Stevia Side Effects and Warnings: Is This Sweetener Safe to Use?

The devil is in the sugar, let’s admit it. It makes you moody, fat and diabetic. Fortunately for you and me, there is a cheap alternative, one that comes directly from the soil and is quite easy to grow on your own. Stevia, that is. Table sugar be damned.

What Is Stevia ?

Stevia is a plant genus of 240 different species of herbs and shrubs, belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae), and found naturally in many areas from South to North America. The species you are probably looking for, is the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, which is grown and used as a sugar or artificial-sweetener substitute, as it was used in Brazil and Paraguay for centuries. You might have also heard of it by the name of “sweetleaf” or “sugarleaf”. Out of all sweetening compounds found in Stevia, four main are used for making sugar substitutes – steviosiderebaudioside A, rebaudioside C and dulcoside A.

Any Stevia Side Effects or Benefits?

Stevia Benefits - “Sweeeeeeet!”

Let’s talk a little bit about Stevia health benefits. As opposed to sugar, Stevia extract contains no calories but is a few hundred times sweeter. As mentioned above, this plant has been used for hundreds of years by the native South Americans, and not only as a sweetener, but as a healthy food by itself and a healing plant too.

Stevia has a negligible effect on the blood sugar levels, and does not interfere badly with the body natural insulin balancing system, unlike synthetic sweeteners, and that’s why many diabetic people find this plant a savior. It is really ideal for diabetics, and also does not induce cravings like other sweet stuff.

Baking or cooking with it is entirely possible, as this plant is resistant to high heat (heat stable up to 392°F) and is water soluble, and I personally prefer using it as a sweetener in whatever I make, be it a tea or a cake. This is really a great natural sweetener for everyone, and will also help you to protect your teeth against decay and plaque. It’s a far healthier substitute to sugar or artificial sweeteners, and I would recommend avoiding them at any cost.

Note: Stevia does not ferment like sugar, so you’ll have to combine it with some baking soda if you want to bake cakes.

Stevia Side Effects - “Heard it’s dangerous!”

There are NO confirmed negative side effects of Stevia. Think of it, the native South Americans have been using it for many centuries, and it would definitely not ‘survive’ as a food additive otherwise, like most of the food we eat today, which have been selected, or ‘trial and errored” for hundreds or thousands of years. There have been a few studies that showed a very little toxic reaction in rats, but only in such high doses of steviol, that it would take us tens of kilograms of leafs a day to reach that point. I need not to tell you what regular sugar would to your body in such doses. So is Stevia safe? absolutely.

In 2008, the FDA finally released a non-toxicity recognition statement for Stevia, ensuring it’s safety of usage. Not that it means too much though, considering the notorious reliability of the FDA. It’s possible that Coca Cola Company and PepsiCo had their hands involved, as both companies started using rebaudioside A (the sweet substance in Stevia) to sweeten their products. immediately after FDA’s approval.

If you ever encounter a study that shows negative Stevia side effects and warnings (be sure to email that to me!), keep in mind that there’s a chance that the sugar or artificial sweeteners industry have sponsored it, for they are terrified by the Stevia plant, which might kill their industry. It might be a purely science-driven research though, of course.

Same thing goes in the meat, milk and pharmaceutic industry as well, and I recommend reading “Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs“, which will shed some light over these dreaded industries, and raise your awareness.

Scientific studies are very expensive, and Stevia is a natural substance, which means that you can not profitably invest in it and protect it with a ‘patent’, unlike artificial sweeteners or any other lab-made medications and products. So who sponsors it? You have one guess, and you’re probably right. And that’s where all ‘Stevia sweetener side effects’ issues begin, as most of today’s world health issues. Industry.

update“Is Stevia safe for children or during pregnancy?” asked one of our readers lately. I thought I will address this one in this articles as well. I was looking for a scientific reference regarding Stevia usage within pregnant women, but apparently, there seem to be no scientific studies conducted on this population, so it is hard to say at the moment.

And regarding children – with our little ones craving for foods like cookies, ice creams, and lollypops all day, you’d bet that replacing all of that excessive sugar with Stevia is a good move, especially when it comes to tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes (Interested in diabetes self management?).

All in all, there is no scientific proof of any dangers of Stevia, while the alternatives, sugar and artificial sweeteners, carry a lot of solid scientific evidences that link them to the above and more ailments and diseases, so the decision should be pretty easy.

Available Stevia Products

SweetLeaf Stevia

The health benefits of Stevia are easily obtainable from a variety of products. You can simply go for Stevia extract or Stevia powder, which are very comfortable, or you could even consider buying Stevia seeds and growing your own plant in your garden. Again, there are practically no Stevia dangers or side effects, and all of the above are perfect for use.

I feel comfortable recommending Kal Pure Extract Powder. Though I haven’t used it myself, the recommendations and reviews are just outstanding. The price is great too.

update-II:

Since writing this post, many people contacted me asking for information about organic Stevia seeds, extract and powders. “What are the brand you recommend on?” asked me one of my readers. I’d like to give my honest opinion:

It doesn’t really matter.

As long is it’s a certified organic Stevia leaf and there are no fillers whatsoever, it’s all pretty much the same. Just Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, the famous species grown mainly for sweetening. The world’s moving fast, and while not being so popular a few years ago – The Stevia plant really made its noise and many people now trust it to be a good substitute for sugar or other harmful artificial sweeteners.

Keep in mind that practically all organic-certified Stevia seeds should practically produce the same taste. Just pay attention to the shipment time (too long can ruin the seeds, as I believe happened in my case) and time since harvested. I think they have a lifetime of three months approximately, if my memory doesn’t betray me.

Interesting Science

Health psychologist Daniel C. Stettner, PhD states that our brain can be manipulated, and our body’s natural ability to count calories based on sweetness can contribute to obesity when artificial sweeteners are used. This is why artificial sweeteners have actually been linked to weight gain promotion, even though it’s very low on calories. Our body is a wonderful evolutionary system, and this weight management mechanism makes great sense from an evolutionary standpoint.

Julian Whitaker, M.D, in his ‘Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Newsletter’ said that “Stevia is not only non-toxic, but has several traditional medicinal uses. The Indian tribes of South America have used it as a digestive aid, and have also applied it topically for years to help wound healing. Recent clinical studies have shown it can increase glucose tolerance and decrease blood sugar levels. Of the two sweeteners (aspartame and Stevia), stevia wins hands down for safety.”

Leigh Broadhurst, Ph.D, who is a nutritional consultant and a chemist, stated that you can get all of the advantages of saccharin with none of it’s drawbacks, and that Stevia doesn’t really have a ‘taste’, just sweetness, as opposed to saccharin, whose taste quickly becomes bitter when over-consumed. He also stated that Stevia is much more concentrated (sweetness per weight) than aspartame. I recommend avoiding these two substances at any cost.

Dr. Bertoni wrote a few of the earliest words about this wonderful plant, in 1905 and 1918. He wrote that according to long experience and the studies of Dr. Rebaudi, it is not only non-toxic, but also very healthy, and can be used directly with it’s natural leafy form, while also being much cheaper than saccharine. He referred to Stevia as a “sweetening agent of great power”. Nerdy, but true.

To sum things up, Stevia is a wonderful plant that is safe to use and hundreds times sweeter than it’s less-healthy alternatives. Stevia side effects and warnings are nothing to be taken into account, and it’s benefits are vast. Time to get rid of your white sugar and synthetic artificial sweeteners.

“The greatest wealth is health.” - Virgil.

I would really love to hear your thoughts over the subject. If you have a personal experience with Stevia, all the better! What’s your favorite and/or least favorite Stevia supplement and why? How long have you been using it, and what benefits/drawbacks did you experience? If you have anything to share (including Stevia warnings!), there’s a comment box right below. I want to create a nice discussion here, wealthy of information and personal experiences for the confused reader.

About Regev Elya

164 Responses to “Stevia Side Effects and Warnings: Is This Sweetener Safe to Use?”

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  1. Michele Hallahan says:

    Your statement about no side effects is not true- I used Stevia for 2 months and had terrible gut problems from it; it affected my gall bladder, caused constipation and bloating and I had terrible loss of focus and attention. I have nothing to do with the sugar industry and by comparison used agave for years with no problems. I won’t be using stevia again, even though it is a great sugar substitute for me ( I have endometriosis. Sugar is very bad for my metabolism as it mimics oestrogen, which is instrumental in the causes and effects of endometriosis.) I thought Stevia would be my silver bullet but it was not. Don’t be so naive as to think ‘every’ study conducted on Stevia side effects are owned by the sugar companies -that simply is not a statement of fact. Don’t mislead people through lack of adequate research. Stevia is a known contraceptive as well (so it can be used well for that purpose, but women should know that so that if they ARE trying to get pregnant they can eliminate that, in full knowledge.

    • Regev Elya says:

      Hello Michele,

      I appreciate your well-knowledgeable reply.

      The fact that you experienced side effects while using Stevia does not mean that Stevia produces side effects. As always, I’ll stick to the golden rule of statistics and not mix correlation with causation. Our body is a highly-complex biochemical system with each nutrient, each chemical, each anything dependent on each other. It would be a sin to slaughter Stevia’s good reputation based on a few people’s bad experience.

      I looked through many researches and didn’t see anything that supports your statement of which ‘Stevia is a known contraceptive as well’, or any of the above side effects that you experienced. However, I’m open to enlarging my spectrum of knowledge and will appreciate it if you send any proper study in this issue to my email address – regev[at]freshbeetle[dot]com . I’ll make sure to add any new valuable insights to the above article.

