Stevia

 

We have been hearing a lot of questions here at the office about stevia. I would like to take just a moment to address your questions.

 

What is stevia?  Stevia is a plant from the sunflower family that grows in subtropical and tropical regions, mostly found in South America. (Specifically Paraguay) It is also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf. The stevia herb contains no sugar so it has none of the same effects as sugar in the body; there are no calories, no carbohydrates, no glycemic index and no effect on insulin levels. This makes stevia a desirable product for people with diabetes. Stevia does not contribute to cavities, as sugar does, since oral bacteria do not feed on it.

 

Where can I purchase stevia?  Our nutrition clients have purchased Stevia in many of our local stores, including Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and Sprouts. The cost is anywhere between $3.00 and $15.00.

 

Does stevia come in different flavors?  It does! This is one of the most exciting parts about stevia. The possibilities are endless! We have heard of many different flavors available: chocolate, vanilla creme, peppermint, hazelnut, cinnamon, lemon drop, English toffee, grape, orange, lemon and apricot.

 

Are Truvia and Stevia the same thing?  No!! Truvia is made partly of stevia but mainly of erythritol, which contains sugar alcohols. Truvia also contains something called Rebiana, which is often referred to as the “stevia extract” in Truvia. However, Rebiana is not an ingredient in the stevia plant, nor does it exist in nature. Rebaudioside A is naturally in the stevia leaf by the action of sunlight upon the leaves. Rebiana is produced by the action of stringent alcohols and chemicals on various stevia glycosides. Rebiana is simply the trade name Cargill gave to its chemically derived product in 2008. 9/10 of 1% of Rebiana is in Truvia. The other 99.1% is the eyrthritol. Truvia is really a sugar product! 

 

 

I’ve heard it has an aftertaste, it that true?  Yes, Stevia does have a somewhat liquorice-y aftertaste to it. And yes, it does take some getting used to. However, as long as you are using the proper amount, the aftertaste problem is eliminated. (See conversion chart below)

 

Can you use it to bake?  Yes! Stevia is a GREAT product for baking! Here’s a quick conversion chart to help you when substituting it for regular cane sugar.

 

Sugar amount

Equivalent Stevia powdered extract

Equivalent Stevia liquid concentrate

1 cup

1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon

1 tablespoon

1/4 teaspoon

6 to 9 drops

1 teaspoon

A pinch to 1/16 teaspoon

2 to 4 drops

 

 

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