I’m sure you’ve noticed that for some time now on supermarket shelves in the sweetener section, there’s a product that catches the eye: stevia. It is a superfood, an alternative sweetener to sugar and totally natural – suitable even for diabetics.
Stevia is a plant that allows us to add sweetness to our dishes, but in a healthy way. It’s no wonder that it has come to stand out as a beneficial item for our health, since it fights diseases that are prevalent in todays world like hypertension and obesity.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best stevia supplements on the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about stevia
- 3.1 What is stevia exactly?
- 3.2 What is stevia used for?
- 3.3 Is stevia a sugar substitute?
- 3.4 How many calories does stevia have?
- 3.5 What advantages does stevia provide to my health?
- 3.6 Is stevia recommended for everyone?
- 3.7 What is the recommended dose of stevia?
- 3.8 What are the possible forms of stevia on the markets?
- 3.9 How much does stevia cost?
- 4 Purchase Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Stevia can sweeten dishes much more than the same amount of table sugar, however, the real advantage is that it has no calories.
- As it contains zero calories, stevia is totally suitable for supplementing a balanced diet. It’s a way to reduce sugar without sacrificing taste.
- Stevia is a plant, but it cannot be ingested in its plant form. A chemical process is required to extract the glycoside from steviol, which is the substance that makes up the sweetener.
Ranking: The best stevia supplements on the market
Below you will find some of the best stevia supplements currently on the market. Carefully consult the characteristics of each product and, this way, you’ll soon be able to identify the stevia product that best suits your needs.
No. 1: Truvia, Stevia 270gr (powder)
Truvia stevia leaf extract is a high purity and consistent sweetener. Its aroma is authentic and does not have a bitter component, so it is great to sweeten (without compromising health) a coffee, tea or any drink or food that requires it. This formula does contain a little bit of sugar so it bakes and browns like sugar.
This product uses natural flavours to bring out the best in the sweetener just like salt and pepper (or any other spice) would be used to enhance the taste of food. Consumer reviews say this is as good as it gets when you want to go sugar free. The container has also been reported to be super handy and easy to use.
No. 2: SweetLeaf Natural, Stevia 0.06 litres (drops)
The stevia product comes in liquid form and the containers yields 288 portions. This product doesn’t have any artificial flavours or colours. It can be used for sweetening beverages, desserts and yogurts among many other foods.
It is therefore a table sweetener based on steviol glycosides, water and glycerin, recommended even for those who cannot or do not want to ingest sugars. According to the manufacturer, two or three drops of this product are sufficient to achieve the desired sweetness. Consumers report this product to have minimal after taste.
No. 3: Stevia in the Raw, Natural Sweetener 275gr (granulated cup-for-cup)
This is a naturally sourced, zero calorie sweetener. It comes in a convenient resealable stand-up bag. It measures cup for cup, just like sugar. This 100% pure stevia extract is certified USDA organic, Non-GMO, Halal & Kosher. Consumers love this product in exchange of sugar in their recipes.
It is suitable for most diets due to having 0 calories, 0 carbohydrates and 0 fats. These calorie counts make it perfect for those on a weight loss program. Moreover, it is also a diabetic favourable product as it does not raise your glycemic levels or spike blood sugar levels.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about stevia
Stevia is one of those supplements that helps us enjoy certain foods or drinks in all their splendour while at the same time honouring our health. In reality, what we consume is not the plant itself, but a compound extracted from it called steviol glycoside.
What is stevia exactly?
Although Stevia Rebaudiana is a plant native to Paraguay, it seems to have taken root in recent years in Spain. While not long ago no one knew what it was or what it was used for, today few are left who have yet to hear about the many beneficial properties.
Stevia is a plant with intensely green leaves. However, this medicinal plant cannot be consumed directly in plant form, in reality, the sweetener bearing its name is actually a processed compound. A chemical process is required to obtain this element called steviol glycoside, which is what we use to sweeten food or beverages.
What is stevia used for?
Stevia acts mainly as a sugar substitute. This is a supplement that came as a blessing for many users who were not very happy with their sugar intake and could not find a sweetener that was remotely healthy.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that has managed to defeat other conventional sweeteners, like the ones with a base of aspartame. It is popular not only because it does not provide a single calorie to your diet (while still having very sweet taste), but also because it does not affect blood glucose levels. It is therefore recommended even for people who suffer from diabetes.
Is stevia a sugar substitute?
Stevia is one of the most popular natural sweeteners available today. What’s more, for many people it’s the best substitute for sugar. The European Union approved its consumption in 2011 as a food additive. Since then, many people have banished sugar from their diets and exchanged it for this substance.
According to experts, stevia is 300 to 400 times sweeter than white sugar. That and the fact that it does not influence blood sugar levels is why it has gained many followers. The only drawback reported is that after the sweet taste has passed it could leave a bitter aftertaste.
How many calories does stevia have?
One of the most convincing aspects for stevia users is that it contains zero calories. This means that it can be enjoyed as an alternative to sugar for people with diabetes.
