Yup, you read that title correctly. Stevia can have you fellas out there looking like Bob from Fight Club. That doesn’t mean you ladies are safe either. Both men and women may unknowingly be suffering the consequences of daily Stevia use. While people are busy singing Stevia’s praises, this sneaky little plant is waging war on their endocrine systems.
This new bit of information was first brought to my attention by Dr. Jack Wolfson. Also known as, The Paleo Cardiologist. During a conversation we were having about fructose and sweeteners, he simply stated, “Stevia mimics estrogen in the body.” I’m certain I must have looked confused. I started racking my brain trying to figure out how that could be. I’d never heard of such a thing. Of course, I set out to do a bit of research. What I found was definitive. Dr. Wolfson was 100% correct!
I went into my research thinking it might not be that big of a deal. How could a tiny bit of plant extract cause any real harm? I could not have been more wrong. I am now convinced that Stevia does not belong in the human body.
Like the good Doc told me, it all comes down to hormones. Stevia can ignite many reactions in your body. All which eventually end up having an effect on your hormones.
The Stevia promoters love to tell you that it has no effect on blood sugar. But remember, your body can begin secreting insulin and lowering blood sugar levels just by thinking about eating carbohydrates. This is because the body is preparing itself for a surge of glucose. The same reaction can occur when eating something sweet… like, Stevia. The body prepares itself for glucose. Yet, the glucose never comes. Your body is forced to either search for glucose or create it. It responds to this stress by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. It can actually start breaking down its own tissue to create glucose.
Sounds bad, right? It is. This surge of stress hormones can play a role in adrenal fatigue. To make matters worse, cortisol is notoriously well known for helping the body store excess belly fat. There are few times in life when a chronic flood of stress hormones is a good thing. In fact, it can lead to improper thyroid function, fat storage, and inflammation.
“But, Justin… What about the man-boobs?!” I thought you’d never ask! Stevia contains something called steviol glycosides. These little bastards with the fancy pants name are the ones you really need to worry about. Their hormonal structure is close to that of gibberellin and kaurene. More crazy names, more crazy effects. They are plant hormones that influence many developmental processes. Long story short, these hormones have a dramatic effect on estrogen and progesterone. As a result, the body can suffer from estrogen dominance. One of the main culprits responsible for infertility issues in America.
Estrogen dominance is extremely dangerous in women and can even lead to breast cancer. It can be just as merciless in men and leads to a host of undesirable effects. Lower sex drive, insomnia, and of course, excess body fat. Particularly in the belly and certain areas of the chest… Yup, I’m talking about man-boobs! Mythical fat deposits in the chests of poor, unsuspecting men. Suffered by some… feared by all. The stuff nightmares are made of.
So, what can you do about it?! Well, quit using Stevia, duh! I mean, a drop or two of extract in your morning coffee might not be enough to turn you into Bob from Fight Club. But me, personally?! I’m not taking any chances. I’ll stick to my Bulletproof Coffee and statuesque pecs, thank you much!