What is stevia?
Stevia comes from the stevia rebaudiana shrub which is native to South America. The leaves of the shrub have been used for decades to sweeten drinks. The history of stevia dates back to France and 1930 where the compound stevioside was developed and isolated.
You can purchase stevia in the raw in a refined form which is sold isolated from the leaves. Otherwise, it is manufactured through a crushing process which creates a powder or syrup that has the recognizable sweet taste.
On United States soil, health and nutrition companies are using it in dietary supplement products. This however does not apply to food additives or food ingredients.
Is it sweeter than most sugars?
Yes! This also means that it needs to be used in small quantities.
How fast does the human body process stevia?
Very slowly which also brings about a reduction of high sugar.
How many calories are in stevia?
It is calorie free meaning there are no calories.
Can people with diabetes use it?
Yes, but always consult your physician first.
Can it be purchase in the raw form?
Yes. It can be purchased in grocery stores, health food stores, and farmer markets.
What does it taste like?
A Stevia sweetener has zero calories, yet are as much as 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). Some products may have a bitter taste.
Can the sweeteners be used in baking?
Yes, they can. Many stevia products web sites have conversion charts to help.