What you need to know about stevia

Nutrition Advice

I use stevia!


As some of you may know by now, my diet is 100% refined-sugar-free. So I choose to use alternatives, such as stevia.

If you follow my blog/instagram ( JSHealth) you will see I use stevia as a sugar substitute- along with some other healthier sugar alternatives:  raw honey, rice malt syrup, xyltiol and maple syrup as the body ( mainly the pancreas!) much better handles these alternatives as they don’t spike our blood sugar as harshly . Now what I want to get across is that of course these alternatives are BETTER but we still need to be mindful that we cannot over use them. It always comes back to the same old saying- moderation, moderation. Minimal amount of these alternatives should be the goal. I am now worried that we may be over using this alternative and I am not too sure this is a good thing.

So what you need to know, By Caitlin Sammons.

South Americans have been using stevia for centuries. Native to tropical climates, stevia has also been included in diets in Paraguay, Brazil, Korea and China for years. However, it’s only recently that stevia has become the “hot” new alternative to sugar north of the equator, and it’s now readily available throughout the United States and Europe.
The Basic Facts on Stevia
Stevia is thirty times sweeter than sugar and has no aftertaste. Its claim to fame is that it’s the all-natural alternative to artificial sweeteners. An attractive attribute of stevia, which has yet to be fully proven, is that it has little to no effect on blood glucose levels. Some even claim it may have a positive effect. However, fully replacing sugar with stevia in your diet can be dangerous as it may cause blood sugar levels to drop too low. The long-term physical effects of stevia have yet to be fully tested.
Where Stevia Has Been
In the past, stevia could only be found in health food stores, but it’s now begun to replace artificial sweeteners in many consumer products, such as soft drinks, gum, yogurt, and even wine. Stevia can also be used as a replacement for sugar in baking — however, due to its much higher level of sweetness, it has to be used in comparatively reduced amounts.
However, stevia has had a rocky relationship with the United States. In 1991, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned stevia due to studies that showed the sweetener was linked to cancer. By 1995, a new study disproved the cancer link, and stevia was distributed in the States as a supplement, but not as a sweetener.
In its initial form of distribution, stevia was sold as a ground-up powder of the plant leaves. This powder was quite sweet, but also had a very bitter aftertaste, which limited its ability to be used as a sweetener. Manufacturers quickly found a fix to the aftertaste issue, and out of the 100 species of the stevia plant, they discovered the one — stevia rebaudina — which has no aftertaste. Now all stevia products are derived from this type.
But Is Stevia Safe Now?
In comparison to other artificial sweeteners, stevia is one of the “safest” options. A study conducted at UCLA in 2008 found that stevia could presumably contribute to cancer. However, there is a lack of concrete research on the long-term effects of stevia.
Interestingly, over forty years ago, Japan banned the use of the majority of artificial sweeteners in consumer products. The Japanese then conducted over 40,000 clinical studies on stevia, and it became the only artificial sweetener the Japanese public was allowed to consume.
Overall, stevia is one of the best options amongst other artificial sweeteners. Due to the lack of studies on long-term effects, consuming stevia in large amounts isn’t recommended. However, as with most things in life, moderation is key when it comes to any artificial sweetener, including stevia. Once further research is conducted, stevia could potentially be considered a great all-natural sugar substitute.




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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.