Being able to enjoy sweets without seeing their blood glucose levels skyrocket is a dream of many people with diabetes. While artificial sweeteners, like those containing sucralose, have made it possible, studies have shown that they are not necessarily the healthiest option.1
Known for its naturally sweet flavor, stevia is nowadays under the spotlight for being a healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners. Although studies have shown that stevia is good for diabetes, there hasn't been extensive research done into its impact on blood glucose regulation.
This 2020 clinical trial took a closer look at the effects of stevia on glycemic parameters and lipid profiles in diabetics in comparison to sucralose.
Researchers of this clinical trial recruited 34 adults with type 2 diabetes and assigned them to two groups. For eight weeks, the first group was drinking tea sweetened with 2% stevia extract three times daily, while the second group was taking sucralose tablets.
Participants had their glycemic responses and lipid profiles as well as anthropometric data assessed throughout the study period.
There were no significant changes in blood levels between the two groups when comparing those taken at baseline and then after 30 and 60 days. While the results were similar in both groups, the postprandial glucose levels were slightly more favorable in the stevia group.
Also, consuming sucralose and stevia did not affect lipid levels, insulin, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C).
Interestingly, the stevia group participants showed slight decreases in their energy intakes and body mass indices (BMIs).
What Does this Mean?
As shown by the results of this trial, stevia can replace sucralose in people with diabetes searching for healthier and more natural alternatives to sugar.
With zero calories, natural sweetness, and no side effects, stevia has the potential to revolutionize how people with diabetes manage their condition through diet. However, more studies are needed to further explore its effects on well-being, including other potential health benefits.
- Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, Effects of stevia on glycemic and lipid profile of type 2 diabetic patients: A randomized controlled trial, 2020
- Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. (2014). Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3772345/