Dr. Josh Axe: The Truth about Stevia and ​How to Eat for Performance​

abel james, fat burning man, the fat burning man show, paleo, podcast, interview, josh axe, dr axe, stevia, sugar

Watch or listen to this week’s episode with Dr. Josh Axe…

Do you want to lose weight, get healthy, improve your athletic performance, or need help healing from a chronic disease?

On this week’s Fat Burning Man Show, Dr. Josh Axe will give you three basic tips on how to achieve your goals using relaxation, diet, and exercise. No drugs. No ridiculous workouts.

Josh started Exodus Health Care in 2008, has been physician to professional and Olympic athletes, and helps thousands of people achieve fitness through his books and BurstFit program. He also spreads the message of health through his syndicated radio show and regular television program on CBS Nashville. On this week’s FBM show, he opens up about his mother’s struggle with cancer—from her initial battle with chemo to finally healing through the power of a holistic, natural approach. We talk about how he helped her on her path to healing, and so much more, including:

  • The three most important things you can do right now to heal your body, lose weight, and improve athletic performance.
  • How to fuel your body before and after training.
  • Sugar substitutes: Are Stevia and honey good for you?
  • Four steps to repairing a leaky gut, and why gut health is important.
  • The side-effects of chemo: healing cancer naturally.

Come on over to the show, meet Josh, and dig into all of these topics and more! See you there.


Dr. Josh Axe is an author, radio host, and a physician for athletes.He lives in Nashville, where he’s had a clinic for the last five years.

Josh was recently voted on of Nashville’s 25 most beautiful people!

How did you get turned on to natural health? Twenty years ago, Josh’s mother had cancer. She was the picture of health- a swim instructor at school and a fit person. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had a mastectomy and chemo. Her hair fell out and she was sick. She went through a cycle of depression, for which she was prescribed anti-depressants which made her constipated. She had chronic fatigue for ten years and spent half her life in bed—then she was diagnosed with cancer again.

The second time she was diagnosed with cancer, Josh was in college in Florida studying chiropractic and nutrition. He knew he had to do something to help his mother. This lead him to all natural probiotics and juicing.

They tried diet and everything in the natural world to help heal his mother’s cancer, and in four months the tumors reduced by half!

In 13 months, the cancer was in complete remission. Now his mother is in the best shape of her life.

Now, Josh uses that knowledge to help people live the very best life every single day. He treats every patient like he did his mother- like family.

What are the biggest things we can do to change our health?

  • Stress: It’s a killer, so you have to do whatever you can to try and to reduce stress in your life. How? Write on one side of a sheet of paper all the things that stress you out—then address how to change those. On the other side of the paper, write everything that brings you joy—then schedule time for those things into your week. It’s amazing how many people do nothing to bring them joy in their day-to-day lives.
  • Digestive Health: Hypocrates is famous for saying that health begins in the gut. This is one of the most important things to address, and is the topic of Josh’s new book, “How to Heal a Leaky Gut.” Gluten is one of the biggest culprits. It leaks through the gut and recirculates throughout the body, causing all kinds of havoc.
  • Nutrition: Pack your diet full of nutrient-dense healing foods. You have to think like an Olympic athlete: Instead of asking, “What can I get away with eating?” ask “What do I have to put in my body to be the best I can be?” Even nutritionists that assist pro athletes have the wrong idea about how to properly fuel the body. Here’s a tip: CHOCOLATE MILK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU, EVEN AFTER A WORKOUT.
    • Pre-workout nutrition should be low in fat, because fat takes longer to digest. Eat a simple sugar and honey with a quickly absorbable protein like grassfed whey or amino acids.
    • Post-workout meal is higher in protein and should be real food, like a grassfed burger or antioxidant-rich wild salmon with a serving of good carbs from fruit or vegetable sources.
    • For the rest of the day, get plenty of healthy fats and vegetables.

There are lots of different ways to lose weight, but it’s best when weight-loss is a byproduct of good health. Eat simple carbs, simple protein (collagen and wild salmon are the easiest to digest), short and medium chain fats like coconut oil.

As you continue to lose weight and heal your body, include fermented dairy (kefir) and grassfed butter.

Unlike other sweeteners, honey is not a concentrate. What are the benefits of using honey or other natural sweeteners?

  • There’s no easy answer to the question, “Can I eat honey?” The answer is sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no.”
  • Honey has antimicrobial properties.
  • Honey will not ferment or create gut issues like candida.
  • Honey is the simplest sugar to digest.
  • Local honey can contain pollen that will help your body adapt to its surroundings, alleviating symptoms of allergies and asthma.
  • Be careful about which honey you’re buying. 77% of honey sold in grocery stores has no pollen count at all. It’s not real honey. Instead, buy local raw honey.
  • BUT, even if it’s local, raw, organic honey, you’re not going to lose weight if you eat a gallon of it every week! A couple tablespoons a day max.

What about stevia? Unfortunately, the healthy sweetener has been grabbed up by big food and turned into a confusing- if not unhealthy- sweetener.

