Perhaps you have heard of stevia, but you are not exactly clear on what it is. You may also wonder why you would choose stevia over sugar, honey, or an artificial sweetener. If you are diabetic or you just want to decrease the amount of refined sugars in your diet, stevia is definitely worth considering. Perhaps you wish to reduce or eliminate your consumption of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is also an excellent choice in this circumstance.
So what is stevia exactly? Stevia comes from a plant that has extremely sweet-tasting leaves. In fact, the stevia plant is often referred to as sugar leaf or sweet leaf. Stevia is an all-natural sweetener and contains no artificial chemicals. This makes it a more natural choice than the many artificial sweeteners on market, including aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet’N’Low) and sucralose (Splenda).Whereas some artificial sweeteners have been linked to various negative health consequences, stevia is all-natural and causes no negative side effects. Therefore, you do not have to be apprehensive about using stevia every day in your coffee or tea or on your oatmeal because it is not going to cause you any harm. There are some of the artificial sweeteners that are not appropriate for baking and cooking. This is because the chemicals in the sweetener break down when exposed to heat. Stevia does not have this adverse reaction to heat, so you can use it to bake your bran muffins or sweeten your apple crisp.
Stevia is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way. Stevia has almost no effect on blood sugar, making it an excellent sweetener for diabetics and hypoglycemics. Stevia is virtually calorie-free also, so it is a great choice when you are watching your weight.Stevia is available in all different forms to make it convenient for any use. You can have a small tablet to dissolve in your hot tea or coffee. There is the powdered form that is useful for measuring and baking. This powder is available in packets, so you can sweeten that iced tea you pick up through the drive-through window. There are even stevia drops available to sweeten your iced latte. In fact, some stevia drops come in flavors, such as vanilla, hazelnut and caramel.
You do need to exercise some caution when you use stevia, however. Because you may be so used to putting several sugar or sweetener packets into your iced tea to get it sweet enough, it is easy to overdo it with stevia. Remember that stevia is much, much sweeter than sugar. Therefore, you need to use a light touch when sweetening with it. If you get too much stevia in your food or drink, it can end up tasting bitter.As you can see, stevia is an excellent alternative to sugar, honey or artificial sweeteners. It is all-natural, has no calories to speak of and doesn’t raise your blood sugar. Now that you have answered your question, what is stevia, go ahead and get some and try it today.