Stevia is a zero-calorie, natural sweetener. Its claimed that it has no effect on blood glucose and insulin levels, unlike sugar and other refined carbohydrates, which are known to cause acne. But is this true?
Sugar plays havoc with our hormones, particularly insulin and the insulin like hormone IGF-1. When we increase these hormones we suffer higher levels of inflammation, increased skin oil production and a greater build-up of skin cells. In short, sugar and acne are bad bedfellows so it makes sense to cut back on sugar where we can. Unfortunately cutting back on sugar is HARD. It has a way of sneaking into everything - any ingredient ending in '-ose' is a sugar, All sugars provide their sweet taste by binding to the sweet receptors in your tongue. Stevia is rich in a plant compounds called glycosides. These trick your sweet receptors and simulate a massive sugar intake - in fact these compounds are between 250 and 250 times sweeter than sugar- and provides sweetness without the inflammatory acne of sugar. Great! It doesn't stop there though. Medical studies have shown that it can improve antioxidant defence in our bodies, lower LDL cholesterol and inhibit pro-inflammatory compounds which means Stevia has the exact opposite effect of sugar in the body, it reduces inflammation.
So surely swapping sugar out and Stevia in is a no brainier? Whoa.. not so fast. Yes it is, but don't go overboard. Stevia may cause your body to unwittingly produce insulin if its over-used. The stimulation of our sweet receptors trigger chain reactions in our body to produce insulin ready to shuttle all that extra glucose into your glycogen stores. Extra insulin with no sugar can lead to an increase in the hormone cortisol, and...yep, acne. So which is it? Use it or not?
Using Stevia is fine but you should balance this by consuming sugar from fruits and other plant based foods. That way your insulin levels won't roller coaster and you are more likely to avoid acne flare-ups.
Balance is key.