What is Stevia?
We learned in Cut the Sugar, that we need to make changes to reduce the sugar in our diets. I am so excited to see more and more Stevia products on the shelves. This is great news for people wanting a zero calorie, healthy sugar alternative.
What is Stevia exactly?
Stevia is actually derived from a plant. It is related to a daisy and ragweed (I’ll take the daisy, thank you!). The Stevia plant can be found in Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina and it is cultivated in China. You can even grow it yourself if you want! Stevia has zero calories and is 200 times sweeter than sugar without affecting blood sugar. Since it is sweeter than sugar, a little goes a long way! You also don’t want to over do Stevia because there can be too much of a good thing, then it will taste bitter.
Some studies showed that consuming other artificial sweeteners increased sugar consumption and eating, but not so with Stevia. People who consumed a meal with stevia instead of sugar did not eat more and had lower blood sugar following meal (Win, win!).
Stevia is more than just a sugar substitute: Livescience.com says that “stevia also served as a treatment for burns, colic, stomach problems and sometimes as a contraceptive.” Pretty neat stuff here!
Is Stevia Safe?
100daysofrealfood.com explains that not all Stevia is created equal. Truvia is made with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). You want to look for whole leaf stevia products to avoid the added chemical ingredients that some companies add as fillers. (I’ve linked to a few products that we use in our house). Dr.Weil explains that Stevia has been used safely in Japan for over 30 years. Dr.Weil also says that he “consider(s) it safer than aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose and ha(s) seen no compelling evidence that stevia poses a threat to human health.”
I’ve been using Stevia for a few years now. I even have some whole stevia leaves that I have used in baking and add to tea sometimes when I brew it to naturally sweeten the tea. I primarily have changed to using NuNaturals Nustevia Pure White Stevia Extract (see note below). Since this is pure stevia with no added fillers, a little goes a long way. You just use the small holes to add a few shakes to whatever you are sweetening. I will add 3 shakes to a cup of Greek Yogurt. Click Here for a stevia conversion chart.
NuStevia White Stevia Pure Extract: 2 tsp is a sweet as 1 cup (48 tsp) of sugar NuStevia White Stevia Pure Extract: 1/32 tsp is a sweet as 1 tsp of sugar
So how do these products taste?
Here is my first stevia product review: Sevia Soda
This Blue Sky Free Cherry Vanilla Creme Soda peaked our interest AND it was on sale! Bonus for us.
Adam’s parents were in for Thanksgiving so we splurged to give it a try. The census was all positive from all four of us. Adam’s dad commented that it had a really good Vanilla flavor. Adam says it is a little sweet, but he doesn’t drink coke (or soda or pop) in general. I really liked it. It is cold here so I’m not craving a cold drink, but I know when I was pregnant – this would have been so so perfect during May and June! I can just imagine drinking it over some Sonic ice… oh yum! I also think it would be good in a punch for a party.
See? it is getting easier and easier to be a Trim Healthy Mama! This weight loss thing is getting so easy, have you tried it yet?
Stevia has been such a great product for me. I use the stevia on the go – EZ-Sweetz De-bittered Stevia – for when I’m out and want some unsweet tea or coffee. I also use stevia in all of my Brownie in a Mug and when I sweeten my Greek yogurt in the mornings.
Adam still likes have packets of stevia for sweetening his coffee and drinks. I like using the liquid for drinks mostly and making skinny chocolate. I use the NuNaturals for baking and other uses.
Have you tried stevia yet? What do you think?
NuNaturals have changed their formula recently to include maltodextrin. Here is another option for pure stevia extract. It may seem expensive, but since it is pure extract, you only use a few shakes each time you use it. They last forever!