      Also, I have to admit that you are right saying that my statement about the sugar industry being involved with Stevia studies is a little bit ‘over-concluded’, but there’s a good chance that the industry is involved, as history recorded when it comes to non-patentable plants. Anyway, thanks for mentioning that.

      Again, appreciate your response and concerns,
      Regev.

      • Amber says:

        I heard the Stevia plant is in close family with ragweed and could make those with ragweed allergies have reactions to Stevia.

        • Jimmy says:

          I used Stevia in the raw this morning for the first time, in my coffee, and had the same symptoms I had as a young man working in the hay fields,runny nose and watery eyes,( an allergie my Doctor then called hay fever) this lasted untill mid afternoon. I`m going to do the same routine for the next few mornings and see if the same symptoms persists. I will post back and let you know, if you like.

          • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

            Hi Jimmy!
            If you’re allergic to any of the plants from the Asteraceae/Compositae family (which includes, ragweed, chrysanthemums, daisies, etc), you might be allergic to Stevia too. We’ll be glad if you could let us know the results of the ‘routine’ you followed !

        • Robyn says:

          Hello I am new to stevia, I have brought the powder,Tablet form and sprinkle form to try. I have read the benefits of its uses and look forward to good things. I have read a few of other peoples comments or more there side effects…. Is it a possibility there bad effects are brought on by the fact there body knows the change in product and maybe its a way of elimination of other badness in there body functions ..almost like a oppersite effect. Or is it possible that the plantleaf could be dried instead of fresh. Or maybe steep the fresh leaf first.
          Sorry i dont possess to be a now all.. just making an out loud comment.

          • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

            Hi Robyn!
            I’m not sure I understand what you mean by this: ‘… by the fact there body knows the change in product and maybe its a way of elimination of other badness in there body functions ..almost like a oppersite effect. Or is it possible that the plantleaf could be dried instead of fresh. Or maybe steep the fresh leaf first.’ Could you please explain a little more regarding your question so I can help you out ? Thanks!

        • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

          Hey Amber!
          Yes you’re absolutely right. If you’re allergic to any of the plants which are part of the Asteraceae/Compositae family, you might be allergic to Stevia. Other plants of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, etc.

          • Umair says:

            hi Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar i am making an research on stevia products because i am a son of a farmer and as you know that Pakistan’s Agriculture is mostly effected because people of here just knows to cultivate wheat,cotton and rice . i want to make change for the control of diabaties patiencs and espically for my family kindly if you disuss it on my email ill would be thanksfull to you i want to start a buisnees where i use my father agri-land to produce stevia and process it towards usefull for people in Pakistan.
            ill strongly wating for your reply on my email beacuse may be i dont vist and may in contact with you in future

            Email: umair_bohar@ucp.edu.pk

    • Stacey says:

      I recently cut sugar out of my diet, along with my husband and daughter. Occasionally, we like to have a sweet, so I bake cookies with stevia or sprinkle xylitol on oatmeal. We use both substances sparingly. The funny thing is… we all feel great. My whole family is more calm, patient and we don’t experience sugar cravings. I never realized how addicted to sugar we were. I think it’s likely that any person who gives up sugar and consumes just a small amount of stevia or xylitol will feel an all over bodily improvement. Conversely, if you were a constant junk food eater and replace sugar with tons of stevia and/or xylitol, you will most likely not be on your way to total health. Moral: be healthy by using common sense!

      • Regev Elya says:

        Words of wisdom, Stacey. I’m happy to hear that you’re all feeling extremely fine. I’m also sure that a constant junk-food-junkie who’d replace sugar with even high amounts of Stevia will feel much better. I haven’t read any study indicating some negative effects of Stevia even in high doses, but I’ll have to admit that some of the comments here made me explore a bit more. Research in this area, unfortunately, is very limited.

      • Frank says:

        Glad for you, Stacey…I am doing the same with my family and I urge you and all others to encourage your friends and families to do the same – we all have to eat the correct foods (mostly natural and NOT processed!) and our bodies will respond in kind! – you keep it up, my girl!

    • Brenda Holgen says:

      I have had loss of focus too with a loss of energy. I am also concerned about the infertility it caused in rats

      • Peter says:

        I figure that the “Industry” need to find a side effect that can take the product out of the market if it is not patentable. The studies they perform is in a over consumption level of mass proportion, where talking about giving rats stevia in an amount equivalent to a human consuming several pounds of stevia per day. That is by common sense not good with anything consumed in too large quantities. But the studies made by PhD´s and other scientists does not actually reveal the true quantity given to lab rats.

      • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

        Hi Brenda!
        Stevia is HIGHLY unlikely to cause those symptoms. As far as infertility is concerned, that particular research used extremely highly doses of stevia on a daily basis. No human can consume stevia in that way which is why that study was not conducted properly. Numerous studies done after that one proved that stevia has no such side effects. People from Paraguay and Brazil have been using this plant as a natural sweetener for ages. If it really caused fertility problems, people from those regions would have major problems having kids – which is not the case. In my opinion, it is just a rumor. Of course, any one would be concerned if something has even 1 in a million chance of causing infertility so to be on the safe side, you can use this in small quantities daily – meaning as a sweetener in your tea, coffee, etc or added to some fruits. Whatever you prefer, remember that anything used in excess is harmful. Here’s a link to help you decide what’s best for you (it has the names of the researches done so far along with their results – which are in the favor of stevia): http://www.stevia.net/safety.htm

        • Frank says:

          when researchers give megadoses of anything to lab animals, they give the impression of fast-tracking the effects and the public is fooled BUT if you give mega doses of anything to lab animals, their organs can be overwhelmed causing immediate health issues -why don’t they give mega-doses of zorcor and the likes to lab rats? – we will be shocked at the results!

    • Honesty says:

      Maybe you got something else..I bought some stevia at Walmart and let me tell you,It was not Stevia i have no idea what it was but i had been using Stevia for years and ran out. I picked up some at my local Walmart and had to throw it out.So try Swanson’s in the packets..or better yet grow your own like i know do.

    • Ron Green says:

      Don’t mislead people when there is plenty of adequate research like the one from the 1970′s, called Sugar-pure white and deadly. Still the sweetener industry is stronger than ever with sugar, corn syrup and bad artificial sweeteners. Industry and politics are both interested in getting the money, not in the consumer’s health.

      • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

        Honesty and Ron Green have both stated some harsh facts – and unfortunately, I completely agree with both of you. One really has to understand the basics of how things work and where they come from before judging the credibility of what the media, advertisements and big companies tell us. I was shocked to read so many discouraging articles/posts regarding the the use of stevia. In a perfect world, there would be massive campaigns against refined good and the likes but oh well, that’s another discussion.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi there Michele!
      I’m sorry to hear about your condition, I hope you’re doing better now. There are barely any proven side effects of Stevia. Mild side effects such as diarrhea, bloating, etc have been experienced but these usually go away with time. I have been using it from the past 5 years and have personally never experienced any side effects whatsoever but then again, we are all very different physiologically. I know a lot of families who use this sweetener on a daily basis like me and have never experienced any side effects. Personal experiences aside, let’s get down to the latest research. Here’s a link, go through the papers listed (you can look them up on googlescholar if you have concerns regarding the authenticity of the statements made here) and decide for yourself: http://www.stevia.net/safety.htm

      The use of stevia as a contraceptive is merely a rumor. That particular study fed rats extremely large amount of stevia (which no human could possibly take in). Numerous studies done after that particular one failed to elicit the same results which is why the credibility of the first study has been questioned time and again. Suppose stevia could be used as a contraceptive – how come pharmaceutical companies haven’t started researching on that alternative use? It’s another potential contraceptive then, isn’t it? I’m not taking any sides, but the silence of the ‘big pharma’ regarding stevia’s potential contraceptive use does make me think. What about you?

      As for endometriosis, what’s your source regarding the fact that sugars mimic estrogen? That’s not true. Substances such as flax seed, soy, hummus, etc can do that but not sugars. Sugars (and other refined food substances) increase the acidity in your body and that increases the pain which you experience in endometriosis. Interestingly, if stevia were really a conctraceptive, it would be good for those with endometriosis since one of the therapies for this disease includes the administration of contraceptive or birth control pills. However, research shows that stevia is NOT a contraceptive. The ONE study which did prove that, as I said earlier, was not even properly conducted.

      I wouldn’t say you should start taking stevia in large quantities but it is perfectly safe for usage as a sweetener to avoid the extra calories of refined sugar. After all, nothing’s good when taken in excess. If I can provide you with any more information, please let me know. I’ll be glad if you have something to share. :)

    • nox_lumen says:

      BUYER BE WARE!!!!! Though many new products are now bragging about the stevia used in them right on the front of the package, unless you check the label closely for each and every one, there is also a good chance you are getting sugar alcohols like Erythritol, known to cause gas and bloating as well as dextrose and matodextrin. Even though “Stevia in the Raw” sounds like it should be a pure and natural form, it’s actually a blend of filler and white (processed) stevia that has little resemblance to the powered plant and is anything but pure, as you will see when you read the ingredients list right on the box.

      With so many companies trying to cash in on a new trend, the sad truth is that many are also trying to use products they already have good deals on along side the “new” sweetener and tend to be more concerned about profit margins then what the old additives do to the costumer. Before we blame the plant for bad reactions, it’s best to check what else we may have consumed with it.

