What Is Stevia Sweetener?

"What is Stevia Sweetener?"

After reading this page, check out the bottom of the page for more articles about stevia and its uses as a sweetener and a health tonic.

Stevia is an herb used as a natural sugar substitute.

The leaves themselves, picked directly from a stevia plant, are estimated to taste about 30 times sweeter than sugar, and stevia extracts are estimated to be between 300-400 times sweeter than sugar, yet stevia sweetener contains virtually no calories.

what is stevia sweetener ? 100% natural

What is stevia sweetener? 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. I'm sure there are plenty of other growers popping up around the world as well!

As the benefits of stevia have been studied and documented throughout the past 50 years, and peoples' enthusiasm for this herb have escalated, attempts have been made to cultivate and grow Stevia Rebaudiana plants in other parts of the world, often with little success. Stevia needs a moist climate, well drained soil types, with no frosts or freezes in order to grow and thrive.

What is Stevia Sweetener
What makes it 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, honey, maple syrup or agave nectar, because it is not a sugar.

Be careful which variety of stevia you buy. Some of the stevia powders are bulked with fillers that are not so appealing.

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 and Korea to flavor a wide range of foods, including candy, pickles, dried seafoods, chewing gum, soda-pop, 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!

What is Stevia Sweetener
What kind should I use?

There are many forms of stevia sweeteners on the market.

Here are my 4 top choices:

What Is Stevia Sweetener?

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.

What Is Stevia Sweetener?

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.

What Is Stevia Sweetener?

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!

What Is Stevia Sweetener?

4 - Stevia Plus

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.

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 to use this combination product of stevia extract plus inulin fiber in occasional candida stevia recipes..

There is another kind of stevia that is highly beneficial. It's called whole leaf stevia extract, and is really sold as a medicinal treatment. It has no extra concentrations of steviocides added so it is not super sweet for adding to recipes, though some people do use it in foods and drinks.

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 recipes -- since it contains no sugar it doesn’t caramelize the way sugars do. Otherwise, it's quite versatile, so have fun experimenting with your own recipes and do share your successes!

What Is Stevia Sweetener - back to Home Page

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