Understanding the Effects of Acute Stevia Consumption on Vascular Function in Humans

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Sardo, Caitie
Stevia , Vascular , Cardiovascular
The consumption of sugar and artificial sweeteners has been associated with impaired vascular functioning and other negative health outcomes (Liu et al., 2012; Meziat et al., 2016; Pearlman et al., 2017; Schiano et al., 2020; Suez et al., 2014; Weiss et al., 2008; Williams et al., 2020). The ingestion of a high-sugar beverage/meal or of 75g of glucose transiently impairs vascular function in vivo (Watanabe et al., 2011). Stevia is a natural non-caloric sweetener that has become a popular substitute for sugar and artificial sweeteners within North American food markets (Sharma et al., 2016; Yilmaz et al., 2013). Stevia has been found to have a beneficial or neutral effect on vascular function in animals and human cells, but despite widespread consumption, no literature has reported the effects of stevia in the integrated human system. It is hypothesized that the consumption of a single dose of stevia will acutely enhance, or at minimum will not impair, the function of the large and small vessels of the arm. Twenty-five healthy men and women (21.6 +/- 2.5 years [mean ± SD]) participated in two laboratory visits in which the function of the large and small vessels of the arm was assessed before and both 15- and 60- minutes after the ingestion of either a stevia beverage (water with 4mg/kg body weight of stevia dissolved into it) or the control beverage (water). Data are [mean ± SD]. There was no effect of stevia on the function of large (p = 0.630) or small vessels (p = 0.848) in the arm. These results suggest that stevia is a better alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, as it does not impair vascular function, while also implying that it’s use as a supplement by healthy individuals may be redundant, as it also did not improve vascular function.
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