You’re wondering if stevia is allowed on the Daniel Fast. Stevia rebaudiana, native to Brazil and Paraguay, is a leaf refined into a white powder that’s 200 to 300 times sweeter than cane sugar. And like sugar, stevia is not included in the Daniel Fast. Here’s an explanation and three things to consider.
Stevia was not on Daniel’s plate
Stevia is an added sweetener that was not on Daniel’s plate. Biblically, Daniel’s plate was made up of whole plant foods. It did not include a refined, processed, non-caloric, hyper-sweet white powder. The “sweets” included in the Daniel Fast are whole plant foods such as fresh and dried fruits, sweet potatoes, and sweet winter squash.
Added sweeteners are part of the problem
The Standard American Diet has hijacked our palate. For years, advertisers and snack foods have trained us to think that any food not loaded with sugar, fat, and salt is bland and unappealing. Stevia is part of the problem because it perpetuates the belief that we “need” sweetener in our tea, water, smoothies, and food for it to taste good. But when you detox from these toxic foods, you eliminate the perceived need for sweet. Besides, while stevia may have started its life as a natural substance, by the time it’s on the shelf it has been intensely processed.
Stevia may be linked to gut imbalances
New information is coming out about the role of stevia in gut health. In a 2020 study published in the journal Molecules, researchers evaluated the role of stevia-based natural sweeteners on bacterial communication pathways. They found examples of stevia causing dysbiosis—a disruption of the gut microbe balance. That’s important because gut imbalances have been linked to several gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases. In fact, gut dysbiosis is linked to hypertension, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. So stevia may be creating other lasting health issues.
Just Say No
Bottom line? Avoid stevia and other added sweeteners when doing the Daniel Fast. Consider using the Daniel Fast as a jumping-off point to a long-term sustainable healthy lifestyle free from stevia and other added sweeteners.
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