping the stevia the auto immune disease is gone.

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