Stevia

Description

What is Stevia?

Stevia is a sweetener derived from the leaves of the plant, Stevia rebaudiana; the chrysanthemum family. Its use in sweetening tea and beverages dates as far back as the 16th century. Stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener with little calories, and it has served as a viable alternative to sugar in meals and beverages.

The parent plant of the product is native to Brazil and Paraguay, and it is now also grown in China and Japan, often used as a herbal supplement. Stevia contains protein, fats, monosaccharides, essential oils, and minerals like iron, cobalt, magnesium.

Stevia is 150 times sweeter than regular sugar. Most stevia products on the shelves made from refined stevia leaf product called rebaudioside A (Reb-A).

Refined stevia products are made available in powder, liquid and granulated forms. The body does not metabolize Stevia, and it lasts longer than sugar; although it leaves a bitter, metallic after taste in high concentrations.

HOW IS STEVIA USED?

The FDA has approved the use of Stevia and its derivatives as an official sweetener for decades. Its leaves and extracts commonly used as dietary supplements. Stevia sweeteners are stable at high temperatures; so they are also used in baked foods. Foods containing stevia sweeteners may be different in taste, texture, and even appearance.

BENEFITS OF STEVIA

It is a commonly used sugar substitute due to the low amount of calories it contains. It is generally considered safe for consumption with food. It can help to maintain a healthy weight and prevent the development of teeth cavities. Stevia is also able to lower blood cholesterol levels, thus keeping hearts healthy without any attendant side effect.