  2. Jim Feudner says:

    I’m using Stevia and am not suffering any side effects I can detect. The statement about the FDA making a comment about the safety, or lack of harm about Stevia, doesn’t make me feel better, given the FDAs record with honesty. More studies are needed by groups not associated with the industries involved.

  3. Sarah says:

    Not only have I NOT experienced and side affects, I actually feel less, considerably less, aches and pains since switching over to stevia from sweet n low and splenda, as suggested to me by someone with much knowledge on this subject. I have RA and the accompanying muscle problems that some RA patients have. This sweetner has helped to lessen the symptoms.

    • Regev Elya says:

      I’m happy to hear that Sarah, Thanks for sharing. It’s very interesting, never heard of a possible potential relation between RA and Stevia before.

      • Victor Zimmer says:

        I’m not here to be an ars on Stevia, it actually seems to be a quite good alternative…
        But if it ‘reduces pain and aches’ that would rather worry me than make me happy, painkillers generally is bad :P

      • Linda says:

        ….kinda sounds more like a relation between RA and Sweet N Low and Splenda exacerbating the RA symptoms and eliminating those substances helped, rather than Stevia acting like a pain reliever….but that’s just an off the cuff observation.

      • Ben says:

        In regards to Sarah’s comment, The Splenda lets off certain toxins in the body, one of which is formaldehyde, which causes pain. Switching from Splenda, Nutrasweet and several others is bound to lessen pain.

        • Aly says:

          It actually aspartame that emits/turns into formaldehyde. Aspartame (sweet n low) is also a known neurotoxin. Splenda however is so close to chlorine that those who are allergic to it cannot consume Splenda.
          I would like to add that I am a fan of stevia but with some added caution. When things gain popularity (as stevia is now getting) companies begin to make shortcuts or “improvements” to the products to save money or attract attention. I would say that it’s never a bad idea to try and get it in it’s most natural form as possible. Kudos to those growing the plant. As for side effects, it has been known by some to have a laxative effect if you use too much of it. It doesn’t make it bad, it’s just important to use it in moderation. You know what they say about too much of a good thing :)

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Sarah!
      That’s an interesting observation and as far as I know, it’s not the introduction of the Stevia but the removal of splenda from your diet that seems to have reduced the symptoms. As many others people have commented here, splenda is sort of like a toxin that makes inflammation worse. You might know by now that Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused due to inflammation. Stevia doesn’t cause any such effects and that’s why you have noticed that you’re feeling better.

  4. gingerke@yahoo.com says:

    I have been using stevia daily for several months. I have been using quite a bit, I drink tea with stevia, approximately 4-5 times a day. I have developed twitching in my right eye. I was wondering if anyone else may be experiencing this or have heard of it being a side effect of stevia, Thanks.

    • Regev Elya says:

      A general statistical rule of thumbs to follow is to never mix correlation with causation. Although there is a theoretical possibility that Stevia did cause that eye twitching, there are a lot more components involved and it would be impossible to tell if Stevia is the one to blame. (without a controlled study)

      I personally never heard of eye twitching involved with Stevia. It sounds more of a neural symptom of some deficiency. I’d suggest you to go through a blood test for nutrients deficiencies and see if you lack something. This is one of the vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, but again – let’s not mix correlation with causation. The only thing I can say is I’d personally go through a blood test and then see where to go next.

      Good luck,
      Regev.

      • Sandra Kosmajac says:

        I think anything to do with twitching has to do with a Calcium loss, usually associated with too much sweets in the diet (that kicks the calcium out)… So I would stick with less Stevia & then only WHOLE LEAF powder.
        Possible that it will pull some B vitamins as well, B12 included, if used extensively. 1/2 teaspoon per use would be sufficient, I feel.
        P.S. Use 1/2 teaspoon of Stevia Green Leaf powder (organic from MountainRoseHerbs, from Eugene OR), per cup or approx. 10-12 oz of filtered water, as in Herbal teas…

      • Helene says:

        I have been using Stevia for approximately a year and starting getting twitching in my left eye about 2 months ago. I would say that over the past month the twitching is occurring more often. I use a minimal about — about 1/4 teaspoon to each cup of coffee or closer to 1/8′, and I have 2 cups in am and 1 at end of day sometimes. Do you know if there are side effects from using Stevia with herbs or other natural products. I have Mint tea each day and sometimes another cup in evening. Just wondering if it could be something like that …

    • Tom says:

      Strange coincidence, but I also have developed twitching in both eyes after using pure stevia for a while.

      • JenniferRE says:

        Sorry couldn’t help letting you know that a while back I suddenly developed eye twitches -but I had never had Stevia

    • Angela says:

      To Gingerke@yahoo.com

      I have been searching all over Google about this too.
      I have also been experiencing eye-twitching of my right upper eyelid for about 5 months, everyday. After experimenting with my Stevia usage, I notice that everytime I eliminate it from my diet, the twitching stops. Coincidence I think not.
      I have weaned myself of Stevia completely now and no longer experience eye-twitching.
      Research NEEDS to be done on this!!!

      • Regev Elya says:

        That’s very, very interesting. Thank you. As you can see, you’re not the first who mention eye-twitching. Will have to dig into this a little bit deeper, will update here for any findings.

      • Suzy says:

        Can’t believe it! I’ve had my left eye twitching for a year now. Was getting very worried but it ties in exactly since I switched to using stevia.

        S

    • Rene says:

      gingerke, your eye twiching could be a sign of dehydration…tea is known for that.

    • Coz says:

      Hello, I read your post about eye twitching due to Stevia use. I have used Stevia for a few years now, and on about 3 occasions including now I have had twitching usually in my left eye. I am currently experiencing it again.

      I assumed it was from drinking espresso drinks daily and sometimes becoming depleted of potassium and other minerals. However, when this problem first occurred I suspected the Stevia cut back on use. The twitching went away, but has come back now. I will try that again now, and attempt to distinguish between the 2 possible causes.

      Another possible reason for the recurrence might be due to taking the combination of espresso and Stevia on an empty stomach, for the last month. The difficulty in narrowing down the cause is that the eye twitching can be caused by both caffeine and apparently Stevia consumption. (I use 2 to 4 packets daily)

      • Coz says:

        I determined that the eye lid twitch I was having was definitely caused by the stevia product I was using. This is unfortunate, because NuNaturals had the best tasting blend I have ever used. It has other ingredients;Malodextrin and “other natural flavors”. I will try the pure form and see it that works. In the mean time I am using Erythritol.

        • Arie says:

          Stevia in the Raw has as its first ingredients Maltodextrin! For myself, the maltodextrin has caused me continual stomach cramps, weight gain & bloating. I appreciate your web-site here so that I could also find an email from Coz, having the same discovery of the primary ingredient of MALTODEXTRIN in this “Stevia product” as it PRODUCES DEBILITATING SIDE EFFECTS. I will use a pure ORGANIC STEVIA from now on. thanks so much for your care of our health & the planet.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      After reading the comment from gingerke@yahoo.com and all the others who posted in reply to that regarding stevia as the possible cause of eye twitching, here’s what I have to say:
      Stevia has NOT been proven to cause any such side effect. Medically, eye twitching is something that is not a particular symptom on its own and is said to be idiopathic (something whose cause isn’t known) and something that does not require treatment. Many people experience it time and again but it carries literally no medical significance when it occurs alone. If there is accompanying pain, problems with vision, etc or symptoms in other part of the body, you need to consult your doctor. Twitching of any group of muscles can be due to a derangement in your calcium levels (as one of our readers has pointed out) but eye twitching alone would be the least likely presentation of such an issue. To sum up, if you have other issues along with eye twitching or if this symptom alone is causing you problems, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Theoretically speaking, research could be done on the relationship between stevia and eye twitching but this symptoms carries little or no medical significance which is why no one would really be interested in conducting that sort of study. Again, its highly unlikely for the stevia to cause that twitching and other causes need to be looked into.

      • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

        Also, for any one who is experiencing eye spasms, any of the following could be the possible cause (however, there isn’t much proof regarding these causes as the actual reasons behind the intermittent eye-spasms since not everyone who experiences these problems gets eye spasms) :
        -Stress,
        -Dry eyes,
        -Sleep disturbances,
        -Alcohol intake,
        -Caffeine intake,
        -Bright Lights,
        -Fatigue.

        Hope this helps guys!

  5. Donna says:

    Has anyone used Stevia during pregnancy and breastfeeding time? I’m thinking of buying ‘Stevia in the raw’ as a substitute for sugar but there is a lack of information when it comes to Stevia and breastfeeding. More research needed I guess. /:

    • Kate says:

      I don’t have any research for you, but as a nursing mother I am trying to be more aware of what I eat. Due to the many negatives of consuming sugar and even more problems related to artificial sweeteners, I thought I would try stevia as well. I do have a word of caution if you decide to try it – be careful to READ THE INGREDIENTS when purchasing any and all products. I recently bought “Stevia in the Raw” and later found that it actually contained two ingredients, the first being maltodextrin followed by stevia extract. I haven’t yet been back to the store to see what else is available. I will definitely remember to check the ingredients next time, even when the front of the packaging says 100% natural (obviously not the same thing as 100% stevia, but I was shopping with my 2 boys, both under the age of 2 so I guess I got distracted). Another natural sugar alternative you can consider is agave nectar, which is kinder to the body than sugar, but it does still contain calories.

