In 2030, will I believe that 10g of Stevia (the product in the packets) is healthier than 1g of refined sugar?

There's a lot of debate about artificial sweeteners. My read now is that for almost all people, stevia and artificial sweeteners are much healthier than sugar. It's very possible new evidence will emerge, in the next 7 years, that advocates for either side of this.

To be clear, "1g Stevia" here means "1g of a stevia packet" - not of the pure substance. It was mentioned in the comments that Stevia packets are heavily diluted with other things.

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My estimate is that stevia is about as safe per unit of sweetness as sugar.

Firstly, there's nothing inherently bad about sugar.

We're descended from apes that likely got more than half their calories from fruit. Whereas stevia likely evolved as a pesticide.

The Hazda eat plenty of sugar, without getting Western diseases (see

That seems like rather strong evidence that sugar is bad only when combined with something unnatural, such as a fiber deficiency.

I expect that if I paid no attention to nutrition, I'd be in some danger from eating too much sugar relative to fiber. But with a fairly paleo diet, I don't have much reason to be concerned about marginal changes in how much sugar I get.

I expect that whether stevia is better or worse than sugar varies from person to person depending on what problems they're most likely to face.

I normally use some monkfruit and stevia, but I'm currently on a diet that avoids all artificial sweeteners.

Weight gain is normally one of my health concerns, and stevia/monkfruit are possibly better for that than sugar. But I switched to an AIP diet 2 weeks ago, due to diarrhea that had been bothering me for much of December. Testing showed that the diarrhea was likely some sort of IBD, which AIP is known to help with. The AIP diet is restrictive enough that it's been easy to avoid weight gain while following it strictly.

The AIP diet appears to have been quite effective at curing my diarrhea, unlike the standard dietary advice for diarrhea. I can't tell whether artificial sweeteners made a difference - there are about 4 or 5 types of food that seem somewhat more likely to be the biggest culprits.

ChatGPT suggests that there's no well-known stevia-specific evidence behind the AIP criterion. I'm following the AIP package due to a combination of priors that I described above, plus evidence ( that AIP helps with IBD.

It seems plausible that sugar is 10x as dangerous as stevia for people with a significant risk of diabetes. But that's closer to half the population than to "almost all". And that's assuming people have enough sense to avoid versions of stevia that include erythritol, which more clearly screws up the gut microbiome.

What matters here is the ratio of sweetness to the propensity for glycation reactions

@JonathanRay I’m annoyed that Wikipedia doesn’t describe sweet-related chemicals in the same terms as neurotransmitter-related chemicals. Like “lactisole is an inverse agonist of the asdf1 sweetness receptor” or something.

To be clear, "1g Stevia" here means "1g of a stevia packet" - not of the pure substance. It was mentioned in the comments that Stevia packets are heavily diluted with other things.

@OzzieGooen as @EvanDaniel points out, most of what's in Stevia packets is sugar. So generally there's more sugar in "10g of Stevia" than in "1g of sugar".

So if sugar is bad, more sugar is worse and therefore "Stevia" is worse.

That's a pretty convincing NO, right?

This seems like a strange question, because it's not comparing on an equal basis (for any definition of equal I'm aware of). The obvious comparison points to me would be the as-marketed comparison (1 packet vs 2 tsp sugar) or equal mass. It seems like this is trying to get at something like "not just healthier but a lot healthier", but IMO it's instead asking something very different.

The main ingredient in stevia packets is refined sugar. Either dextrose or mostly-refined "sugar in the raw" which is still a highly-refined product. But, the product is sweeter per g than sugar, so one packet (0.8 g) is about the same as 2 tsp of sugar (2 packets of sugar, or 8 g). But that packet is still mostly sugar by mass, and so comparing 10g of stevia packets to 1g of sugar is like comparing 8g (or whatever) of sugar + some stevia to 1g of sugar.

And I suspect you think refined sugar is unhealthy, and will end up thinking more of it is less healthy than less, and that the stevia is not sufficiently healthy to make up for it.

(Basing this mostly on this nutrition info and some other random googling.)

predicts YES

I updated the description to indicate I mean stevia the product, which is very diluted - not stevia the pure substance.

predicts NO

@OzzieGooen so would you be comparing drinking say 1 coke bottle vs drinking 10 stevia sweetened coke bottles ?

predicts YES

@Odoacre More specifically, I'm comparing "10 packets of Stevia, which says it's one gram each" with 1g of sugar (about 1/4th a packet of sugar)

Assuming that coke replaces the equivalent of one packet stevia with the equivalent of one packet (4g) of sugar, then this would come out to around 40 stevia cokes vs. 1 sugar coke.

predicts YES

@OzzieGooen Maybe a better question would have been, "10 packets of stevia vs. 1 of sugar"

predicts NO

@OzzieGooen what's a packet of stevia ? you mean a single dose sweetner sachet that you may find in offices or coffee shops for sweetning coffee ?

something like this ?

Since you are implying you will allow other ingredients in your stevia sweetner packet, can you maybe pick some ingredients that are allowed or alternatively a brand ?

If between here and 2030 it's found out that some of the additives is not safe even though stevia itself is safe, but only some of the packets have those, how do you plan to resolve ?

predicts NO

The LD50 of stevia in rats is about 1.5g/kg. 10g of stevia would likely be fatal to a human newborn and would probably cause unpleasant effects in adults.

predicts YES

@WesleyJB I was trying to figure out how much is in one serving. The packets imply it's 1g, but I guess this is diluted or something?

Would you recommend a better comparison here? I was trying to get hint at something like, "10 units of sweetness of stevia is healthier than 1 of sugar"

predicts YES

@OzzieGooen I guess it would be best to find the 50th percentile. What is N, such that, "N units of sweetness of stevia is healthier than 1 of sugar", would result in ~50/50 odds?

predicts NO

@OzzieGooen Stevia is much more potent in sweetness by mass, 50-300x, depending on the medium its in and the taster. Those packets are ironically mostly sugar, dextrose/glucose, as a dissolvable filler.

An equal sweetness comparison would be maybe 10mg stevia versus 1g sugar.

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