Diabetes. It’s a relatively new disease when you think about it. One hundred years ago, cowboys weren’t dying from high blood sugar. Our diet and sedentary lifestyle have created this monster. Processed foods, sugar in everything, sodas with meals. The reasons for diabetes aren’t hard to understand, but treating the addiction of what sugar has become is now on the forefront of people’s minds.
Some of that leads to unhealthy alternatives like diet soda, which is full of aspartame and other chemicals. Others have turned toward nature to get a sweet fix without the calories of sugar.
An herb called Stevia is helping people kick the sugar habit while allowing them to have sweet remain in their diet. The properties of stevia for controlling blood sugar haven’t bee understood until a new study took aim at it.
The plant-based sweetener is generally considered safe for people with diabetes in moderation, and previous research has indicated that stevia may even help to control blood sugar levels.
The mechanisms underlying stevia’s positive effect on blood sugar levels have, however, not been well-understood. The new study from Philippaert and colleagues aimed to shed some light.
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.
Currently, Type 2 diabetes affects roughly 29 million adults in the US annually right now. More than $245 Billion is spent on treating it in a given year. That’s a crisis of epic proportions. Most people could treat Diabetes with diet and exercise, but it’s not easy.
Everything in our culture pushes us the other way- diet, lack of exercise, food choices, being hurried and unable to cook healthily. So if you must have sweet in your diet, consider going to Stevia which now has scientific backing to reduce blood sugar.