Stevia is the common word to refer to the plant stevia rebaudiana which is the sweetest of the stevia species of plants and historically used as a sweetening agent. Stevia has no calories, and it is 200 times sweeter than sugar in the same concentration. This sweetness is traced back to glycoside (bound to sugar) compounds of steviol, with the two most important steviol glycosides being stevioside and rebaudioside A. In low doses, stevia consumption appears to be associated with general anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects.† These effects have been linked to protection of the kidneys, pancreas, liver, and brain when they precede damaging stressors (so although there are some organ protective effects, it is merely due to the general properties of steviol rather than a unique mechanism).†
- Natural Sweetening agent that provides sweetness at really low doses, and has fewer health concerns than sugar, and many other sugar substitutes.
- Standardized to 90% [31.5 mg] steviosides.
- For people with a “sweet tooth”, Stevia provides a non-sugar-spiking alternative.†
- One 2010 study of 19 healthy, lean participants and 12 obese participants found that stevia significantly lowered insulin and glucose levels. It also left study participants satisfied and full after eating, despite the lower calorie intake. (“Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels” Appetite. 2010 Aug; 55(1): 37–43.)†
- Stevia was highly tested by the USDA, and determined to be GRAS—Generally Regard as Safe. (This testing was done in response to erroneous concerns regarding Stevia and Cancer, which remains a false concern for some to this day.)†