The use of non-nutritive sweeteners as sugar substitutes by overweight, obese and diabetic individuals has been increased rapidly in recent years, when Stevia is the most popular one not only due to its natural source of origin but also for it antidiabetic potential. However, the effects commercially available stevia-based NNS are not investigated at all. The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of ad libitum consumption of commercially available stevia-based non-nutritive sweetener (NNS) in an experimentally-induced rat model of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Seven-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into three groups, namely: Normal Control (NC), Diabetic Control (DBC) and Diabetic Stevia (DSTV). T2D was induced in the DBC and DSTV groups only. The control groups were received normal drinking water, whilst rats in the DSTV group were administered with stevia-containing NNS solution, at a concentration equivalent to the sweetness of 10% sucrose. After 13 week intervention, although food and fluid intake, body weight, weekly blood glucose, glucose tolerance, serum insulin, fructosamine, ALT, ALP, creatinine and brain, liver and pancreatic histopathology were not significantly affected; serum AST, LDH and CK-MB as well as heart and kidney histopathology were significantly deteriorated in stevia-based NNS consuming group compared to the DBC group. The data of this study suggest that uncontrolled consumption of stevia-based NNS has no significant antidiabetic effect but have some toxicological effects in an animal model of T2D. Hence, diabetic patients consuming stevia-based NNS should limit their daily intake.


S. Islam: None. S.N. Dlamini: None.


South African Sugar Association (Project 233)

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