All About Stevia Sweetener

All About Stevia Sweetener

With rising health concerns over excess sugar consumption, many people are seeking natural alternatives to satisfy their sweet tooth. One such alternative is stevia, an herbal sweetener extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant.

What is Stevia?

Stevia, scientifically known as Stevia rebaudiana, is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant native to South America. The glycosides in stevia called steviol glycosides give it a sweet taste while having zero calories and zero effect on blood sugar.

Benefits of Using Stevia

  • Helps reduce added sugar and calories
  • Does not raise blood sugar levels so safe for diabetics
  • Zero calories so does not lead to weight gain
  • Tooth-friendly unlike sugar which causes cavities
  • Naturally derived so suitable for clean label products

Is Stevia Safe?

Multiple research studies have confirmed the safety of stevia even with long term use. However, some people can experience a bitter aftertaste, usually with very high doses. Using stevia in moderation is the key.

How to Use Stevia

You can buy stevia in powdered or liquid forms. As it is much sweeter than sugar, you need very little. Start with a tiny amount, taste and adjust as needed. Here are some usage tips:

  • Add drops of liquid stevia to tea, coffee, oatmeal
  • Sprinkle stevia powder when baking cakes, muffins
  • Blend with sugar to reduce overall sweetness

Frequently Asked Questions

Does stevia cause any side effects?

When used in moderate amounts, stevia is unlikely to cause side effects for most people. Some people report nausea, bloating or dizziness when taking extremely high doses.

Can I use stevia if I am diabetic?

Yes, stevia has a negligible effect on blood sugar so it is considered safe for diabetics. But consult your doctor before making any major dietary changes.

Is stevia better than artificial sweeteners?

Yes, stevia is natural while artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin are synthetic chemicals. There are concerns over the long term safety of artificial sweeteners.

Does stevia have carbs and calories?

No, stevia has no carbs, calories or nutrients. So it does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels or lead to weight gain.

Can I grow stevia at home?

Yes, you can easily grow your own stevia plants at home either in pots or garden beds. The plants prefer lots of sun and well-draining soil. Just soak seeds overnight and plant 1 cm deep in soil. Keep soil moist and harvest leaves as needed.