Stevia leaves and powder on wood plank

Stevia: Everything You Need to Know

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Are you thinking about making the jump from sugar to stevia? You’ve probably heard that it’s the better way to go if you’re looking for a sugar substitute.

People that struggle with diabetes or weight loss have been encouraged by doctors to make the switch to stevia: everything you need to know. 

Using stevia can even reduce the risk of cavities, which should more than excite all of you mom’s out there. Even using just a small bit of stevia, you’ll be surprised by how much sweeter it tastes then sugar, though it’s much healthier for you. 

You’re probably wondering what other benefits or information might help with your decision? Here’s everything you need to know about stevia. 

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Basic Info About Stevia: Everything You Need to Know

Stevia growing in the field

Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the leaves of a plant called Stevia Rebaudiana. The plant is from the Chrysanthemum family. The leaves are refined until only the sweetness remains. 

The people of South America have been using the native plant for over 1,500 years, while it’s only become popular in the United States over the past few decades. It’s been used specifically to sweeten tea for several centuries. 

You can find it available in a granular powder, small pellets, and a liquid extract. Green leaf stevia is the least-processed, though 30-40 times sweeter than sugar, it still has a slightly bitter taste. 

Stevia extracts are 200 times sweeter than sugar and much less bitter. Then there’s altered stevia, the most processed of the three, and can be 200-400 times sweeter than sugar. Many experts will tell you that altered stevia is the worst form of stevia.   

Stevia as a Zero-Calorie Sweetener

Even though stevia tastes super-sweet, it has zero calories, which can be a good thing for people hoping to cut back on their calorie intake. To be fair, steviol glycosides actually do contain calories, but it does not break down and move into your bloodstream as sugar does.  

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How Long Does It Store?

Just like sugar, stevia has a pretty long shelf life. If you store it in a dry and cool place, there’s no reason Stevis shouldn’t last for at least 4 years. If it happens to be exposed to warm or humid conditions, you may notice that it slightly cakes a bit, but the product should still be safe to consume.     

Is Stevia Bad for You? 

You may have had people discourage you from using stevia, or remember years ago when there was speculation that stevia was not considered safe. It was banned by the United States in the early 1990s after studies were suggesting that the natural sweetener might cause cancer. 

Not until 2008, did the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) deem it a safe sugar substitute and allowed it in U.S food production. This was thanks to Coca-Cola and its rigorous research the company underwent to prove its safety. 

While it’s not considered dangerous or associated with cancer, researchers will still say that there’s not enough information on its long term effects. 

Health Benefits of Stevia: Everything You Need to Know

Although more research needs to be done, it’s believed that stevia can help with a number of health issues, especially high blood pressure and diabetes. Stevia also does not produce acids that are harmful and eat away at our teeth, as sugar does. So not only does it prevent cavities, but also gingivitis.

It is also thought to help when applied to certain skin problems, such as eczema and dermatitis. Stevia is thought to help regain bone mineral density and help treat osteoporosis. 

While researchers once warned that stevia might be a cause for cancer, the tables have turned, and now it’s believed that it can actually be used as a dietary supplement that will fight a number of cancers, including pancreatic cancer. 

Even though stevia is healthier than sugar, it’s not a guarantee that you will lose weight by making the switch, especially if you’re using too much of it. It’s best to use it in moderation.  

Stevia Is In A lot of Our food Already

More and more of our food and drink products have made the switch to stevia at a fast pace. It may just surprise you how many. That’s because it’s considered one of, if not, the healthiest artificial sweetener on the market today. 

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You’ll notice that several candies, ice creams, and frozen yogurts out there have switched to stevia, along with all kinds of vinegar and dressings.  Even some of your favorite Vitamin Waters and Life Waters come with it.  

Using Stevia in Drinks 

People enjoy using the product to sweeten tea, coffee, lemonade, smoothies and it’s already present in soft drinks. Just be sure to read the label and start in small amounts when you go to add stevia to your favorite drinks. 

Stevia in Baking

You can use stevia while baking all kinds of baked goods, including cookies, bread, and cakes, but some people will tell you that it causes a slight licorice aftertaste. You’ll want to be careful while baking with it, as you’ll only need to use a small amount of it compared to sugar. 

To give you an idea, for stevia to be equivalent to one tablespoon of sugar, it only takes 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of stevia to do the trick.  You’ll also have to use a bulking agent because of the volume difference between sugar and stevia. But if you buy Stevia In the Raw, the conversion rate is already taken care of for you.     

Popular Brands

There are a lot of brands out there when it comes to stevia, so we’ll share with you some of the best. Stevia In the Raw, Truvia, SweetLeaf, Now Foods, and NuNaturals NuStevia are the top 5 brands out in the market today. 

While you might not find every one of these brands in your local grocery store, they should carry at least two or three of them. I buy it at my local Walmart. You can buy it online as well, Stevia in the Raw or Stevia in the Raw packets

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Final Word 

When it comes to artificial sweeteners, stevia is king! Have you, or do you plan on using stevia more often to help sweeten up your life a bit? If you’ve enjoyed stevia for some time, what differences have you noticed?

