If you are not yet familiar with stevia sugar subsitute, you’re in for a pleasant discovery.
Stevia is an herb, native to South America and Central America. With its extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has attracted attention as a sugar replacement that does not contribute to high blood glucose levels, does not cause tooth decay, and is supportive of a healthy low carb diet.
Stevia is an ideal sweetener to both prevent type 2 diabetes and treat type 2 diabetes. Medical research has also shown possible benefits of stevia in treating obesity and high blood pressure.
Stevia has been widely used in Japan, where it accounts for 40% of the sweetener market. Political controversy and health concerns limited stevia’s availability in the U.S. until 2008 when stevia become commercially available as a sweetener.
Stevia is sold in different forms, most commonly as a refined white powder, available in bulk or packaged in individual-use packets, or in a concentrated liquid extract that is ideal for baking. Both these forms of stevia are usually available in a health food store.
Sweet Leaf is one brand of stevia, commonly sold in health food stores. The packets of white powder contain inulin soluble fiber and stevia leaf extract; the liquid contains stevia leaf extract, purified water and grapefruit seed extract.
A third form of stevia that is closest to the original plant, dried, sifted and unrefined green stevia leaf can be steeped in boiling water with any other herb or tea to provide sweetness. Powdered, unrefined green stevia powder sweetens blended drinks such as smoothies. These two forms of stevia may be harder to find in a health food store, they can be ordered online.
Because of its concentrated sweetness, a little bit of stevia in any of its forms goes a long way.
In baking, stevia tastes best when combined with another healthy sweetener, either granulated erythritol, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, barley malt syrup, or vegetable glycerine.
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