Likewise, stevia is recommended in slimming diets, since consuming it will not add calories to your diet.
The advantage of not possessing any calories is that users do not have to give up their taste for sweets. Precisely because it contains no calories, it also doesn’t affect blood glucose levels. For this reason, it is an ideal substance for those who have restrictions in this regard. Its sweet taste has a satiating effect.
What advantages does stevia provide to my health?
As a sweetener, and unlike most others on the market, the main advantage of stevia is that it maintains blood sugar levels. This is good news especially for those with diabetes, who should be aware of not eating foods that contribute to raising these levels.
But there’s more, because stevia has zero calories taking stevia within reasonable parameters may help to alleviate high blood pressure. Finally, it is also considered a powerful antioxidant.
Is stevia recommended for everyone?
The best thing about stevia is that it is an appropriate supplement for all kinds of people. To speak of it as a miracle product would be exaggerating. However, it is more than clear that its consumption is safe, as declared by the European Food Safety Authority and the Canadian Nutrition Society.
Moreover, as previously mentioned, its consumption is suitable for people who suffer from diabetes, hypertension or obesity. Stevia is even fully recommended for children and pregnant women.
Stevia is considered an adequate aid in slimming diets.
What is the recommended dose of stevia?
According to the European Food Safety Authority, the maximum recommended daily dose of stevia is 4 mg of extract per kilogram of body weight of the person. This can be seen more clearly with a concrete example. For example, if an individual weighs 120 lb, he can consume 240 mg of stevia each day.
For practical purposes, we could say that an adult can ingest between 4 and 5 tablespoons of stevia a day without any problems. This amount would be equivalent to about 70 grams of sugar.
What are the possible forms of stevia on the markets?
Stevia can be found on the market in two common formats: granulated (very similar to sugar) and liquid. Let’s see what the characteristics of each one are.
Stevia in granulated form is perhaps the most common, as it is a good way to adapt more quickly to this sugar alternative. White in colour, these powders are sprinkled or added to the drink or recipe in question.
On the other hand, stevia in liquid form usually comes in a container with a dispenser. It is standard for the product itself to inform you of the recommend number of drops suggested for each case. Generally, 2 or 3 drops will be enough to sweeten a coffee or tea. A less common format, although it also exists, would be stevia in dissolvable tablets.
How much does stevia cost?
The price of stevia will vary depending on the brand, the quantity contained and the format in which it is presented. It’s also possible that this supplement may be more expensive if it comes from organic farming.
In any case, the prices can be between 5 and 15 euros, depending on the size of the package. This means that a bottle of liquid stevia of about 100 ml could cost about 10 euros on average.
Next, we’ll show you what are the criteria to consider when buying stevia. These are, in general terms, the aspects you should pay attention to when selecting one type of stevia supplement over another:
- Package Size
- Side Effects
- Expiration Date
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One of the first things to consider when buying a stevia supplement is the size of the package. You will have to decide on what uses you have for it, if you are going to consume it quite frequently and or not for example. Remember that, depending on the format chosen, it could have an expiration date, so it is advisable to select an amount that gives you time to consume within the stipulated period.
As with any other supplement, it is essential that you pause for a moment to look at the ingredients table. The essential component is the so-called steviol glycoside, which is the plant extract. The more percentage of this extract in the supplement, the better. It is usually accompanied by other natural ingredients such as water or vegetable glycerin.
Of course, when consulting the list of ingredients of a product it is very important to see if stevia contains any additives or any other type of chemical preservatives. Examples include potassium sorbate, maltodextrin, or ethanol. The inclusion of any of these additives is usually for preservative or sweetening functions. By adding chemicals, the main benefit of stevia (consuming something purely natural) will be lost.
This natural sweetener does not produce any side effects if consumed within the doses recommended by experts. Thus, it is an absolutely safe supplement for your health. The problem occurs when additives or artificial ingredients are added, which could be harmful to our systems.
There is no doubt that price is one of the most important purchasing criteria. Therefore, in order to identify the best stevia supplement with the best price-quality ratio, it is necessary to start an exhaustive search. This translates into researching the most reliable brands that, at the same time, offer an affordable price.
Since it is considered a superfood and while it is still a relatively recent discovery, stevia is a somewhat expensive product. However, this does not mean that it is impossible to find a product that suits both your needs and budget.
Last but not least, it is vital that you look at the expiry date of the stevia supplement of your choice. If it’s granulated, you won’t have to worry because it’s much better preserved than stevia in liquid form. In the latter case, it should be kept refrigerated after opening and consumed before the expiry date, which is usually within three months of opening.
As you have seen throughout this article, stevia is a supplement known for its multiple health benefits. It is for this reason that for a while now this supplement has become the star sweetener and every day more and more people are taking sugar out of their lives by replacing it with stevia.
Remember that high consumption of sugary foods and beverages appears to be the cause of increased obesity and other metabolic disorders in North America. Hence the appearance of natural substitutes that offer the same result on the palate, but with no risk to health. What a wonderful time to be alive!
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