      • Regev Elya says:

        Valuable points. Titles and labels can be misleading, and often are. ‘Natural’ is a common trap. For Stevia’s sake – even Cyanide is natural.

        Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

      • Mark says:

        I noticed the same thing when 1st looking into using Stevia. The one I settled on was 100% Pure Stevia extract found at Trader’s Joe in a small seasoning container. It was the only Stevia product I found that only listed Stevia as an ingriedient. So far the only side effect I have had is a loss of 20 pounds, but I believe it plausable that individuals can have allergies to it just like anything else. I would advise anyone experiencing any negative effects to be seen by a doctor and have bloodwork done. I also use very little amounts of Stevia per day. Just today a friend was trying to tell me about the negative effects of Stevia based on a study of a daily consumption of 1500mg per day. I laughed because anyone who has tried Stevia knows you cannot consume that much unless your tolerance to sweetness is rediculously high and even then I’d have my doubts. I was looking for this study when I ran across this article. On the issue of eye twitching, I would seriously get checked out in every way before making possible false statements. When I had eyeproblems many years ago, before ever trying Stevia, my 1st action was an appointment with an eye doctor. Just saying.

    • Clair says:

      Hi Donna, I’m a nursing mom. I just wanted to share that I don’t eat much sugar. However, when I do eat a lot of sugar because of a social situation (by a lot of sugar, I mean cake and ice cream for a birthday) my milk production goes way down. Three birthdays in the past three weeks, each time I could tell I had less milk because I wouldn’t be engorged in the morning after not nursing several hours.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Donna!
      There isn’t enough research regarding Stevia’s use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Although it is considered harmless, I would still advise you not to use to it while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding because these two processes involve more than just your own body – what happens at the fetal level is much more complicated and many substances which are harmless to us can damage numerous parts of the growing fetus and baby. It’s better to wait for some helpful research to come along till Stevia can safely be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  6. Seema says:

    I’m planning to start on Stevia, as recommended by my cousin. After reading ur article and following comments, I M little scared though. I M suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, M advised to lose some weight. Is it really ok to make the switch?? I M from India, R there any particular brands to look out for?

    • Regev Elya says:

      This is by no means a medical advice, but it should be perfectly fine. Make sure you read my post about vitamin B12 deficiency so that you know how to address it better. Stevia will actually help you lose weight because it doesn’t affect blood-glucose anywhere like sugar. (I guess you’re using sugar right now, right?)

      Regarding brands, I have zero idea what’s being sold in India. You can grow your own organic Stevia if you’re into that.

  7. Yet another “testimonial” for Stevia. I’m an octogenarian who had several years ago developed Type II diabetes. By means of a plant-based diet (hate to classify myself with some “ism”), I have brought the tell-tale signs and symptoms back to normalcy. I have used Stevia for the past four years without so much as a hint of blood sugar imbalance. Also, and this is purely anecdotal, by switching from “normal” sugars to Stevia my Candida has disappeared. Since I live in South America, I am able to grow my own organic plants …. thus saving money and insuring the purity.

  8. Tim Brown says:

    This site is awsome! Such a wide variety of well written, informative health articles, and great feedback too!

  9. Jacs says:

    I have just stared using Stevia in the last few days.I have had diarrhea from the first day. No stomach pain or nausea, just the dirrhea. Have you heard of this before and will it settle down. I would really like to use it in place of sugar. Thanks for your time.

    • Regev Elya says:

      Hey Jacs,
      I can’t tell you if it’ll settle down, or even if Stevia is the thing to cause it. You’ll have to visit a medical professional for that. I have not heard of this issue before, but the good old ‘first time always’ cliche tells me you should visit a doc, just in case. It’ll be much appreciated if you can report the findings. (Thanks!)

      Regarding sugar, you really should not consume it, no matter what. Even if you decide to ditch Stevia altogether, you still have other options (In fact, a reader just mailed me a few days ago, asking about Blue Agave), even though I haven’t heard much complains about Stevia.

    • Natalie says:

      Stevia IS the cause…I used it and had the same effect: diarrhea. And yes I know it was from that. Had the same thing happen the first time I used it. Then didn’t use it for awhile after that. Then decided to use it again about a month later and surprise…I got diarrhea again! But because I had used more, I also felt bloated and the diarrhea was worse. That doesn’t mean it will happen to everyone, but to deny these side-effects are caused by stevia is to purposely close your mind. It is still a good product for many people…I just wish I could learn to drink plain black coffee. Thanks for listening.

      • Irene says:

        I wonder if Stevia also causes the constipation I have.

        • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

          Hey Irene,
          Fortunately, Stevia is not known to cause constipation. Other possible side effects include diarrhea, nausea, bloating, etc. However, these are pretty rare and most people don’t generally experience any side effects.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Jacs!
      Yes, diarrhea is one of the uncommon side effects of stevia (and it occurs in very few individuals) but it usually disappears when you keep using Stevia. If it doesn’t, there might be another cause (infections, mal-absorption disorders, etc). In addition to that, I completely agree with what Regev has said regarding the use of refined sugars (try to avoid it as much as possible). Hope this helps!

  10. Brenda Holgen says:

    I just started using Stevia and have just not had the energy and focus that I did before. Also, my 20 y/o daughter is concerned about infertility issues we found on-line. Could my lack of energy and focus be due to the Stevia? I can’t trace it to anything else.

    • Regev Elya says:

      Hey Brenda!
      How’s your overall diet? Sugar is actually known to be a major contributor to a lack of focus and energy, which is ironic. Do you consume the same amount of calories you used to consume before? (I’m really not a ‘fan’ off the calorie unit, but it can be a good indicator here for the amount of food you generally eat each day)

      • Brenda Holgen says:

        The fatigue and muscle aches must have not been from Stevia. I am still using it and feel fine

  11. Patty says:

    Can Stevia cause G.I. problems? I’m wondering if Stevia can be used as a sweetener for an elderly person who suffers from chronic diarrhea. I’ve been trying to find out if diarrhea can result from the use of Stevia like it can from artificial sweeteners. Thanks, Patty.

    • Regev Elya says:

      Hey Patty,

      I don’t see any potential negative health effects with Stevia in regards to diarrhea. MayoClinic lists “fructose, sorbitol and manitol as potential diarrhea triggers”, but does not include Stevia in their list, although it might be because of lack of research.

      Anyway, I’d put a close eye on my diet if I were you, it’s easy to avoid diarrhea and other chronic conditions once you fix your overall diet. Try to eliminate dairy products as well and see how it works. My advice should not replace a doctor though, please visit one if the problem persists.

    • Patricia says:

      When my elderly mother had diarrhea we were advised to bulk up her diet so that she had enough fibre. If I had
      known about psyllium husks (not the powder) I think we would have solved her problems easily. I daily teaspoon with at least 300 mls of juice or water on am empty stomach should do the trick. It is mild as it expands like a jelly and works both to calm diarrhea and to soften stools with constipation. Here in Zimbabwe it is expensive as an imported health food but at an Indian shop it was really cheap. Why not google it and see if you want to try it out. Good luck with this.

  12. Ann says:

    I used 1 packet of stevia for the first time yesterday and the rest of the day I had the runs and a total clean out of my bowels. Coincidence??? I don’t want to try it again for awhile to check this out. Has anyone any information about this??

    • mary says:

      Throughout the years I have been Rx medications and have undocumented side effects. Doctors and manufactures told me that it wasn’t the meds i was taking. Years later reading the side effects of one of these drugs lo and behold the side effect I experienced was now on the side effect list.I now make sure I only try one thing at a time. If I have any strange symptoms I stop what I’m taking if the symptom goes away I trust my bodies knowledge of whats good or bad for it.I always inform my Doctor if I stop a medication and ask for an alternative. I have tried stevia several times and experience loose stools. Not enough of a problem to quit using it ,this time I use half the amt and add blue agave with it. In this way I’m still cutting my calorie intake and satisfying my cravings for sweets.

      • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

        Hi Mary!
        What you said about the new additions to the list of possible side effects of medications is true. Science continues to grow and so does the list of new drugs introduced into the market. Mostly, side effects, interactions, etc are researched upon before licensing the drug for sale (or at least, that’s what they tell us); stuff keeps coming up – sometimes these are additions to our previous beliefs and sometimes even new theories which prove the old ones wrong.
        Thanks for sharing that info with us. Diarrhea or loose stools are a side effect of stevia but like you said, not bad enough for someone to stop using it.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hello Ann!
      What you experienced was not a coincidence, it is one of the side effects of Stevia (albeit uncommon). Most people do not experience such side effects and when they do, they tend to go away with time. Try taking it in small quantities till your body gets used to it. If the diarrhea persists, there might also be some other underlying condition which would require a visit to your doctor (the chances of that are small but it’s always good to know just to be on the safe side).

  13. David says:

    From what i’ve experienced with plant based juice fasting the comments expressing lack of concentration, focus, & twitching sound more like severe sugar withdrawal than may be attributed to starting with Stevia. Then again, anything done to an extreme usually has some causality. New studies out show the average American consumes more than 1/2 POUND of sugar per day. In all its many cleverly hidden forms. That means most of us consume far more? Withdrawal from any severe harmful addiction is going to produce side affects. And probably for long periods of time until completely out of the system in all its forms. Could these individuals be craving new levels of carbohydrate intake, or some other compensating food intake, while their body searches for something to fill the sudden sugar void? Then what symptoms are a new level of these diet items producing?