I hope this article about Stevia: everything you need to know has helped break things down for you. Please keep prepping and stay well. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Stevia AdobeStock_200780078 Dionisvera, Stevia Plant Depositphotos_82012808_s-2019

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24 Comments

  1. Glad to read this article with some “solid” information on the product. I have used it for several years. However, it doesn’t seem that much sweeter than sugar to me. Perhaps it is because I bought Walmart brand and not the one you mentioned.

    1. HI Diana, I’m not sure, I buy it at Walmart (six bags at a time) and it’s a green bag Stevia In The Raw. I have a sweet tooth, wish I didn’t but I do. LOL! I need stevia! Linda

  2. One of the truly super things about stevia is that (unlike the pink, yellow, and blue artificial sweeteners) it won’t increase your insulin resistance, which is the major problem in Type 2 Diabetes.

    Be very careful to read the ingredients–quite a few of the “stevia” sweeteners in the grocery store are actually stevia combined with sucralose or other sweetener that’s cheaper and not good for you). SweetLeaf is fine, as is the Trader Joe stevia extract. Also, monk fruit sweetener is safe to use (doesn’t increase insulin resistance)–it’s a bit harder to find, usually more expensive, but doesn’t have the slight bitter aftertaste which I can still detect with stevia (so it’s what I use in our hot chocolate!)

    Black thumb moment… I did try growing stevia one year and Every Single Seedling died on me… Sigh.

  3. All of the “in the raw” brand products I’ve found have undesirable ingredients, such as maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is said to raise your blood glucose levels even more than sugar. I avoid it at all costs.

  4. I was very concerned about the maltodextrin in some stevia products so I did a 3 month trail basis. It was amazing..it did not raise my blood glucose at all because I did not have enough of it to do so. I used it in my tea, baked with it and had it on my granola..3 months and even my doctor was surprised. In order to raise the blood glucose level you would have to consume more than an average user would ever use every day. So my trail went well and I have no more concerns.

  5. Hey, Linda et al.: Our family has used Sweetleaf Stevia for at least over a decade! I use it in my “berried jello”, which is made with blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries, strawberries and sometimes a few sweet cherries in it. The only other ingredients are Knox gelatin (or something similar but organic), and stevia. Comes out wonderful and everyone raves about it, are always asking for it! I like to use 7 packets plus a few drops of the Sweetleaf mixed berry stevia liquid in the 3 cups of boiling water that is in this recipe. It comes out FANTASTIC and without any aftertaste! The berries are sour enough naturally that they overcome any “off” taste!

    I also bake with stevia, make jams & pickles with stevia, iced teas, coco mojo, etc., etc., etc. The entire family LOVES Sweetleaf stevia! Once in a while, depending on a recipe, I may add a small amt. of Coconut Sugar or Cane Sugar to “tweak” the flavor, but that is the very smallest addition, as it’s mostly Stevia. This is mostly true when I make pickles.

    As a matter of fact, Anne Louise Gittleman, once nicknamed the premier nutritionist in the USA says Sweetleaf’s the only brand she uses! We can get it so cheaply through our Frontier Wholesale Club (orders once a month)! We NEVER pay the crazy prices for Sweetleaf Stevia at regular grocery stores!!

      1. Meant to tell you, Linda: Azure sold out their entire “transitional sweet cherry” crop at that a crazy-low price. They were still listed as available until my order got processed yesterday, and then it said “sold out”. I am pretty bummed about that, but HEY, that means there will be a little less to get used up in that jam-packed freezer of ours…i.e. a little bit less pressure, which is always a good thing!

        1. Hi Jess, sometimes that happens for a reason, right? Sometimes I overwhelm myself with a box of pears and peaches. I need to remember my girls do not live at home anymore, and I can only do so much. It’s a blessing whatever I can do. I’m waiting for Bartlett Pears so I can dehydrate some. I would love to dehydrate some peaches as well. Linda

          1. Yeah, Linda: I have the last of my local apricots in the freeze drier right now, probably coming out tonight. They are so SPECTACULAR, I could barely believe how wonderful they tasted for the last batch! We are so grateful! PLUS they were so easy to process to get ready for the F-Drier, too! Dehydrated Pears and Peaches sound wonderful!!

            Best,

            Joyce S. (JESS)

          2. Hi Joyce, oh my gosh, freeze-dried apricots! Yummy! I can’t remember if I have any store bought freeze dried ones from Thrive Life, they are all in my storage unit until the house gets built. Yours would be so much nicer! I love it! Linda

          3. HEY, Linda: I may have spoken too early. The Azure website showed the cherries as “Sold Out for the Season” and unlikely to ship, but when I got the details of my order last night, it showed the case of cherries on there!! Say what???? I guess we will wait and see if they come of not!

            Best,

            JESS

  6. Dear Linda: OH MY GOODNESS! I just received an email withe contents or my Azure order that has shipped and it included the Bing Cherries!! OH MY! Now, I will need to call them to find out for sure are they coming or not, but MAYBE my order snuck under the wire for the “sold out” situatio for the Bing Cherries. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed.

    Also, we just came home for a fabulous potluck for the Rochester,NY branch of the Weston A Price Foundation (on healng and nutrition). I would suggest to any one, if you are interested in meeting like-minded people in your area who believe in good nutrition that heals the body, you should get to know the other members in your area,or your state. WHAT A BLESSING!!

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