Stevia Allergies & Asthma

May 29, 2012 at 09:09

Little Miss Sicky Poo


Recently I’ve been using stevia to replace the sugar in my morning coffee and the honey in my tea in an effort to further restrict my overall sugar intake.  I chose stevia because it is a natural substance that is recognizable to the body unlike Sweet & Low or Equal which is  manufactured in a lab and made up of chemicals.

For those of you that are not familiar with Stevia, it is a sweetener that is made from the Stevia plant.  It is minimally processed to produce either an extract or a powder form that can be used in food or drink.  If you chew on a leaf of a stevia plant, it tastes the same as the finished product.

I can’t say that I love the taste.  Although it is natural it has an artificial sweetener taste to it which I have never liked, but since I can’t seem to settle on unsweetened coffee, I kept using it for a while.

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been having asthma attacks and experiencing allergies symptoms and getting headaches daily.  You may think nothing of this since I have a history allergies, asthma and chronic headaches, however, since I went primal, these symptoms have essentially gone dormant.  I still keep an emergency inhaler around, just in case, but I really don’t touch the thing anymore.  You can imagine that I was a little concerned when I started coughing and wheezing all of sudden.  I was not welcoming of this old friend back in my life.  I noticed that my stevia consumption had increased over the last few weeks and so had my incidents of asthma attacks and allergies.  It was an easy connection considering that I really hadn’t changed anything else.

I did some quick research to further confirm my suspicions.  This information came from multiple sources but mostly from Livestrong.  Here is a list of side effects that may accompany stevia use:

Stevia Side Effects

  • Stevia can cause an allergic reaction in individuals who have a history of sensitivity to ragweed and similar plants. Included in this group are plants in the asteraceae/compositae family such as marigolds, daisies and chrysanthemums. Typical allergy symptoms include runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, eye irritation and sore throat. In cases of extreme sensitivity, asthma attacks, headaches, chronic nasal inflammation and difficulty sleeping may also occur.
  • Headaches
  • Stomach upset and bloating
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Studies show that stevia extract may have anti-hypertensive and anti-hyperglycemic effects. This means that it may help keep blood pressure and blood sugar stable. People taking medicines for diabetes or high blood pressure should use stevia with caution, because of possible interactions with these drugs.

Well, I guess stevia is off the list for me.  I wish I had read a bit more about it before I started using it.  I’d say that if you are using stevia or thinking about using it, proceed with caution, especially if you have allergies and asthma or if you have diabetes.

This is just more confirmation that I need to kill the sugar demon that lives within me instead of trying to live with it.  I just wish I loved black coffee as much as Daniel does 😉

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