All About Stevia
What is stevia?
Perhaps you have already heard of this natural sweetener, derived from the stevia plant which originates in Brazil and Paraguay. If not, you have come to the right place!
Regardless of your personal health goals, cutting down sugar consumption is something we should all strive for – better for your general overall health and definitely much better for your teeth.
So, if you have a sweet tooth or despise the idea of being deprived of your favourite sweet treats, then stevia might just be your golden ticket!
Stevia has 0 calories, 0 sugar and is 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar, so very little is needed to achieve the same effect. It is available in several different formats, the most popular being the crystallized version (similar consistency as table sugar) and small pill-like capsules which are often used to sweeten beverages instead of sugar cubes. I can personally attest that, although the flavour is different to regular sugar, stevia is incredibly versatile and allows you to enjoy sugary treats without the adverse health effects of glucose.
However, you should be aware that all stevia products are not created equal, and many are blended with processed ingredients such as ‘Reb A’ – a form of refined stevia extract – and sugar alcohols, for example Erythritol and Xylitol. This in itself is not a problem, but one should aim to purchase products with a greater quantity of natural ingredients: purer stevia blends are likely to be of better quality and therefore provide a richer array of health benefits.
So, what are the health benefits, you may be asking?
Well, if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, stevia may be an effective product to help manage blood sugar levels whilst enjoying previously unhealthy foods. Research also suggests that stevia promotes better long-term blood sugar control, which is useful for all of us looking to become our healthier selves.
Also, if you are looking to lose weight, then swapping out sugar for stevia is highly recommended as it will significantly reduce calorie intake whilst gratifying your taste buds and cravings for something sweet.
It really is the best of both worlds, so don’t be shy to give it a try!