  • Real stevia leaf is healthy if used in moderation. However, the popular Truvia and other commercial brands contain GMO erythritol and are contaminated during the processing of the leaf into the white powder we buy in packets. Truvia goes through 42 steps to make it 400 times sweeter than sugar.
  • Real stevia leaf can help control blood sugar and diabetes.
  • The Sweet Leaf brand is better than Truvia, as it only takes 3 – 4 steps of refining and does not contain the additives.
  • You can buy the ground stevia leaf online, and a huge bag lasts a long time!

HEALING LEAKY GUT: our intestines are the gatekeepers of the body. They are like a net, and inflammation causes a hole in the net that things start leaking right through. Gluten, casein, and heavy metals then begin to circulate through your body causing:

  • Thyroid issues
  • Joint pain
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Chronic illness

The first step to healing a leaky gut is removing gluten and processed foods!

There are four healing foods that can help repair a leaky gut:

  • Bone broth—sometimes in severe cases, Josh will put patients on a bone broth fast to jump-start the healing process.
  • Organic meats
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Raw goat’s milk kefir

The #1 thing causing leaky gut is prescription antibiotics, which kill both the good and bad bacteria in the gut. This is a big problem, considering that 80% of the immune system is your gut.

You are what you digest!

Good replacements for antibiotics are oil of oregano, clove oil, and tea tree oil.

Load up on (preferably soil-based) probiotics. We used to eat our food from local farms. When you pull a fresh carrot, rinse it, and there’s a little bit of soil embedded in the vegetable, that’s good! Those minerals are probiotics, which help you break down starches.

The baby carrots you buy in bags at the store are sprayed with a chlorine solution. So instead of buying chemical-laden veggies, EAT SOME DIRT!

You can check out Josh Axe’s latest advice on draxe.com. He is working on re-launching his site on a new platform, and publishing his new book about how to heal a leaky gut. If you’re looking for information on metabolism, you’ll want to read “6 Metabolism Death Foods.” You could be surprised about how you’re unintentionally hijacking your health.


Discover how to drop fat with chocolate, bacon, and cheesecake. Plus: learn the 3 worst foods you should NEVER eat and the 7 best exercises for rapid fat loss. Click below to to claim your FREE gift ($17 value)!

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  1. Hi Abel and Josh, thanks so much for this. It’s definitely super confusing out there in the big wide world! Here in Australia we have a stevia brand called Natvia… think it must be similar to Truvia. We’ll definitely be re-looking at this since listening to this podcast and trying to use more natural fruits to sweeten. When you think about it… makes complete sense! Thanks again! Look forward to listening to more! Emma + Carla

      • GMO is not allowed in Europe and if products do contain GMO they have to be labelled in Europe, but that policy is not accepted in the United States, and a few states are fighting for the policy to change. The food companies are too powerful and have lobbyist to keep this policy intact even though they can make Non-GMO versions of the same brands in Europe. The Kellogs Corn Flakes ingredient list is different than the USA version, but still tastes the same or better. The only downside is that it seems the cereals have more sugar than the USA versions especially in the UK. Food companies are abusing sugar more in Europe and other countries compared to USA because there are no restrictions on sugar compared to GMO. Either way they will find a way to make the food products worse or more addictive whether GMO, Non-GMO, Gullten free, etc.

  2. I enjoyed this interview. I’ve shunned honey for a long time, because I assumed that it was just another sugar. But, hearing this podcast and also reading Chris Kresser’s blog post on the topic is making me look at it differently. I also liked Dr. Axe’s balanced approach. His comment about the utility of a ketogenic diet to reach short term goals is a very open and flexible approach. It goes to show that there isn’t a single best diet to fit every circumstance and goal.

  3. Great interview. Thanks so much for the info on Stevia. I gave up all sugar and sweeteners (except for a tiny bit of honey) 10 weeks ago but just yesterday I bought a jar of Stevia, hoping to make some chocolate. I’m in the UK – the Stevia I bought is Canderel Green. I didn’t look at the ingredients label when I bought it because I naively thought that the big ‘Stevia’ on the front of the jar meant it was just stevia. How wrong was I?! The main ingredient is maltodextrin!! It’s still unopened so it’s going back to the shop. Thanks again!

  4. Buck Turgidson says:

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…

    Just another person regurgitating what has now become the norm in orthorexic (i.e. paleo, low-carb, etc.) circles. Everyone is toxic, has leaky gut, is gluten sensitive, has autoimmune disease, and on and on. Give me a break.

    Eat food, get sleep, move your body.

    Less gluten-free paleo brownies and more common sense. This will work for the majority of people who do not have a legitimate health concern.

    For those who suffer from Celiac Disease, Lupus, and myriad other autoimmune issues, I’m sorry if this latest fad for people with too much time and money is negatively affecting you. It won’t be long, though, before they move-on to something else. In the interim, I do wish you well.


    • Buck, Thank you Thank you

      You nailed it. There are so many “experts” on the internet these days. They read a few articles and become “experts” and get a “degree” online and boom, they have a website, a blog and products to sell. It is always your gut, your thyroid, gluten, doctors know nothing, anything foreign sounding (goji, noni, acai) must be good. They uise all kinds of scare tactics to snag people.

