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Stevia's popularity has skyrocketed over the past few years, and thanks to its reputation as being more "natural" than other lab-made artificial sweeteners, it shows no signs of fading anytime soon.
Stevia, which is thirty times sweeter than regular sugar and has no effect on blood sugar, is now widely used in many consumer products around the world and is rapidly replacing artificial sweeteners.
according toPureCircle Stevia Institute, the plant-based sweetener is now an ingredient in more than 14,000 foods and beverages worldwide.
But is stevia safe to add to dog food?
Well, let's find out, but before that…
What is Stevia?
Stevia (sweet leaf or candy leaf) is a herbaceous plant in the Asteraceae family, a subgroup of the Asteraceae (sunflower family).
It is native to subtropical and tropical regions of Brazil and Paraguay, but can also be easily cultivated in other countries.
Paraguayans have used the herb as a food sweetener for thousands of years, while other countries such as Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and South America have shorter but still relatively long records of stevia use.
The main compound responsible for the sweetness of this herb isRebaudioside Aandsteviosid.
Rebaudioside Ais the sweetest part of the herb and is often extracted and used in stevia-based powders and sweeteners.
steviosidThe least sweet or bitter part of the plant, it contributes to the bitter aftertaste that many people hate stevia.
Interestingly, it has some of the most beneficial properties that stevia is known for.
Is Stevia Safe for Dogs?
The short answer is:Yes, stevia is safe for dogs, which is why it is used in many dog food products.
It is safer than other natural sugar substitutes such as xylitol, which is known to be toxic to dogs.
Stevia is considered a relatively healthy and better sweetener for dogs for a number of reasons.
First, it provides a sweetness similar to sugar, but without the calories. This plant-based sweetener hasGlycemic index is 0, which is the lowest value obtainable for any food ingredient.
Stevia is also completely natural, which means you can use it in a variety of dog foods without worrying about serious side effects.
moderation is key
While stevia is safe for dogs, you should use it in moderation.
Natural sweeteners can cause osmotic diarrhea and other digestive side effects in dogs when eaten in large amounts.
Osmotic diarrhea occurs when molecules in stevia draw water from the dog's body into the colon, causing loose stools. This can become a problem if your dog has ongoing problems with loose stools.
Additionally, dogs rely on the good bacteria and other microbes in their gut to help digest the food they eat.
Higher doses of sugar beyond the usual dose can upset the balance of these microbes and cause diarrhea.
Why Stevia is the Better Dog Sweetener
If you want to sweeten your dog's food, stevia is a better choice than typical sugar and other artificial sweeteners for many valid reasons.
As mentioned above, stevia has a glycemic index of zero (sugar has a glycemic index of 63), meaning it will not cause blood sugar spikes in dogs when consumed.
Sugar and other artificial sweeteners are high in calories and are known to be a leading cause of obesity in dogs.
Stevia has zero calories and has been shown to increase satiety.
Plus, based on previous research, stevia has many other health benefits that can benefit your dog, including:
I. It can help lower cholesterol levels
A study from 2010Research published in the International Journal of Obesity found that stevia reduced levels of bad (or oxidized LDL) cholesterol in mice.
Stevia may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease if it affects dogs in a similar way Your dog.
2. Stevia can also help manage diabetes in dogs
In previous clinical trials, a control group received one gram of cornstarch (placebo) with meals, while the other group received one gram of stevia.
Blood sugar levels dropped 18 percent in the 'stevioside' group compared to 'cornstarch' placebo group.
Three.other researchStevia is also recommendedcan have strong anti-inflammatory propertiesAnd can play a key role in regulating the immune system and preventing cancer.
Best types of stevia to use in dog food
As with any product, you should understand that not all stevia-based products are created equal.
If you want your four-legged friend to reap all the health benefits of stevia, choose the plant's raw green leaves.
It contains high levels of natural vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin C and beta-carotene.
If you don't have access to the original form, consider some more useful options:
1. Dried stevia leaves
Most of these are 100% pure and unprocessed. we recommend thisWhole Stevia Leaf from GreenGreenStevia.
Technically, these liquid stevia are made from the leaves of the plant.
They may contain small amounts of natural flavors to give them a balanced flavor profile.
we recommend thisStevia tincture from Sweet Drops.
three. Stevia extract powder
These are the most common forms Stevia, mainly by extractionRebaudioside,The sweetest part of the plant.
They go through a number of steps in the process, including bleaching and small chemical changes to balance their flavor, so be sure to read the label of the product you plan to buy to be sure how it was processed or what it contains .
Stevia's all-natural properties make it an excellent alternative to artificial sweeteners.
Although relatively safe for dogs, ingesting large amounts can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems.
So add it to your dog food recipes in moderation. When buying stevia, you should also read the label to be sure of the product's ingredients and processing methods.
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Sable McNeil is a dog chef, professional pet blogger and the proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life and dogs have a special place in my heart. I originally started this blog to share recipes, tips and anything relevant about healthy homemade dog food. However, due to my unrelenting passion for changing the canine world, I have expanded the blog's scope to include the best information and advice dog lovers need to know about the health and well-being of their canine companions. My mission now is to find the most useful dog related content and share it with other hard working dog lovers. While everything I share is in accordance with the latest evidence-based veterinary health guidelines, nothing should be considered veterinary advice. For any questions regarding your Fido's health, please contact your veterinarian.