Stevia is a naturally sweet plant native to Paraguay. It is known by herbalists as one of the most health-restorative plants in the world… and by bakers the healthiest sweetener on earth.
In addition to stevia’s intensely sweet glycosides (including steviosides, rebaudiosides and a dulcosides), numerous studies have found stevia leaf to contain proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, rutin (a flavonoid), vitamin A, vitamin C and more than 53 unique phytonutrients.
Stevia as a Sweetener
Stevia has been enjoyed as a sweetener for at least 400 years, and used commercially in Japan and Brazil for more than 20 years.
Stevia extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar and can be used for any sweetening you desire—from sweetening up your morning cup o’ joe to making your favorite brownie recipe.
Because the body does not process stevia’s glycosides (they pass right through the body’s elimination channels) stevia contains zero calories and has a glycemic index of zero.
Up until recently, the US Food and Drug Administration believed there was not enough evidence for stevia to be approved as a non-nutritive sweetener. But in March of 2008, nutrition pioneer Jim May, CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands achieved self-affirmed GRAS status, allowing their brand, SweetLeaf®, to be marketed as a food ingredient, no longer a supplement. Health Benefits of Stevia Stevia’s reported health benefits are numerous. Stevia has been found:
Health Benefits of Stevia
Stevia’s reported health benefits are numerous. Stevia has been found:
- Contribute to blood sugar balance
- Boost weight loss efforts by turning hunger signals off
- Boost energy levels and mental acuity
- Lower elevated blood pressure
- Inhibit the growth and reproduction of some bacteria and other infectious organisms, including the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease
Cooking and Baking with Stevia
Because stevia is a high-potency sweetener, it can be used on its own for sweetening beverages, smoothies, sauces, and other liquid-based foods.
But when it comes to baking, stevia alone comes up short. That’s because sugar adds much more than just sweetness to a dessert. It provides bulk and moisture and can provide a crisp texture or “crunch” factor.
Here at Healing Gourmet you’ll find a wide variety of decadent desserts that use what we call “sweetening synergy”. By combining the intense sweetening power of stevia with other all-natural, non-caloric sweeteners, you can recreate the baking effects of sugar – without any of its health-harming effects.
Stevia’s Sweetening Power
The chart below shows how SweetLeaf stacks up against cancer.
|Sugar||SteviaPlus® Fiber Packets||SteviaPlus® Fiber Powder||SteviaClear® Liquid Stevia||SweetLeaf® Stevia Extract|
|1 tsp||½ packet||¼ tsp||2-3 drops||N/A|
|2 tsp||1 packet||½ tsp||4-6 drops||N/A|
|1 Tbsp||1 ½ -2 packets||¾ tsp||6-9 drops||N/A|
|1 cup||18-24 packets||1 ½ -2 Tbsp||1 tsp||1/3-1/2 tsp|
|2 cups||36-48 packets||3-4 Tbsp||2 tsp||2/3- 1 tsp|
Delicious Desserts Made with Stevia
You can use stevia in all of your favorite desserts – from creamy ice creams to rich chocolate brownies. Check out the delicious, sugar free recipes at our site and add your own favorites too!