    PS i’m not a medical doctor, but i do possess an honorary doctorate in another unrelated science field… i’m just someone trying to stay healthy… But i do know from many years of research studying various cause and effects resulting from design change that apparent symptoms can often be the result of what may have been removed, as could be from what may have been added.

    • Regev Elya says:

      Superb observation, David. It’s true, it’s very common to be mixing correlation with causation, and it’s no difference when it comes to the Stevia plant side effects. Your points are golden, thanks for contributing.

  14. Anne says:

    I had 1 packet of stevia in 1 cup of coffee. That should not constitute as sugar withdrawal. I had nothing with the coffee that could cause this result. Has anyone else had this happen to them?????

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Anne!
      I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that. If you meant that you experienced sugar withdrawal symptoms after you stopped using the usual refined sugar, etc that you use and switched to stevia, sugar withdrawal could occur. However, if you’re implying that you experienced these symptoms after using just a packet of stevia, that’s not really possible. I’ll be able to help you out in more detail once you can tell me exactly what you meant. Thanks! :)

  15. Mia says:

    Been using stevia for over a year now. I have not experienced any negative reactions. I now grow my own (easy to do so), and use it just like sugar in everything. My hubby still uses the powdered stevia in his coffee, and sometimes Splenda (not approved by me). Stevia,Agave ang Honey are the only sweeteners in my house.

    • Regev Elya says:

      Awesome, Mia! It’s great you’re enjoying the various Stevia benefits and side effects are nonexisting. I’m on the same boat as you.

  16. Joanne says:

    Hi,
    I use Stevia and a co-worker uses Organic Blue Agave. They told me Blue Agave is the best, safest sugar substitute and I should use it instead of Stevia. I was bouncing around to get reviews on both – your information seems honest but I couldn’t find anything on Blue Agave…have you ever heard of it?

    • Regev Elya says:

      Hello Joanne,
      I was checking things up since that message of yours. I’ve talked to someone I know who’s been using it for a while and he says it’s sort of like Stevia (no glycemic-index, super-sweet) but has no strange after-taste (which many people don’t notice, so I guess it’s personal taste). So, it looks good on paper, but I’ll have research more and write a whole new article about it. It does look a bit more expensive than Stevia, at least here in Israel which is where I am at the moment.

      Cheers,
      Regev.

      • Joanne says:

        Hi Regev,
        One thing I noticed at the store yesterday is that unlike Stevia, Blue Agave does have calories, carbs & sugars where as Stevia that I use shows none of these on the label. I guess I’m concerned about side effects of either since Stevia “seems” better for you. Thanks so much…let me know when you are done with your research, I’d love to read the article

  17. Dr. Alex says:

    I have done few research about stevia and there are no strong evidences that stevia really cause side-effects. Considering that Stevia is a natural herb, ti causes less side-effects than other sugar substitutes. Before we believe some critics of stevia, we should take note that the side-effects they are pertaining may be due to other factors present in the person itself and not really the result of stevia.

    • Regev Elya says:

      You’re definitely right, Dr. Alex. Mixing correlation with causation is a common misconception.

  18. Susan says:

    I have been using stevia for over a year. I use a lot of it becasue I drink several ice teas during the day and two cups of coffee in the morning. I have found that I now struggle with concentration and never put the connection together until I read the comments. I think I will switch back to the chemical stuff for a week and see if there is a difference. This dialog has been helpful

  19. Estelle says:

    I too have right eye twitching but attribute it to stress, of which I have plenty. I would love it if stevia would cleanse my colon, but alas, not so. I like the sweetness of stevia, the powder from the health food store or what I can purchase on line is sweeter than what can be purchased at the grocers, even the consistency is different. I still consume to much sugar and consider it an addiction, one I’d like to break free of..

    • Regev Elya says:

      When I stopped eating sugar back in the day, it didn’t take too long for me to get adjusted to the new taste of even sweetless tea, coffee and stuff like that. Stevia is not your only option, I’ve read some good things about Agave as well, though I’d have to research that a bit deeper for a proper article to be written on the subject.

  20. Louise Williams says:

    I believe I have been experiencing stevia side effects for months. I’ve been nauseous, dizzy, have headaches and bloated and tired. I switched from raw sugar to stevia in everything at least once a day and have been feeling downright awful.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Louise!
      I’m sorry to hear about your condition..I hope you’re feeling better now. Stevia does, on rare occasions, produce those side effects. Taking too much of it suddenly can be the cause. It’s definitely better than the artificial sweeteners available these days so if you want to continue using it, try increasing it gradually (for example increase your intake by 1 packet weekly or fortnightly, whichever suits your better). That will give your body some time to get used to it. If you’ve been using refined sugars and are a big fan of desserts and the likes, it will take your body a while to get used to the natural stuff. However, it will get used to it eventually if you add these new ‘alternatives’ slowly. Hope this helps!

  21. Irene says:

    I’ve been using Stevia for at least six months.I’ve also been sufferieng from constipation lately, and I wonder if Stevia could be a side effect.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Irene!
      Like I said earlier, Stevia does not produce constipation. It does, however, produce nausea, bloating, diarrhea, etc on rare occasions but these side effects disappear over time.

  22. Susan says:

    I have been using stevia in my tea for well over 2 years as here in the south, we like our tea sweet. I seem to develop a stiff neck when using stevia and wondered if there was a connection. There have been times that I cut back on stevia & the neck problems seem to subside as well. Didn’t know if anyone else has the same sort of problem.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Susan!
      Furtunately, Stevia does not have anything to do with neck stiffness or any such neurological and/or muscular problems. That is, if you’re really taking the real stevia. There are a lot of fake sweeteners out there which have other ingredients in addition to stevia so be sure to get the real stuff. As long as you have that, rest assured that you won’t be getting any such side effects. If the problem persists, don’t use it as it might have some harmful additives. Try an alternative brand or if you want, you can even grow it in your own garden. If there’s anything else I can help you out with, let me know.

  23. Mainutt says:

    Just found the site and really wanted to say thanks for being so thorough in your
    post

  24. Tracy says:

    I recently had blood work done and according to the test I am allergic to stevia (and dairy and wheat/flour/gluten). I don’t want to go back to artificial sweeteners. What would you recommend. I appreciate your site, it is very informative.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Tracey!
      I’m sorry to hear that. It’s good you don’t want to use artificial sweeteners. There’s been a lot of hype over the ‘agave nectar.’ You might hear that it has a low glycemic index, blah blah. It’s not a true alternative to stevia or natural sweeteners. Simply said, it’s just high-fructose syrup and fructose in such large amounts is not good for your body since it messes up your leptin levels (a hormone involved in the regulation of appetite, weight gain, etc) and therefore, causes weight gain. So my answer is that there really isn’t an alternative to stevia. People propose agave but it’s not healthier than sugar, honey, etc. Try sugar-free stuff for a while – eventually, that’s the best for our bodies. As long as you’re eating fruits, etc, it’s all good. But try to keep away from the artificial/refined stuff as much as you can. The temporary good taste in your mouth is definitely not worth the harm that these food items cause in your body.

  25. Debbi says:

    I have used Stevia for over a year and have noticed no side effects until this summer. My usage has increased with iced tea consumption this summer, and I am now wondering if the increase has led to the diarhea and nausea I’ve been experiencing recently. I thought it was medication, but have stopped the suspected offender only to find no change in the symptoms. I may need to cut out stevia for a time and see if that helps. I really hope it’s something else…

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Debbi !
      Unfortunately, Stevia is the most likely cause of your symptoms. However, you can get rid of these symptoms if you increase the daily intake of stevia slowly. That way, your symptoms will improve over time and you’ll be able to keep using stevia.

  26. Sophie says:

    Used Stevia for the first time. mixed in with an organic Magnesium supplement and had a reaction I have with all artificial sweeteners.

    I start with a headache, then sinus pressure and slightly swollen tongue, total “fuzzy” brain and no appetite.
    Very strange.

    Too bad….I wanted to like it.

    I ‘ll just stay off sugar as i have since 1991.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Sophie!
      That’s somewhat absurd because Stevia isn’t like the artificial sweeteners at all. It’s highly likely that what you tried wasn’t real stevia at all and probably was a mixed up form of some other sweeteners. The symptoms you described point towards an allergy and since stevia isn’t an artificial sweetener (it’s derived from a plant therefore, it is natural), it’s not possible for you to have the same reaction to it which you experience with artificial sweeteners.

