Stevia Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 07/03/22 •  10 min read
stevia benefits and side effects

What are stevia benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are stevia pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on stevia benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about stevia benefits and side effects. This will include stevia benefits for your health and potential risks, stevia water footprint and stevia carbon footprint, stevia sustainability, if stevia is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if stevia is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about stevia benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Stevia Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Stevia health benefits may include:

Stevia is also…

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Environment

Water footprint: likely low, stevia typically requires far less water to provide the same amount of sweetness as other mainstream sweeteners

Carbon footprint: likely low, 0.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sugar and sweeteners, a car driving equivalent of .25 miles or .5 kilometers

Destruction: low, stevia production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc., stevia typically requires about 20 percent of land to provide the same amount of sweetness as other mainstream sweeteners

Stevia is…

Animals

Kills: none, stevia production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, stevia production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from stevia production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Stevia is…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Stevia…

Where does stevia come from? 📍

The world’s top stevia exporting country is France, followed by USA, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Indonesia, China, Slovakia and Swaziland.

Stevia is cultivated mostly in Paraguay, Kenya, China and the United States, but also in Vietnam, Brazil, India, Argentina and Colombia.

Is stevia nutritious? 🥗

Somewhat. Stevia contains iron and fiber and contains the essential nutrients potassium, zinc, magnesium and Vitamin B3.  

stevia is alkaline when in plant form and acidic when in powder or liquid form.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is stevia alkaline or acidic?

Stevia is alkaline when in plant form and acidic when in powder or liquid form, once digested.

What is the pH level of stevia?

Stevia has a 9.0 pH level when in plant form, and a 5.0 pH level when in powder or liquid form, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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stevia is gluten free. stevia benefits include fitting into a gluten free diet.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is stevia gluten free?

Yes, stevia is gluten free. Stevia does not contain gluten. Stevia is derived from leaves, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

stevia is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is stevia a common food allergen?

No, stevia is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to stevia but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

stevia likely has a low water footprint. stevia benefits include not requiring much water for production.

water footprints of food and products

Does stevia have a high or low water footprint?

Stevia likely a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods. Stevia typically requires far less water to provide the same amount of sweetness as other mainstream sweeteners.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

stevia likely has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

stevia is sustainable. stevia benefits include not being environmentally destructive.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

stevia is vegan. stevia benefits include not using animals for production.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is stevia vegan?

Yes, stevia is vegan. Stevia is a sweetener derived from the leaves of a plant and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

stevia may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is stevia a product with labor concerns?

At this time there are no major concerns with stevia production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Conclusion

Stevia pros include:

Stevia cons include:

This post was all about stevia benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Pyure: Does Stevia Help With Weight Loss?

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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