Stevia rebaudiana is a herbal shrub originally native to Paraguay and Brazil, but now also grown in Japan and China, whose leaves are used as sweeteners. Historically, this sweet-tasting plant has been used for food and medicine, and its leaves and crude extracts have been sold as dietary supplements. It is used as a non-nutritive sweetener and herbal supplement. Sweeteners made from stevia are made from steviol glycosides extracted from the leaves of the plant after purification to remove bitterness.
Quick Facts About Stevia
- As a sugar alternative for diabetics, it has shown potential health benefits.
- There is 200 to 300 times more sweetness in natural sweetener that table sugar.
- In the United States, Stevia is approved for use moderately and does not appear to pose any health risks.
Are there calories in Stevia?
Because Stevia has so few calories per serving, it can be classified as "zero-calorie." The use of Stevia sweeteners can assist in lowering one's intake of added sugars while still allowing one to enjoy the taste of sweets. There are low-calorie sweeteners in this category like aspartame and no-calorie sweeteners like stevia sweeteners, monk fruit sweeteners, and sucralose, but they are often referred to collectively as sugar substitutes, high-intensity sweeteners, non-nutritive sweeteners or low-calorie sweeteners.
Due to the fact that they are not absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract, steviol glycosides do not add calories to the body or affect blood sugar levels. In the colon, gut microbes break down glucose molecules and use them for energy. Afterwards, the remaining steviol backbone is absorbed through the portal vein, metabolized by the liver, and excreted through the urine.
Is Stevia safe?
FDA generally recognizes high-purity steviol glycosides as safe (GRAS), an assessment category. GRAS certification requires an expert consensus deeming an ingredient safe for its intended use. FDA approved rebaudioside A, derived from Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni), as its first GRAS sweetener in 2008.
Steviol glycosides are safe to consume in moderate amounts, according to international health authorities such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Due to these global authorities' conclusions, stevia sweeteners are allowed in about 60 countries.
Possible health benefits
Stevia has the potential to offer considerable health benefits as an alternative to sucrose, or table sugar.
Stevia can help improve:
1. Weight control
Many factors contribute to overweight and obesity, including physical inactivity and a diet high in fat and added sugars.
The American diet contains an average of 16 percent calories from added sugars. The result has been linked to increased weight gain and poor control of blood glucose levels.
No sugar is present in Stevia, and there are very few calories, if any. With a well-balanced diet, it can reduce energy intake without sacrificing taste.
There is no carbohydrate or calorie content to stevia sweeteners, according to research. Additionally, they have not been shown to affect blood sugar levels or insulin responses. This allows people with diabetes to eat a wider variety of foods and follow a healthy eating plan.
The effects of stevia on metabolic outcomes were also compared with the effects of placebos in five randomized controlled trials. Stevia had minimal to no effect on blood glucose levels, insulin levels, blood pressure, or body weight, according to the study.
3. Blood pressure
Stevia extract contains glycosides that dilate blood vessels. Additionally, sodium excretion and urine output can be increased by them.
Researchers found that stevia could reduce blood pressure in a 2003 study. It was suggested in the study that the stevia plant may be cardiotonic which can regulate the heartbeat and normalize blood pressure.
Are Stevia Allergies common?
Stevia's potential allergic reactions were reviewed in 2010 by the European Food Safety Committee (EFSA).
According to the reviewers, the steviol glycosides under evaluation do not react and do not metabolize into reactive compounds, so consuming them will not cause allergies.
Stevia extract, even the highly purified forms, rarely causes allergic reactions. Stevia has not been associated with any allergic reactions since 2008 studies.
Easy and Delicious Liquid Stevia Recipes
● 12 oz. strawberries
● 2 cups water
● 3/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
● 5 cups water
● 50 drops liquid stevia
No Bake Peanut Butter cookies
● 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
● 4 tablespoons butter, softened
● 10 drops liquid stevia
● 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
● 1/4 cup powdered erythritol
1. Add all ingredients and mix well.
2. Put in the fridge for 10 minutes to get cold.
3. Remove dough from the fridge and form small round balls and place on a cookie sheet.
4. Freeze or refrigerate.
Coffee Coconut Truffles
● 1/2 cup coconut butter
● 3 Tablespoons 100% cocoa powder
● 1 Tablespoon ground coffee
● 1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
● 10 drops of stevia
● 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1. Melt the coconut butter.
2. Mix in all the ingredients (except the coconut oil)
3. Take an ice-cube tray and pour approximately 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil into 6-7 of the cups.
4. Spoon the mixture into each cup of the ice-cube tray and gently pat them flat with a fork.
5. Freeze for 4-5 hours.
6. Defrost at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Simple Salad Vinegarette
● 3/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
● 1/4 Cup Water
● 1/3 Cup Mustard, plain
● 1 tsp Stevia
● 1/2 tsp Salt
● 1/2 tsp Pepper
● Add all ingredients except water to a bowl or salad dressing container. Combine well by shaking or whisking.
● Then add the water and shake again. If the Vinegar flavor is too strong you can add water or olive oil to dilute to taste.