As a 30-year-old man with a history of eating clean and exercising, you can imagine my surprise when I went to the doctor the other day and I was told I was pre-diabetic.. I looked at him in shock and said: “That’s not possible”. I gave him the reasons.
-I work out 10-20 minutes four times a week.
-I eat salads and eggs and bacon with an occasional splurge.
-It doesn’t run in my family.
He didn’t care about any of that. He was looking at the data from my bloodwork. And that data suggested I was on the tipping point of having diabetes.
But when I really sat and thought about it, I saw what the doctor was driving at.
After every meal, I want something sweet. Blackberries or blueberries won’t cut it. I wanted something chocolatey like a cookie or ice cream. Heck, I’ll even dump a bag of chocolate chips in my mouth if there was nothing baked around.
So I started looking into alternatives that would satisfy my sweet tooth, but not give me the spikes that baked goods full of sugar currently do.
I came across stevia.
Now if you’ve never heard of stevia, it is an herb that has the sweetness of sugar, but not the calorie count. In fact, it’s a calorie-free food. But what makes it work?
After digging in, I discovered it’s the way stevia plays off the tongue.
In experiments involving cell cultures, the researchers found that stevia activates TRPM5, which is a protein important for the perception of sweet, bitter, and umami tastes.
“The taste sensation is made even stronger by the stevia component steviol, which stimulates TRPM5. This explains the extremely sweet flavor of stevia as well as its bitter aftertaste,” notes Philippaert.
Furthermore, TRPM5 prompts the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin after food intake. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels and prevents the development of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition whereby the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the body is unable to effectively use the hormone. An unhealthful diet is a common cause of type 2 diabetes.
The idea that I could grab a leaf of stevia and chew on it isn’t appealing. But thinking about all the side effects of diabetes–Cardiovascular disease, Nerve damage (neuropathy), Kidney damage (nephropathy), Eye damage (retinopathy), Foot damage, Skin conditions, Hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease,– All of these make me want to change my ways immediately. It sounds too dangerous to keep looking for pastries and downing cookies without any thought to the consequences.
I’ll also be looking into Stevia as a substitute.