Do you want to find a natural, healthy way to sweeten your food and drinks? Stevia is a zero-calorie, natural sweetener that is quickly becoming a popular alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. In this post, we’ll take a look at the benefits of using stevia, the different forms it comes in, and some tips on how to use it. We’ll also explore the potential side effects of stevia and what to do if you experience any of them. With this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether stevia is right for you.
Stevia Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart
Stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener with no calories or carbohydrates. It is low in sodium and has no fat or protein content. Also does not contain any essential vitamins or minerals. It is approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar and has no known effect on blood sugar. Nutritional value per 100 g stevia:
- Biotin: 0 µg
- Calcium: 0.1 mg
- Carbohydrates (Carbs): 0 g
- Chloride: 0.2 mg
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Choline: 0 mg
- Chromium: 0.3 µg
- Copper: 0 mg
- Dietary Fiber: 0 g
- Energy (Calories): 0 kcal
- Fat: 0 g
- Iodine: 0 µg
- Iron: 0.2 mg
- Magnesium: 0.3 mg
- Manganese: 0 mg
- Molybdenum: 0 µg
- Pantothenic Acid: 0 mg
- Phosphorus: 0 mg
- Potassium: 0.2 mg
- Protein: 0 g
- Saturated fat: 0 g
- Selenium: 0.2 µg
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Sugars: 0 g
- Vitamin A: 0 µg
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0 mg
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0 mg
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0 mg
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0 mg
- Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 0 µg
- Vitamin B12: 0 µg
- Vitamin C: 0 mg
- Vitamin D: 0 µg
- Vitamin E: 0 mg
- Vitamin K: 0 µg
- Water: 0 g
- Zinc: 0 mg
What is Stevia?
A small shrub whose green leaves are exceedingly sweet – 50 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is diabetic-safe and more healthful natural sweetener that has zero calories and is multiple times sweeter than table sugar. It has no calories, no carbohydrates and doesn’t promote tooth decay minus the fattening or glucose-altering effects. The leaf and flower of the herb are mostly used. Stevia leaf (an herb from South America) is added to teas and recipes to impart sweetness, contains no calories. If a sweetener is desired, consider stevia, as it stabilizes blood sugar levels in hypoglycemic people. Feel free to try the recipe first without the sweetener and then add only as much as you need. Stevia is available in powder and liquid extract form in market. Glycerin extracts are available, often standardized to the primary component of stevia leaf, stevioside.
Stevia vs Sugar
Stevia and sugar are two popular sweeteners used in food and beverage products. While they are both used to sweeten food, they have some major differences. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is a natural, calorie-free sweetener that is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. It does not affect blood sugar levels, making it a popular choice for people with diabetes or those wanting to reduce their sugar consumption. Sugar, on the other hand, is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. It is a natural sweetener that contains calories, and it does affect blood sugar levels. It is also much less sweet than stevia, so more of it needs to be used to achieve the same level of sweetness.
Stevia In India
- Scientific Binomial: Stevia rebaudiana
- Common English: Sweet Leaf / Sugar Leaf / Sweet Honey Leaf / Sweet Leaf of Paraguay
- Sanskrit: Madhu Patra
- Hindi / Urdu: Gurmaar
- Marathi: Madhu Parani
- Telugu: Madhu Patri
- Seeni Tulsi: Seeni Tulsi
- Punjabi / Sindhi
Health Benefits and Uses
Imagine a sweetener that is good for diabetics! Stevia is a non-sugar natural sweetener that lowers blood sugar levels and makes a good replacement for both sugar and artificial sweeteners. It is indicated for pancreatic imbalances and high blood sugar levels, and it is a type of sugar that diabetics can readily tolerate.
- In sweet recipes use stevia, a natural sweetener, instead of sugar, agave nectar or honey. It has antimicrobial, hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar levels) properties and lowers blood pressure. The herb’s sweet taste and hypoglycemic action make it a valuable remedy in early onset diabetes. Take on its own as a tea or use in place of sugar 1/4 teaspoon of ground leaf is roughly equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar. If you are using stevia from packet then 0.5 g is equivalent to 4 g of sugar.
- Stevia is a South American herb whose leaves produce a sweetener that, unlike sugar or honey, does not send blood sugar skyrocketing. Lab research also indicates it has anti diabetes activities.
- The herb can also help to prevent tooth decay, aid weight loss, and improve immune resistance in yeast infections.
- Stevia-based sweeteners are made from extracts of the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana. The Guarani Indians of Paraguay called the herb ka’a he’ê, meaning “sweet herb.” The Guarani used stevia leaves to sweeten bitter yerba maté and other beverages and to improve the taste of herbal medicines. They also employed the herb medicinally as a tonic for the heart, to help lower blood pressure, to relieve heartburn and kidney ailments, and to dull cravings for sweets.
- The herb is also useful for obesity, weight reduction, calorie and carbohydrate control, high blood pressure. It helps in limiting the sugar in children’s diets, and hence reducing tooth decay.
- It also supports the production of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, helps those with Candida albicans (yeast overrun) on a sugar-free diet.
Stevia: A Natural Sweetener and Sugar Substitute
Stevia is called estevia in most Spanish-speaking countries. It is a powerful sweetener and could be a dietary phenomenon, especially for people watching calories and carbs. Most of the benefits of stevia come from a compound called stevioside, which occurs primarily in the leaves, accounting for 4 to 20 percent of the weight of the dry leaves. A compound similar in structure to stevioside and thought to have some physiological effects is rebaudioside A. It is a plant alternative to chemical sugar substitutes such as saccharin, cyclamates, and aspartame that are possible carcinogens.
Side Effects, Safety and Health Risks
No health hazards known with proper use as a sweetener. The safety of the chemical compound stevioside and of whole stevia leaf has been evaluated extensively in laboratory tests looking at possible toxic, genetic, or cancer causing effects. Both have been determined to be safe when used as a sweetener.
- Avoid during pregnancy.
- May occasionally cause gastrointestinal upset, headache, or dizziness.
- Too much stevia can leave an aftertaste.
- Though it has been tested extensively in other countries, it was banned in the United States on the pretext that its safety was unknown.
- Care should be taken when stevia is used in combination with medications that also lower blood sugar.
- Liquid leaf extracts significantly decreases plasma glucose levels after overnight fasting in healthy adults.