Stevia: A Refreshing Natural Sweetener

Stevia: A Refreshing Natural Sweetener

Everyone knows that too much sugar—especially refined sugar—is a bad thing. Even artificial sweeteners aren’t a healthy alternative. In recent years, however, a natural herb-based sweetener called stevia has been becoming more and more commonplace.

A plant native to South America, Stevia rebaudiana, or just simply “stevia,” is around 200 times sweeter than common table sugar, sucrose. That is not the only benefit of the herb, though. In this article, we examine the other qualities of this zero-calorie plant-based sweetener and discuss the varieties available on the market today.

From Leaf to Table

There are a variety of manufacturers of stevia products that all create slightly different substances. Good & Sweet, PureVia, Reb A, SweetLeaf Stevia Sweetener, and Truvia all make a product that somewhat resembles table sugar by reducing and crystallizing the sugar in the leaf. Sun Crystals is kind of the “gateway” stevia, combining common table sugar with the plant-based sweetener. Finally, if you want the truly all-natural experience, many garden centers sell the herb itself, which you can plant in the ground in warm climates, or keep potted and take inside for northern winters. With fresh stevia leaves, you can naturally sweeten iced tea or other beverages and a variety of foods, including baked goods.

Benefits

The reasons for choosing stevia over other no-calorie sweeteners go on and on. Other sweeteners could cause health risks; Aspartame is thought to be related to the development of cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, and Saccharide is linked to the development of bladder cancer. In addition, from a taste standpoint these fake sugars are not equitable to normal sugar. On the other hand, stevia is considered safe by medical officials and has no adverse tastes. In fact, certain stevia products can be as much as 200 times sweeter than sugar, so you don’t have to use as much of this calorie-free sweetener.
 

Conversion

The official website for stevia provides us with this table for easy baking conversions. You can really see how potent the sweetness of stevia is compared to table sugar. 

Sugar amount

Equivalent Stevia powdered extract

Equivalent Stevia liquid concentrate

1 cup

1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon

1 tablespoon

1/4 teaspoon

6 to 9 drops

1 teaspoon

A pinch to 1/16 teaspoon

2 to 4 drops

 


CATEGORIES: Diabetes, Alternative Health, Blood Sugar, Healthy Foods, Junk Food Alternatives