Friday, March 21, 2014

Is Stevia Healthy? NuNaturals Review and GIVEAWAY!

When I asked NuNaturals if they would let me sample some of their products a while back, I was pleasantly surprised!

I was given to opportunity to review some of their newest products, which are gluten free and of course, sugar free.

These products are a really innovative way to enjoy treats without added calories, or fake/artificial sweeteners. The main idea that I LOVE about NuNaturals is that they never use fake or artificial sugars in their products.

Before now, I had never tried Stevia. I was a bit wary at first, but I added a few drops to my almond milk and was SHOCKED by the results! I added some of their Vanilla Stevia to almond milk. Only a few drops sweetened an entire glass.

I experimented farther and used the Vanilla Stevia to sweeten some Acorn Squash brownies that I made. Let it be said that I polished off the pan in 48 hours.

In the brownies, I also used Oat Fiber that they sent me. From the information on their site, the oat fiber is produced from a chemical free process (less chemicals=bonus points in my book.)

Basically, you can use it similarly to how you would use flour in a regular recipe. However, the oat fiber is calorie free. You can also add it to things like oatmeal or shakes when you want to boost the amount of fiber you are eating.

I personally would not use oat flour as the only source of dry ingredients in a recipe. While it gives volume and has health benefits, I still need to remember I am staying away from grains that are not properly prepared. I doubt these oats were soaked before being turned into the fiber... plus, as "chemical free" and "natural" as they claim to be, it is still a food that had been processed.

Instead, I recommend using the fiber alongside other flours (I used mostly coconut flour in my brownies, but added a TBSP of oat flour too).

This being said, I also am aware of both sides of the Stevia arguement...
Is it healthy?
Or unhealthy

I can see relevancy on both sides of the spectrum. For example:

"For diabetics, using stevia may be a good way to manage blood sugar levels while not completely omitting the sweet flavor from your life. Stevia has been used as a sugar substitute since the 1970′s in Japan without any known adverse effects, and it constitutes 40% of their total sweetener consumption.

One study showed that not only is stevia a good sugar substitute, but it may actually help to treat insulin resistance. (source)
In another small study, 60 hypertension patients experienced significant reduction in blood pressure after being give the active ingredient of stevia. (source)."
This suggests that Stevia has positive health benefits. 
"Stevia Taxes the Adrenals: 
"Stevia is “sweet” on the palate, so the body assumes it is receiving sugar and primes itself to do so. Glucose is cleared from the bloodstream and blood sugars drop, but no real sugar/glucose is provided to the body to compensate. When this happens, adrenaline and cortisol surge to mobilize sugar from other sources (liver and muscle glycogen, or protein, or body tissue) to bring blood glucose back up." (Source)
Stevia Has a Hormonal Structure:
"Steviol glycosides are synthesized in the same pathway and end up being structurally very similar to the plant hormones gibberellin and kaurene.  This means that steviol glycosides have a hormone structure… There is evidence that steviol glycosides have contraceptive effects in both males and females.  In particular, one specific steviol glycoside, called stevioside, has been shown to have potent contraceptive properties in female rats, implying that stevia may have an impact on estrogen, progesterone or both." "
This, on the other hand, gives information for rather frightening Stevia effects. 

So... what is the answer? In my opinion, I feel most comfortable using natural sweeteners such as raw honey, molasses, pure maple syrup, and fruit (all of which I KNOW are healthy).
However, in moderation, I still think that Stevia can be used in a perfectly healthy diet with no side effects. What this means for you might be different than what it means for me...i.e. I might bake with Stevia 1/3 of the time, and with other sweeteners the other 2/3. 

Now... for the GIVEAWAY!
NuNaturals is giving away
 (1) one bottle of each of the Lemon / Cherry Vanilla / Peppermint Flavored Stevia Liquids,
 PLUS a 50 packet box of our NuStevia White Stevia Powder packets. 
to FOUR Clean Eating Teen readers!

Ending on 3/29/14

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't win, or still want to purchase something, NuNaturals is also offering a  15%discount to Clean Eating Teen readers.
Enter the discount code: BLG0614
(Expires June 30th, so hurry!)
Tell me... do you use Stevia?



Jen Lyle said...

I love getting frozen yogurt with my friends!

Katie said...

Warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies!

GiGi Eats said...

I have been using Stevia, specifically NuNaturals for the past 12 years!!!! I am a very loyal user. I did receive some of this oat fiber, but I had to give it away because I cannot eat it thanks to my intolerance to grains. If NuNaturals ever comes out with a coconut flour, then I will be all over that - LOL! They also need to create a baking stevia powder!

Jasmine1485 said...

I like oven-roasting chickpeas until crunchy (with a little oil sprayed on), then tossing with paprika, garlic powder and a little salt and pepper. Yum!

Jasmine1485 said...

Oh and I'm logged into RC as Katherine Ryan :)

Unknown said...

I really love dried fruit

(Mint Clare Dew)Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy said...

My favourite sweet treat is definitely cheesecake! I CANNOT resist them. They are so cold, creamy, and yummy in the mouth. Strange that I dislike cake but I like cheesecake. It's too bad one day I will have to cut off all dairy! Perhaps winning this nunaturals giveaway would help so I ca make other sweet treats without the guilt. ;)

Elle said...

I like Greek yogurt with fruit, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon and a bit of stevia on top.

Amanda said...

I love some good granola and yogurt as a healthy snack!

renata said...

I love almond butter with apples to snack on!

Unknown said...

Mmm my recent fav healthy treat is yogurt with nut butter and honey. Yum!