Authors: Gregersen S, Jeppesen PB, Holst JJ, Hermansen K.
Stevioside is present in the plant Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (SrB). Extracts of SrB have been used for the treatment of diabetes in, for example, Brazil, although a positive effect on glucose metabolism has not been unequivocally demonstrated. We studied the acute effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic patients. We hypothesize that supplementation with stevioside to a test meal causes a reduction in postprandial blood glucose. Twelve type 2 diabetic patients were included in an acute, paired cross-over study. A standard test meal was supplemented with either 1 g of stevioside or 1 g of maize starch (control). Blood samples were drawn at 30 minutes before and for 240 minutes after ingestion of the test meal. Compared to control, stevioside reduced the incremental area under the glucose response curve by 18% (P =.013). The insulinogenic index (AUC(i,insulin)/AUC(i,glucose)) was increased by approximately 40% by stevioside compared to control (P <.001). Stevioside tended to decrease glucagon levels, while it did not significantly alter the area under the insulin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide curves. In conclusion, stevioside reduces postprandial blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients, indicating beneficial effects on the glucose metabolism. Stevioside may be advantageous in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.