  27. Clare Lyne says:

    I would just like to say I have read every post because I am looking for a safe alternative to sugar due to severe and ongoing oral thrush which from research I have found out is due to ongoing candida infection which feeds on particularly sugars in the diet. Alot of the comments about side affects found when sugar is stopped and replaced with the natural alternative stevia sound to me as if they could be linked to candida, something called “die off” effects when the candida is no longer fed by sugar and the effects it has on the bowels when you stop feeding the candida infection but do not heal it with natural anti-fungal drugs like oil of oregano and pre/ probiotics which strengthen the bowels as die off is occurring. I have been a sufferer of what I was diagnosed with being I.B.S for most of my life(another condition I now believe could have been caused by long term candida overgrowth) and found when I first started using the treatment the reaction in my bowels was severe but with perseverance and a specific probiotic which is designed to calm the bowel in transit I have coped much better. I have cut down my sugar intake and was thinking of replacement but thought I would try to get over the worst of my side effects from candida die off first which interestingly include “brain fog”, “sleep disturbance”, “twitchy eye”, “stomach cramps”, “diahorrea” until starting bowelcalm and respiratory sinus allergy problems not unlike some people’s reaction to what they thought was stevia, but mine occurred without any use of stevia. I think most of the symptoms experienced in the early use stage of stevia described could be these “die off” of candida reactions I have been experiencing and continuing with the sugar replacement and a low sugar diet will clear up these symtoms indefinitely. More information can be found about the symptoms I have described very easily but I am sure none of them are directly linked to stevia or the use of it.candida overgrowth can be linked to many serious health problems including endometriosis as one lady is suffering and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It can mimic some serious illnesses and cause others. Simply reducing the candida overgrowth can have significant health benefits and a vast improvement in symptoms My only regret is that I did not find this information until now and have suffered the side effects of my condition for years thinking it was just something I had to put up with. If we open our minds and do not just blame the latest edition to our journey to a better diet i.e stevia then we will be all round healthier happier people and our generation will hopefully help future ones stop our unhealthy addiction to refined sugar which is making us so ill.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hello Clare!
      You’re very right when it comes to what refined sugar does to us but I don’t agree with what you said about the symptoms described by others being linked to candida ‘die off.’ I’m a little concerned about your candida infection. How are you now? Have you consulted a physician about this? It’s not normal to have this infection for such a long time and like you said, it points out at multiple causes. When we’re healthy, our immune system is strong enough to fight it. Infections such as candida only show up when we have underlying immunological problems, dietary deficiencies, etc. You should visit a doctor regarding this and I’m sure he/she will try to find out the underlying cause and remove that (I don’t think the I.B.S has anything to do with candida unless it’s so bad that you’re suffering from chronic malabsorption and thus, a dietary deficiency). If there’s anything else I can help you out with, please let me know! Good luck!

  28. Tricia says:

    I’ve used Stevia for a couple of months now and I use a moderate amount. I’m now struggling with very uncomfortable constipation and gas. The only change in I in habit, diet or lifestyle I can come up with is the Stevia. Anyone else have this symptom?

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Tricia!
      Stevia usually doesn’t cause any side effects. It can rarely produce only a mild degree of loose stools, bloating, etc. However, these should not be strong enough as to force a person to discontinue using stevia and he/she will get better with time as their body gets used to stevia. Stevia does not cause constipation so the likely cause can be a fake brand of stevia (trust me, there’s a lot of that stuff being sold out there). Make sure you’re buying the right brand.

  29. Gina says:

    I get a TREMENDOUS response from stevia. Not once, not twice, BUT -every- time I eat it. I get neurological symptoms that are very upsetting. After I drink it or eat it any amount I experience the following symptoms: numbness in the face, dizziness upon movement; electric “crackling” sensations down the cervical spine, and between the shoulder blades, a sense of anxiety and doom, and eye-lid twitching.

    The handful of times I eat it, I get these responses – without fail. It is NOT coincidence.

    Please be careful eating this poison.

    • Victor Zimmer says:

      How long after consumption do you get these symptoms?

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Gina!
      It’s literally impossible for Stevia to cause such symptoms, it has nothing to do with your nervous system! You most probably tried something which wasn’t real stevia (that sort of stuff is very common these days so beware!).

  30. Katie says:

    Hmm… lots of good stuff here. I believe the truth may lie somewhere in the middle. It seems many bold statements are being made on BOTH sides.

    While I agree that certainly, that some symptoms can just simply be withdrawal or detox symptoms for SOME… it can’t be for others (or for ALL), who say, they got a reaction the 1st time & every time.

    I believe, that, like ANY food, SOME people are having an allergic reaction or food sensitivity, for THEM personally.

    SOME people go into anaphalactic shock w/ nuts, or gluten, fish, etc… but that does not mean THAT food is poisonous, but it is to THAT person. So, THAT person should avoid it, for sure. It’s not fair though to label that food as “poison”.

    I too, am curious to what side effects there may be w/ stevia use. My 11 yr. old son & I have been having mood & focus issues… fatigue… etc… even bloating, feeling nauseous. I had no idea why though…. perhaps WE are having a sensitivity/ allergy to it… DARN!!- if that’s the case! ;-)

    But I actually came to check it out because of something else: I’ve taken out sugar for some time now… even fruits for several days… and still having symptoms of candida in the mouth & down south… particularly just after having home-made hemp milk made w/ stevia… very strange…. but…. I am NOT saying it was caused by stevia… but am definitely baffled…. still trying to pinpoint what’s going on. I don’t see how it COULD be stevia though, as it has no carbs right??

    I also have leaky gut, and avoid grains & carbs… so I wonder if the same people who experience gut issues w/ this have gut issues/ sensitivities to begin with, but maybe don’t yet realize it… although, I haven’t had any constipation/ or diarrhea w/ stevia myself.

    Yeah, I definitely would like to see some real studies done;
    although the experience of others is helpful in the mean time,
    but to be taken w/ consideration to the whole big picture.

    Definitely, some are reacting negatively to it, as w/ any food can, and there is w/drawal & detox symptoms…. not always the same answer for each person…. depends on how long, and who… etc…

    Sure would like it to work out for me though….

    I wonder how you folks that grow it, use this stuff?? I’ve grown a few plants… let it dry, used it in my smoothie… and it just gave it a green taste… blugh… ;-(

    Thanks for the discussion!!

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Katie!
      Thanks for sharing some great thoughts! :)
      Here’s a link to help you through some valuable studies which have been done on stevia so far : http://www.stevia.net/safety.htm

      The main problem is that many people end up buying some fake sweetener in the name of Stevia or whatever they get has some additives combined with the real thing which makes their bodies react. Whether it’s big pharma trying to get people to stop using Stevia or it’s the companies selling fake stuff because it’s cheap, I don’t really know for sure. What matters is that we need to do our own research and understand how things work before just believing any one blindly. Some people are good at convincing others and can give very sound arguments but it’s really not worth it if we have no background knowledge about what they’re discussing. Be extra careful when you buy Stevia (and everything else too, of course! ) because you never know what you might be buying in the name of this sweetener!

  31. imdone69 says:

    I have been using stevia for 4 day. I’m a diabitic and I wanted something different then splender , but after 4 days of my stomach cramping I’M DONE . I have given up using all sugar free in diet products which I am happy. I been doing so good over the years controlling my sugar I’m gone start back putting sugar in my diet cos all this stuff artifical sweetner in stevia is not good for you who want to wait just to find out 5 years from now that all this stuff causes cancer not me and if I was you I would go back to sugar after you learn how to control yourself from eating to much of it — before its to late peace

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hello ‘imdone69!’
      As I’ve mentioned in the comment above, you might have ended up buying the ‘fake’ stevia. It usually doesn’t cause side effects and even if it does, they’re never bad enough to make a person quit it altogether. Its possible side effects include, diarrhea, bloating, etc. You can still try it if you can find the real thing but like you said, as long as you stay away from sugar-containing stuff, that’s good enough too. Hope you’re doing better now! :)

  32. Texas Gal says:

    One thing I have noticed in trying to buy Stevia at a regular grocery store/supermarket — ALL THE BRANDS they have there HAVE SUGAR MIXED WITH THE STEVIA. It may be cane sugar, or dextrose or glucose. The only place I found pure Stevia without sugar mixed into it was at a health food store. So BE VERY CAREFUL when purchasing Stevia that you don’t accidentally get the kind with sugar mixed in. I’m glad I noticed it because I’m hypoglycemic and sugar is VERY bad for me.

    As for side effects … I just started using it so I’m not sure about those. I do believe many people will have a die-off if they’re suddenly cutting out sugar entirely. Also, there is the ragweed connection. Just because something is an herb doesn’t mean it can’t have negative effects on the body and it doesn’t mean that herb is safer than a chemical. (Seriously, some plants are poisonous.) In general they are, of course. Anyway, my oldest brother has been using Stevia exclusively to sweeten his foods for the last several years and swears by it.

    • Robyn says:

      After yr comment Texas Gal, i looked on the ingredients of my bottle . I did purchase this from our local NZ health house store. This is whats in it. it says : A low calorie blend of stevia and Erythritol. 40gms.
      What is this mean anyone got an idea.? Actually that was added to the the stevia sprinkle not the powder form. hmmm.I have to say it reminds me of artifical sugar.. i would be glad of feed back from anyone.
      Oh and i appreciate yr comment that it suits yr brother . I guess i,l knw any difference when i next have a blood test.

      Robyn.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi there Texas!
      Thanks for the great info, I’ve been trying to tell all our readers the very same thing. I’ve been using Stevia from the past 5 years and I’ve never had any issues with it (even though I have a bad case of irritable bowel syndrome). Also,Anyone who is allergic to plants which belong to the Asteraceae/Compositae family (which includes, daisies,ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds,etc) will be allergic to Stevia too. It shouldn’t cause issues with anyone else.

