Stevia Sweetener - What Is Stevia?

stevia sweetener is 100% natural

Stevia sweetener is gaining popularity as the best natural sugar substitute. That’s the wonderful thing about stevia, its 100% natural. Its estimated to be anywhere from 250 - 400 times sweeter than sugar, yet it contains virtually no calories!

What is stevia? Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild as a small shrub in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. It is also cultivated in China, Japan, and California. New growers are popping up along the Pacific Rim, as well as Southern Ontario in Canada and even in the south of England.

What Makes Stevia So Sweet?

The glycosides in the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, especially the high concentration of “stevioside”, are what create the incredibly sweet flavor on the tongue, making it unique among the nearly 300 species of Stevia plants.

"What is stevia sweetener?" It’s a different kind of sweet than sugar or honey or maple syrup, because it is not a sugar. There can be a slight bitter aftertaste sometimes, which may take a little getting used to, but it's quite easy to get hooked on the taste!

Stevia has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of Paraguay to sweeten their traditional tea, Yerba Mate. It has also been used extensively in Japan to flavor a wide range of foods, including candy, pickles, dried seafoods, chewing gum, “diet” soda, and vegetable dishes.

Stevia is legally sold in the US as an herbal supplement, not as a food additive. In Europe it is illegal to sell it unless you are a licensed herbalist or otherwise properly accredited practitioner who administers herbal supplements. But this is not due to any danger of consuming it, it's more about the fact that if stevia was legalized as a sweetener, it would soon put other sugar and artificial sweetener manufacturers out of business!

Is Stevia Sweetener Okay For A Candida Diet?

Absolutely! In fact, stevia sweetener is the only sugar substitute that’s safe to use for candida. We know that all forms of sugar should be avoided when treating yeast overgrowth, and that artificial sweeteners are toxic, dangerous substances, not only for candida, but in all circumstances. Since stevia is a natural herb, with no carbohydrates and no calories it’s the perfect choice.

Stevia is sweeter than sugar and artificial sweeteners, and has none of the unhealthy drawbacks associated with either of them. The pure liquid extract form os stevia (a dark green liquid, extracted from the leaves of the plant "as is", with no extra concentration of steviocides) is actually used to help stabilize blood sugar levels when taken as a drink mixed with water, has excellent properties as a skin toner when applied as a mask, and has been shown to help prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay when used in food and drinks, since it is not a sugar.

What Kind Should I Use?

There are many forms of stevia sweeteners on the market. Here are my 4 top choices:

Stevia Sweetener - What Is Stevia?

1 – Dried, ground stevia leaf.

This is a green powder and can be used in foods and beverages. Since it is the whole leaf, it’s a whole food. Look for this form of stevia in your local health food store’s bulk herb section and begin enjoying the benefits.

Stevia Sweetener - What Is Stevia?

2 – Dried, whole stevia leaves.

These whole dried leaves, sometimes sold in smaller pieces, are the best for making stevia tea, a soothing, delicious, hot cup of sweetness. Stevia tea is also great over ice with a lemon slice or mint sprig! Try adding a few leaves to the water for other herbal teas as well.

Stevia Sweetener - What Is Stevia?

3 – Liquid stevia extract.

Read the labels on these! Look for one that is in a vegetable glycerine solution, with no other additives. These extracts are higher in steviosides than the whole leaves are, so it is a much more concentrated product. Start with very small amounts, and resist the temptation to lick it off your finger, its so strong that it tastes horrible unless diluted!

Stevia Sweetener - What Is Stevia?

4 - Stevia Plus. (a powdered form)

Stevia Plus is a powdered combination of inulin fiber, also known as F.O.S. (fructooligosaccharide) and stevia leaf extract. It's white in color and you can even buy it in little packets like you would a sugar packet.

I save this form of stevia for more occasional use, but I do love having it around.

Inulin fiber (F.O.S) is classified as a carbohydrate. This causes many folks to steer clear of it while on a candida diet. I tend to disagree with that line of thinking.

Why do I disagree? Because although it is classified as a carbohydrate, it's undigestible by the human body. Fructooligosaccharides are naturally present in many plant foods including garlic, onions, leeks, tomatoes, asparagus, and chicory. Inulin, containing these fructooligosaccharides, is a soluble fiber - which means it passes virtually unaltered through the stomach until it reaches the intestines. Here, the "good bacterias" naturally present in our lower digestive (large intestine/colon) eat it up. They actually ferment the fiber, producing nutritionally potent metabolic by-products.

When we feed these beneficial microflora in our intestines, we help them to flourish - essentially crowding out detrimental microflora, including Candida Albicans.

To be clear: I'm not suggesting that we start adding powdered inulin fiber to all of our foods. I simply believe that it's okay, and even beneficial, to use this combination product of stevia extract plus inulin fiber in our candida diet.


Check out the recipe sections for some delicious uses for stevia sweetener. You won’t miss sugar with this herbal gift from nature at your side.

One thing to remember when using stevia in your foods -- since it contains no sugar it doesn’t caramelize the way sugars do. Otherwise, its quite versatile, so have fun experimenting with your own recipes and do share your successes!

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