Stevia Extract (a.k.a. Stevia in short) is a natural sweetener extracted from a plant native to Brazil and Paraguay called Stevia Rebaudiana. While most synthetic sweeteners (e.g. Splenda) are not good for a Fatty Liver, is Stevia Extract a good sugar substitute for Fatty Liver?
According to studies, Stevia lowers glucose levels, improves insulin sensitivities, and improves liver fibrosis markers. Sweetness, combined with zero calories and carbs, makes Stevia one of the best alternatives for sugar for Fatty Liver disease. The studies conclude that Stevia Extract has actually been shown to improve or reverse the effects of the fatty liver (see study).
Stevia does come with some caveats:
While Stevia is great for Fatty Liver, it’s consumption comes with some caveats especially if you have blood pressure related conditions. Hence, as always, please consult a doctor before starting on Stevia as a artificial sweetener in your NAFLD diet
Stevia Side Effects And Other Caveats
Generally, Stevia is safe for consumption and hence there aren’t many side effects of note. However, there are some important ones that you need to be aware of:
Most store-bought Stevia Extracts come mixed with sugar alcohols such as Erythritol. While Erythritol is safe for Fatty Liver, it can cause bloating and nausea when taken over a certain amount. So we must pay careful attention to the list of ingredients in the Stevia brand we use and consume accordingly.
There are some blood pressure concerns with Stevia’s consumption. Consuming Stevia can cause blood vessels to widen which can lower the overall blood pressure. However – there are no studies yet that establish a clear correlation between Stevia and lower blood pressure. So, while only the positive side effects of Stevia have been studied (see here), more studies are needed to understand the full range of impact on blood pressure.
My recommendation to anyone suffering from blood pressure-related factors would be to check with their doctors before starting on Stevia as a sugar substitute. All is not lost though, there are still pure Erythritol and Monk Fruit sweeteners that you can use as sugar substitutes.
An after-taste is not really a side effect, however, it could be a big deterrent from using Stevia as a sugar substitute. In reality, not everyone is bothered by the after-taste. A lot of people I know do not even feel the aftertaste. In my opinion, given the benefits, Stevia is worth a try.
Personally, I have always felt a little bit of aftertaste and once I discovered Monkfruit, Stevia took a back seat in terms of the sugar alternatives I used.
Be careful while buying store bought items containing Stevia. It’s often a marketing ploy and your liver suffers for it.
If you suffer from a Fatty Liver, your goal must be to avoid processed foods, fat, and carbs. Most store-bought Stevia items still contain plenty of undesirables, making them unsafe for Fatty Liver. If you find a “Stevia” marketed item in the grocery aisle, please pay special attention to the nutritional label. Work hard to avoid eating something unhealthy only because it contains Stevia.
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Which Stevia Brands To Buy?
I have only tried two brands of Stevia that I would recommend (affiliate links). Both of these are pure Stevia and do not contain Erythritol or any other alcohol sugars:
- Pure Via Stevia Sweetener (Travel packs, easy to carry with you to the office or a vacation/road trip)
- Microingredients Pure Stevia (Organic)
Do you recommend any other sugar alternatives that are safe for fatty liver? I am always willing to learn and would love to hear from you!
Conclusion – Stevia and Fatty Liver
If you are looking for sugar alternatives to help with your NAFLD / Fatty Liver condition, I recommend Stevia as an option. There are however other Sugar alternatives for NAFLD that you may also consider.
Verdict: Safe. Fatty Liver Friendly. Go for it!
Please note: Some recent studies have started questioning the long-term use of Stevia as a sugar substitute. So I recommend that you use it in moderation.