  33. Don says:

    I have been researching what other people are saying about stevia side effects. The reason I am looking at this is I consume a large amount of stevia and have for the past year been having periodic bouts with zig zagging watery lines going across my field of vision which becomes blurry. Sometimes this can be very disorienting and somewhat causes a sense of dizziness. It usually lasts about 20 – 30 minutes and then goes away completely without any longer lasting effects. I had my eyes checked out by an ophthalmologist who found nothing wrong and so decided it must have something to do with circulation in the visual cortex in the brain which interprets signals from the eyes. He checked me for inflammation and circulatory issues of which there were none. I am in very good shape and very healthy – living in the mountains, skiing, hiking and mountain biking. Thus I am looking for something in my diet that might offer an explanation. The only thing I can think of is stevia, in part, because of the amount I use which is significant. I use NOW stevia extract and it is according to the labeling a pure extract with no fillers, etc. I use a pound every 2-3 months. So it makes sense to look at stevia side effects and see if my experience with my eyes could be explained by this. Reading the comments on this site is interesting as I have also experienced twitching eyes. I did not previously connect that to stevia. So perhaps someone reading this may see similarities between what I am experiencing and what they experience and may make a connection. Doctors will tell you to avoid alcohol, coffee and pot which is standard for them to say but I don’t think most of them even know what stevia is, so we are on our own on this. I just found out that stevia is a vasodilator from the following site: ‘http://www.zhion.com/herb/STEVIA_side_effects.html’. A vasodilator means blood vessels expand which supplies more blood and reduces blood pressure. I wonder if that could be explanatory.

    • Sylvie says:

      Had twitching of left eye, instant tongue swelling and a 12h migraine that starting within an hour of taking a magnesium supplement w Stevia in it. I stopped using it and it all disappeared, the twitching lasted about a month

      • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

        Hi Sylvie!
        I’ve noticed a lot of people report that they have experienced twitching of the eyes due to Stevia usage. It’s not a documented side effect and has not been noticed by any researchers either (further research might need to be done but nothing of that sort has been reported yet). Are you sure you took the pure form of Stevia? If you had itchiness, difficulty breathing, etc, you might be allergic to Stevia. It’s weird that you got a migraine because Magnesium actually counters migraines. Are you sure you didn’t take anything else ?

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Don!
      Apart from these ‘watery lines,’ do you experience headaches or blurring/darkening of vision when you suddenly stand up from the sitting or lying position? If yes, then the large amount of Stevia that you’re taking is causing enough vasodilation in your body causing such a fall in blood pressure that you experience these effects. The only way to check is to measure blood pressure when you’re sitting and then measure it again when you’re standing. Let me know what those respective values are and I’ll tell you if you have low blood pressure on standing up (orthostatic hypotension). This is fairly common even in normal individuals, the elderly and people with a naturally low blood pressure. I HIGHLY doubt Stevia is causing this because although it is a vasodilator, you would have to consume it in extremely large amounts to cause a drop in blood pressure which is significant enough to cause what you described. HOWEVER, if you’re ONLY experiencing the ‘water lines’ in your field of vision, Stevia isn’t the likely culprit. Let me know if you had low blood pressure before you began Stevia or if you have it now. I can help you further after you give me that info. For some one who already has a low blood pressure, the slight fall caused by using large amounts of Stevia could cause more drastic effects as compared to those with normal or high blood pressures. Also, remember that nothing is good when used in excess so try to limit your use of Stevia. Hope this helps!

  34. little one says:

    At seven years old, I caught every childhood sickness at the same time, The doctors told my parents I would never live past 40, later when I came to this country( age 23) American doctors agreed, At mid 30′s I got fed-up listening to them + getting nowhere, I quit doctoring and followed Organic medicine and herbs,, So I will be 90 in January and I am still here,, Always remember when we are good, God rewards us, it,s all up to him if we are even thinking bad he answers negatively,

    • Sylvie says:

      What are you talking about?
      You make absolutely no sense being allergic to an herb or Stevia or anything are
      Not because we are good or bad.
      Very strange thought process….

  35. David says:

    I have just read through all the comments here and from what I read, I won’t even try Stevia, thanks for the warning guys..
    Interesting admin hasn’t commented for 4 months either..

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi David!
      It’s good that you’re concerned about your health but trust me, real stevia is not harmful at all. If you’re a little concerned, you can use only small quantities daily if you’re trying to lose weight, etc. It’s way better than refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. If there’s anything else I can help you out with, let me know!

  36. Sylvie says:

    @little one

    What does being good or bad have to do with an allergic reaction to Stevia or even side effects?
    I am puzzled here, glad you are 90 and still here good for you.
    Now let’s think of others too and see how we can figure theses ailments out .

    Happy it’s all about you ? little one

  37. Rogervzv says:

    Stevia has a very repeatable and consistent side effect with me as a laxative.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Rogervzv!
      I have explained in the thread below that REAL stevia does not cause actual diarrhea – although that is one of its supposed side effects but it’s not full-blown diarrhea, it’s usually a few lose stools and then they disappear as you continue to use it. As long as you take the real stevia, you won’t have any issues that will make you discontinue its usage unless you’re allergic to it, etc.

  38. Patti E says:

    I am so glad that I ran across this article and more importantly, that I read the comments. My husband and I have used saccharin for years to sweeten our coffee and tea. About 10 days ago, he decided to switch to Stevia. He bought four different products and started trying them. I continued to use our saccharin. After a couple of days, he developed severe diarrhea, bloating and gas. The bloating and gas calmed down after he started using a product designed to help that problem, but the diarrhea continued. I was concerned that he would get dehydrated, so I scoured the internet to try to find out if the only change in his diet (Stevia) could be causing the problems and ran across this article. He stopped the Stevia two days ago and so far, no more diarrhea. Problem solved.

    I think the statement made by Dr. Julian Whitaker above, “The Indian tribes of South America have used it as a digestive aid…”, explains why some people are experiencing diarrhea. Stevia is a great natural laxative. I think it could be marketed as such. In my view, additional study might indicate that there is an opportunity here.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Patti E !
      As I have mentioned in few comments (and so have our readers Daniel and Dan), you probably did not get the real stevia. It does NOT cause such profound diarrhea – a few lose stools are experienced by a MINORITY of the people who use it and this symptom disappears rather quickly as one continues to use it. Make sure what you bought was really Stevia and not some mixed up form with other sweeteners.

  39. Daniel says:

    I did not check this whole thread though, but I surveyed all the stevia products in a big health food store, and only one of them was pure stevia. Coke, of course, uses a synthetic stevia; Blue Sky soda uses a combination of another sweetener plus about 5 percent stevia, and still calls it stevia. Only sweet leaf had a pure product, which I am told is now organic. They also have a cheaper variety, half the price, which is mostly inulin, although they advertise it as stevia. People who get reactions will most likely be getting them from non stevia ingredients. I am amazed this fact has not come up in this thread, either by the contributors or the writer.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Thanks for the great info Daniel ! We will be updating this post soon, things have been little busy at our end !

  40. Daniel says:

    In addition, I believe the other sweeteners that are added to stevia in a stevia product, and the synthetic stevia used by coke, are manufactured from genetically modified corn syrup. That, I believe is why, no doubt, Blue Sky soda calls its cane sweetened soda non GMO, but does NOT make that claim for its so called stevia sweetened product.

  41. Hilary says:

    I thought I had found the answer with lollies made with stevia therefore no sugar meaning no calories. They gave me the most awful wind and bloating I had every experienced in my life. My husband also was eating the lollies and he had the wind plus diahrea, also a colleague of his at work ended up with diahrea. My husband ate a number of the lollies straight off, I was having one about every hour at work. A colleague of mine at work tried just one and ended with bloating and then terrible wind. It can’t be anything but the Stevia as everything else in our diet we have had before.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Hillary!
      As Dan points out, it’s HIGHLY likely that you didn’t get the real stevia because stevia does not cause such intense symptoms, even though mild diarrhea with a large intake of stevia can occur. However, it’s not as bad as you described and most people just report lose stools once or twice, rather than full blown diarrhea with bloating. Make sure you’re getting the right product, there’s a lot of fake stuff out there!

  42. Dan says:

    HIlary, as I have just said, it is most likely not real stevia that is being used, even if they say stevia. But often they will tell you what they are really using if you read the ingredients. But not always. I have used organic Sweet Leaf stevia for six months now, without any reaction. I have spoken to the owner of the company, and he told me they collect the stevia from Central America, without using chemicals. And their more expensive product is organic and pure stevia, without fillers.

  43. Gregory Wales says:

    I enjoy the information shared on this site. I’ve been using stevia for over a year in my tea about three times a day. I use about 1/32 teaspoon. I bought my stevia over the internet. It’s a product of China marketed by Natural Foods of Florida. The words on the package say “White Stevia Extract 90% Steviosides” “Our pure white Stevia Extract Powder that has been standardized to contain at least 90% steviosides.” What does “standardized” mean?
    As far as I know, I’m not having any side-effects. I’m a 63 yr old male, 5ft 8in, 170 lb, self-employed professional with hobby farm activity, alcohol user but otherwise healthy eater.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Gregory!
      ‘Standardised’ means that this company has incuded Steviosides as the major component of their product. Steviosides are not the only substance found in Stevia but they are said to be about 300 times as sweet as sugar. In addition to these, stevia contains other chemicals too. The product you have has only a small amount of those substances and has been extracted and purified in a way that it contains 90% steviosides. Hope this helps!

  44. Joe Bortz says:

    I have a pain in my right hip, and sometimes I am short of breath. I have a big scar on my abdomen, and a big scab on my arse. Sometimes there is blood in my shit. I had a nose bleed the other day. I think these are all due to Stevia. I’ll try some tomorrow for the first time, and if these symptons do not disappear immediately, I’ll know it was the Stevia.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Joe!
      Sorry to hear about your condition but Stevia cannot possibly cause those issues. Please see a doctor as soon as possible because blood in the stools is a very serious symptom apart from the other problems you have. If there’s anything else we can help you out with, let us know.