      These modern snake oilers are selling old wine in a new bottle, promoting ideas from people like Horatio bates (a lone eye doctor who seemed to have “discovered” a way to “improve” your eyesight without glasses. Horatio Bates is dead and gone , but there are thousands of scammers selling the “bates Method” online, scamming people. Same thing with Weston Price (another lone Dentist who had some good ideas and some misguided ones). Price is dead and gone. Now thousands of these scammers are making tons of money using his name, twisiting his ideas and selling their worthless products on their websites.

      With the economy going so bad the past years, many have resorted to becoming internet “experts” – or should we call them internet charlatans? They are the modern equivalent of the snake oil salemen of the olden days.

      Folks, Just get off your rubenesque butts, get more exercise, get more good quality sleep, stop chomping on your ‘muhrican burgers and fries and bubba sized sugary drinks and pizza day in and day out. Eat more veggies, go sparingly with fat and don’t overeat meat. That is it

      You don’t have to chug fatty coffee that some charlatan is trying to sell you or eat tons of bacon (no it is not healthy to eat lots of bacon, contrary to what these experts may tell you on their websites)

  5. alright so two things:
    first, I’m glad I actually listened to the audio of this while taking a walk because it was informative and if I had watched the video like I normally do, I wouldn’t have retained any of the info because you are both such handsome men! I have been following a paleo diet for a while now and my mother is finally jumping on board with me after struggling for years with all the (what I believe to be) symptoms of leaky gut – specifically joint pain, fatigue, and other not so nice feeling gastrointestinal stuff. She’s probably also sick of me talking about how great I feel! I will be pointing her to Dr. Axe’s site for all those awesome resources. Thanks guys!
    oh, the second thing I was going to do was argue with the guy who commented above me but I don’t really feel like it anymore….I’ll just say you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar 😉 Keep up the great work guys!

    • Trevor Howard says:


      Here’s something I found today that may interest you and/or your Mother:


      I’ve been reading-up on chelation therapy and ended-up going down various rabbit holes. In one of those bottomless portals, I found the above website and book.

      (For the record, I have no business relationships, personal relationships, or financial interests with the author, her website, or any of her affiliates.)


  6. Yea Yea. Some of it was informative, but most of it was the same drivel that I have heard from many many many so called experts who seem to know it all.
    I would say listen to it, take most of it with a grain of salt, and use what is useful. Do your own research. And when you do your research, don’t just skim the first few pages of google, because it is full of these modern snake oilsters who are trying to sell you something by scaring you.

  7. I don’t live in an area that offers much for local foods (no farmers markets). Abel, can you start helping those like me find these quality foods that aren’t available locally with some additional links in the show notes? I would love to where I can get some quality honey, know how to identify a honey fraud in my local stores, and would also love to hear about how honey holds up nutritionally when used in desert recipes. Thanks in advance!

    • Buy raw honey online from localharvest.org/store or winterparkhoney.com. Also you can find quality foods, products, supplements, etc. online from tropicaltraditions.com. Also checkout mybeyondorganic.com. There are plenty of online shopping websites and community projects that are helping people get access to quality food in areas of the world that don’t offer it. People are now setting up projects in poor areas to help families get access to fresh fruits and vegetables free, which is much better than all the packaged and junk food that we Americans donate to these food charities that feed the poor or hungry. They would be better off eating real food than canned food.

  8. Another scaremongering chiropractor.

    Of course the biggest scamming chiropractor lives in the Chicago area, and has become a multi millionaire a few times over. His name resembles the drug company Meck and Cola.

    Oh and there is a sort of an inside “linkedin” of these hucksters now. They say great things about each other on their “blogs” and mention each other in their “podcasts” casually. Some are do gooding survivors of a terrible ailment who found a miracle cure overnight through some sort of an “eureka” accident, are in it to only help others from the goodness of their hearts (it is never about the money), and some are masters of ancient secrets (probably from the few articles they read on weak-a-peadia) and some are “doctors” – I love it when they insist on using the “doctor” thing they earned from a mail order college for a few hundred bucks — and then they are ready to set up shop.

    • And what did you contribute to humanity? You sound really angry and bitter. BTW the guy who’s name you do not like so much often is the first to question the status-quo. Like the war on cholesterol or antistatins pushers. great fellow, did a lot of good.

  9. Thanks for this very informative show. Yet another of my female friends was diagnosed with the big “C” today and after hearing Dr. Axe on your show I had to get her to listen to this podcast immediately. I hope she does. She is a Reiki master but somehow when you hear you have a tumor, convention wisdom reigns. I urged her to take her time and check out this podcast and others for help sorting out the truth from Western slice, dice, kill, and radiate everything.
    Thanks so much for this show and others Abel! I will rate this a ***** 5 star podcast in iTunes.

  10. The only non-GMO Stevia sweetener I know of PureVia, found in many supermarkets. It has a simple ingredient statement and is non-GMO. Good enough for me. Usually costs less than the others too. Comes from Whole Earth Sweeteners Co.

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