Stevia and Chronic Kidney Disease: What You Need to Know!
When you’re watching your nutrition because you are working to preserve your kidney function, you want to watch out for sugar. High blood sugar can make CKD, chronic kidney disease, and blood sugar levels worse. So, sugar substitutes and other artificial sweeteners like Stevia, seem to be the better choice. We’ll look at what stevia is, why it may be a good choice, and what other options you have available. If you’re managing chronic kidney disease, it is important to know the facts about stevia.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a natural sweetener. It’s also calorie free and has a low glycemic load. Which makes this plant a perfect sugar substitute. It comes from the plant species, is a natural sweetener species Stevia rebaudiana, which is a plant that is native to both Brazil and Paraguay. It’s said to be 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar, which means a little goes a long way. You can find this non-caloric sweetener in a number of low or zero calorie products. You can also buy it in your local supermarket where it is sold under the names: Truvia, PureVia, Sweetleaf, Stevita, and Stevia in the Raw just to name a few.
Is Stevia OK & Safe for CKD Patients?
The FDA considers Stevia to be GRAS or generally recognized as safe. And many studies have been done with people who have chronic kidney disease caused by diabetes. The studies found that stevia is an effective sweetener and a good choice for people with diabetes and other health effects.
Additionally, some studies found that stevia helped to prevent the progression of CKD. That being said, stevia is also a diuretic and should not be heavily consumed. If you have chronic kidney disease and are currently prescribed a diuretic, it’s important to speak with your doctor if you plan to consume a lot of stevia.
Does Stevia Cause Kidney Damage?
Stevia has not been shown to cause kidney damage. In fact, it has several properties that may have beneficial effects to the kidneys. It may reduce cyst growth in kidney cells. It prevents high blood glucose levels and the corresponding kidney damage. And it can be a mild diuretic which can lower blood pressure and reduce kidney damage. However, that’s not the whole story. Next, let’s look at some questions you might have about Stevia.
Frequently Asked Questions on Stevia and Chronic Kidney Disease
Did you know that Stevia is part of the Ragweed family? If you are allergic to ragweed, you may also have a reaction to stevia. Additionally, not all forms of stevia are considered safe. If you’re consuming stevia in a packaged product or buying it at your local supermarket, it’s probably safe. However, supplements and extracts can have harmful ingredients. When buying stevia, make sure it’s certified to contain at least 95 percent steviol glycoside, and that it doesn’t contain any artificial or synthetic sweeteners. Many stevia sweeteners come with sugar alcohols which can cause digestive upset.
Here are some more important FAQs about stevia:
Is Stevia High in Potassium?
While stevia does contain trace minerals including potassium, the amount is negligible.
Are There Negative Effects of Stevia for Kidney Patients?
Based on recent research, Stevia seems to be good for kidney health. The key point to pay attention to is that you’re using safe and approved forms of stevia, making sure that the stevia you’re buying contains 95% or more of steviol glycoside.
Is Stevia Inflammatory?
Stevia is not inflammatory. There have been rare cases of people having an allergy or sensitivity to stevia. This usually shows up as a headache or congestion. If you are allergic to it, then it can be inflammatory and cause allergic reactions, but for most people, it’s non-inflammatory.
How Much Stevia Is Safe Per Day?
The WHO, World Health Organization, recommends a daily intake of up to 4 mg/kg of body weight. For reference, 1 kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds. So, if you weigh 200 pounds that would be about 91kg. (200/2.2). Therefore, a safe daily intake would be 364mg of steviol glycoside. (4mgX91kg).
Here’s what that calculation looks like (Your weight in pounds divided by 2.2. This gives you your kilograms. Multiply your kilograms by 4mg and you have your safe daily intake. Here’s the challenge though, most products do not list the mg of stevia in the product. You’ll have to be a detective. However, for reference, one packet of Sweetleaf has 40mg of Stevia. You’d have to consume a lot of it to surpass the recommended daily intake.
What Is the Best Sweetener for Kidney Disease?
When it comes to sweeteners, Stevia has been the top choice for many reasons and health conditions. It doesn’t raise blood sugar, it can provide some blood pressure benefits, and it doesn’t take much to sweeten your food. It doesn’t cause digestive distress like some sugar alcohols, and it’s easy to find. If you’re trying stevia for the first time and you do have some seasonal allergies, pay attention to any allergy symptoms. Like anything, it’s best to use Stevia in moderation and focus your nutrition on whole foods that provide your body, and kidneys, with good nutrition.
Now you know just about everything you need to know about Stevia and chronic kidney disease! You know that Stevia, in the form of steviol glycoside is considered to be safe. You know that you can find it in a number of low or zero calorie products and that you can find it in the supermarket if you want to sweeten foods or beverages you make at home. You know that it won’t raise blood sugar and that it may have some protective benefits for your kidneys and healthy weight. And you know that a little goes a long way. Consider Stevia a safe option when you occasionally want something sweet, and you don’t want to consume empty calories or spike your blood sugar.