The prevalence of obesity and its related comorbidities continues to rise in the United States and worldwide. Insulin resistance, increased inflammation and oxidative stress are the major pathogenic mechanisms involved in obesity-associated co-morbid conditions. Major efforts to curb the rising tide of obesity, including lifestyle modifications, anti-obesity medications and surgical interventions have shown minimal success. Therefore, introducing new methods to combat obesity, diabetes and associated disorders are desperately needed. Stevia rebaudiana, a natural, non-caloric sweetener has generated significant interest in the scientific community due to its effects on glucose homeostasis, blood pressure and inflammation, all known consequences of obesity. In this review, we assess the effects of Stevia on these parameters in humans as well as in animal models, highlighting its potential role as an effective intervention for the major cardiovascular risk factors associated with obesity.
Keywords: Diabetes; Glucose Homeostasis; Hypertension; Inflammation; Natural sweetener; Obesity; Stevia rebaudiana.