Stevia: The natural, zero-calorie sweetener that slays fatty liver

(Updated March 2023: Because many stevia (and monkfruit) products contain erythritol for bulk, please read about the connection between erythritol and cardiovascular concerns. If using stevia or monk fruit or other sugar substitutes, look for 100% pure stevia containing no fillers.)

Snacking on donuts, cookies, cakes, sugary cereals and other sweets too often is bad for every organ and system in your body — especially your liver.

High sugar intake is directly linked to liver cancer, liver scarring and fatty liver disease — a condition that can lead to cirrhosis. But there is a zero-calorie savior that can satisfy your sweet tooth and save your liver — stevia.

In case you’re not familiar with stevia, it’s a natural sugar alternative that comes from a shrub called Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than regular sugar, which means you need far less of it to provide the same level of sweetness. It also contains no calories, and it doesn’t cause the same blood sugar spike conventional sugar does.

All this makes stevia a good sugar replacement for people looking to cut calories, lose weight and keep their blood sugar in check. But stevia’s benefits go beyond its ability to satisfy a sweet tooth without calories or a blood sugar spike. It’s also been linked to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer, better blood pressure and even an ability to kill the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Now, based on a brand-new study, researchers believe stevia might be able to prevent fatty liver disease and even reverse some of the damage that it causes too.

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How stevia slays fatty liver disease

A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that stevia can reduce the signs of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where the liver stores too much fat. Diet plays a big role in the development of this disease, particularly diets filled with processed and sugary foods. So, researchers wanted to see what effect (if any) the alternative sweeteners stevia and sucralose had on the liver.

They compared the effects of each of these sweeteners to the effects of sugar, and here’s what they found…

Stevia lowered glucose levels and reduced the markers of fatty liver disease. The markers it had the greatest impact on were fibrosis (the formation of scar tissue on the liver) and fat levels in the liver. That means stevia has the potential to reverse the negative effects of fatty liver disease. Pretty amazing, huh?

But how does stevia help heal a fatty liver, exactly?

Researchers don’t know for sure. But they noticed that stevia decreased the signs of cellular stress and triggered positive changes in the gut microbiome, so they suspect it has something to do with those changes. And just so you know, sucralose didn’t have the same benefits.

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  1. Non-caloric sweetener reduces signs of fatty liver disease in preclinical research study — MedicalXpress.
  2. Rebaudioside affords hepatoprotection ameliorating sugar sweetened beverage- induced nonalcoholic steatohepatitis — Scientific Reports.
  3. What is stevia? — Medical News Today.
  4. 12 Foods to Help Fatty Liver Reversal — Healthline.
  5. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — Mayo Clinic.
  6. Everything You Need to Know About Stevia — Healthline.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and