  45. Robyn R. says:

    Joe, It seems all your pains are due to the possibility of a very bad life style, which i reckon you should be taking it to your Dr instead of making light of the use of stevia or to blame it …

  46. Matt says:

    Hi,

    I have been using stevis for years and came upon this article which had me a little concerned. It states that stevia could lead to depression by inhibiting seratonin uptake. It could also lead to numbness and tingling in the extremities. I would like to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks. Matt

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Matt !
      Like you, I’ve been using stevia for a couple of years (and know a lot of people who have been using it for more than 5 years) and none of us have had any sort of issues. I’ve had a significant reduction in my craving for sweet stuff, etc. Personal experiences aside, the article you linked to doesn’t seem to have enough research references for all the claims it has made. It refers to a lot of things rather too directly. They might have read some research which wasn’t conducted properly (we can’t always trust all the researches and the FDA), etc. Whatever the cause, I don’t think what they’ve written is correct. The biggest controversial point (also stated by MayoClinic) is that we shouldn’t use the purified extracts because they are harmful. In my personal opinion, that sounds like they’re trying to keep us away from the real stuff so that we end up buying their additive loaded stevia alternatives. With that said, I’ll leave the final judgement to you since I’m not taking any one’s side – just stating a few facts based on my own judgement.
      If you have been using Stevia for a few years now, have you ever noticed anything weird about your health? If yes, you should try taking it out of your diet schedule and see if you improve. Our bodies react differently so we might not always feel the same way when we consume common substances. On the other hand, you’re highly unlikely to experience anything major from the use of Stevia – unless you consume kilos and kilos of it in one day (which is obviously impossible). People from Paraguay and Brazil have been using it for ages which is why most of Stevia’s users know that this natural product is not harmful. Of course, anything in excess is harmful but as long as you use it in moderate amounts, there shouldn’t be any problems.
      Don’t just believe any article that you read – look up what they say and try to find out concerned references such as research articles, etc. When it comes to your health, don’t leave any stone unturned!
      So to sum up, you shouldn’t be concerned about what that article states. But just to be on the safe side, don’t consume too much stevia.

  47. Jenni says:

    I have been a steady Stevia user for over a year and have loved it but now for last 4 months have developed a horrific bloating and gas problem. Tried eliminating lots of things and now finally put it together. Stevia had been the only constant in my diet and no matter what I eliminated stevia stayed and so did the gas/bloating :(

    • Irene says:

      Jenni – Thanks for calling your problem to my attention. I started using Stevia about a year ago and have been constipated with terrible bloating and gas ever since. It’s worth a try to stop using Stevia for a while and see if it eliminates this problem. – Irene

      • Daniel says:

        To the administrator of this site: You should let people know that only a tiny fraction of the stevia on the market is real stevia. Most of the products are mixtures of stevia and synthetic sugars like erythrotol or inulin, or are “standardized”, a euphemism for addition of synthetics. These products bill themselves as stevia, but they are not. People should read the labels, and be educated buyers. If they are getting sick, dollars to donuts they are not getting the real McCoy. The owner of Sweet Leaf pure organic stevia, informs me that China is now introducing GMO Stevia. If a product does not advertise ‘non-GMO’ you can be certain that it is, especially in health food stores.

        • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

          Thanks for pointing that our Daniel ! We’re going to update this post soon and we will be sure to include all that. For our readers – GMO Stevia means genetically modified stevia. This form should be avoided by all means so make sure you remember to check the labels of the product you buy and be certain that it is NON-GMO; meaning it should not be genetically modified.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Jenni & Irene,
      I’ve mentioned it earlier in the comments above that REAL stevia is very unlikely to cause side effects. Even when it does, they include slight bloating, diarrhea, etc and these side effects wear off over time. It does NOT cause constipation so if you’re getting that while using Stevia, there could be other causes or the the stevia you’re using is not pure Stevia. Make sure you check what you buy.

    • frankie says:

      It would seem to me that the current stevia you have been getting all these negative effects might not be as pure as the one before although it may be the same brand!

  48. daniel says:

    Even companies that use 100 percent stevia, like Coca-cola, I believe, use a “biologic” or chemical imitation of stevia. It is like saying that high fructose corn syrup, a GMO product, is like sugar in it action on the body. Our food companies, even our health food industry, with a few notable exceptions, are not good samaritans in service of its customers, but rather are trying to maximize their profit. Even good companies like Sweet Leaf stevia, must offer a debased mixture, alongside of its organic product, to compete in the marketplace, but do have the integrity to offer the pure product as well.

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      It’s unfortunate that we can’t really trust most big companies. What you said most probably might be true but there aren’t any easy ways to find out for sure. The best we can do is to perform some research regarding the things we use and make sure we know what we are buying, eating, etc. It’s a complicated world!

  49. Ethel Ridings says:

    Is there aspertame in Stevia? Thank you………

    • Jane Silver says:

      Aspartame is an artifical sweetner and has been known to cause symptoms that mimic Parkinson’s and other deseases. Stevia comes from the Stevia plant and is a natural sweetner. I have been using Stevia for a short time, but have read quite a bit about it. The one I use is Simply Stevia in liquid form.The listed ingredients state: “a Proprietary Formula, Purified Active water, Organic Stevia (leaf) extract.” From what I have read, the best natural sweetners to use are the ones that are pure extract and have no chemicals or other additives. I would guess that if a person experiences any side affects, it may be due to any additives, or may even be allergic to the Stevia plant. The real thing is not cheap ($15), but 1.86 oz will produce 300 servings, with 5 drops being one serving. I use about 4 drops in my iced tea. I am a Pepsi addict and could not drink the diet because aspartame does not like me. I started using Stevia in my tea and have not had a Pepsi for two weeks and have not had a craving for one!

      • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

        Hi Jane!
        Thanks for the great info. I used to be a pepsi addict too (couldn’t have a single meal without it!) but ever since I started using Stevia, my cravings are completely gone. Like you said, Aspartame didn’t suit me either – it actually made me crave for sweet stuff even more. I had to stop taking diet soda, etc because of numerous other side effects that I came across. Stevia is such a relief!

    • Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar says:

      Hi Ethel !
      Stevia is derived from a plant and it does not contain aspartame. Aspartame is a synthetic sweetener and has numerous side effects. Some brands of stevia add varying quantities of other additives and sweeteners so make sure you get the real thing when you set out to buy Stevia.

  50. Aria says:

    Thanks for this informative website. I have switched to a stevia product and have had bloating and diarrhea symptoms quite obviously. This is unfortunate as I have been unable to tolerate aspartame and other sugar substitutes due to diarrhea issues. I was hoping to tolerate a natural product better. I need to give up sugar for my health and weight. The stevia product I’m using has erythritol as an ingredient. What is the known effect of this product? Could it be a cause? Also, is there any research to show that diarrhea and bloating side effects disappear after a period of time?
    Aria

  51. JS says:

    I read all the comments about stevia and diarrhea and most of these comments are admonishing that we need to buy purer forms of it to avoid this symptom. I bought SweetLeaf Sweet Drops, because many users claim this product is one of the least adulterated stevia products. (How do I know for sure? There are no ingredients listed.) Anyway, it MOST DEFINITELY causes diarrhea, and it’s not mild or unobtrusive! I put it in cookies to replace half the sweetener (the rest is brown rice syrup) and had like 6 of these tiny cookies, two nights in a row. Next morning each time…MAJOR problem. Like, couldn’t leave the bathroom for 20 minutes. And it’s quite painful…miserable cramps and everything. Stevia is the only likely culprit, as it’s the only new addition to my diet.

    Does anyone know if this product is not actually as pure as I was led to believe? Or am I one of the (supposedly) rare few who have real side effects from real stevia?

  52. JS says:

    I should mention I put a total of 1/2 teaspoon in the whole batch of cookies.

  53. Kayzee1970 says:

    Hi everyone. I have been using the KAL brand of stevia for as long as its been on the US market. (5-6 yrs?) up until about 5 weeks ago I had no problems whatsoever, side effects, etc. but since then I have had uncontrollable diarrhea. I was checked at the doctor for intestinal infections, viruses, parasites, and bacterial infections. All those tests have been negative. I am now searching for a possible connection between the stevia and my issues. I use stevia a lot. And I mean, a lot! So it could be related. I’m throwing this out there as a possibility.

    And by the way, for those who are interested, I have tried every brand of stevia out there. KAL brand is the only one I wold ever suggest to anyone. No aftertaste or additives. Given my current situation though, maybe that doesn’t help anyone!

    Thank you for the forum.
    Kayzee1970

  54. DEBBY says:

    May I use Stevia to make sweet pickles

  55. Jo Ann Crain says:

    About 15 years ago, I tried stevia, I became extremely constipated. It was terrible. Then years later it was in Celestial teas, so I tried it again, same thing, constipation. Never use it again. It appears to dihyrate the lower bowels. I am worried that other could have this same effect and do not connect that the stevia is the cause. Hope this will help others like me. I cannot use stevia at all.

  56. Kate says:

    You may wish to note that while the brand may not matter as long as the product is pure organic stevia extract or powder, but one brand in particular which makes “Stevia extract In The Raw” includes maltodextrin as the first ingredient, followed by stevia extract. Just a reminder to encourage everyone to read labels carefully – the ingredients, and not just the front of the packaging. You may not have the same problem with those offering organic products, but it’s still a good practice to double-check.

  57. bill williams says:

    I have had trouble with eye twitching for years, but I just started using Stevia, maybe it will stop now….

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