Monday, May 29, 2023

What is Stevia? (And Why You Need to Switch to it!)

South Americas have been using the leaves from the Stevia Rebaudiana shrub as a sweetener and medicinal herb for centuries. The indigenous people in Paraguay called it kaa he-he, a native term which translates as “sweet herb”. They commonly used the leaves to enhance the taste of bitter mate (a tea-like beverage) and medicinal potions, or simply chewed them for their sweet taste. In India, it is called Meethi Patti in Hindi, which means ‘sweet leaf’.

Today the wonders of this sweet lead have been discovered the world over and many people are making a conscious choice to switch from sugar to Stevia as their choice of natural sweetener.

The leaves are a source of a natural, non-caloric, and non-cariogenic (does not cause dental “cavities”) sweetener. The leaves contain diterpene glycosides, commonly known a steviosides, which are approximately 300 times as sweet as sucrose or up to three-fifths as sweet as saccharine

Types of Stevia

1. Green Leaf 

  • Least processed of all types of stevia
  • Unique because most natural sweeteners contain calories and sugar (like honey), but green leaf stevia has no calories or sugar
  • Used in Japan and South America for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy
  • Tastes sweet, slightly bitter and isn’t quite as potent as most stevia products
  • 30–40 times sweeter than sugar
  • Has been shown to benefit blood sugar levels, cancer, cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight loss
  • Best option, but still should be used in moderation

2. Extracts 

  • Most brands extract the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside), which doesn’t have the health benefits found in stevioside
  • No calories or sugar
  • Tastes sweeter than green leaf stevia
  • About 200 times sweeter than sugar

3. Altered/Barely Stevia-Like 

  • Extensive processing and added ingredients make the end product barely stevia at all
  • Contains GMO ingredients
  • No calories or sugar
  • Rebaudioside stevia products are about 200–400 times sweeter than sugar
  • Side effects like gastrointestinal problems

nutriplus steviaQNET’s Nutriplus Natose Stevia Liquid Concentrate falls in the first category. A natural sweetener extracted from leaves of the Stevia plant, it’s 100% vegetarian, contains no artificial flavouring, and has a low glycemic index.

You can use the Nutriplus Stevia in place of sugar in your coffee or tea. You can also use it in baking recipes or any other recipe that recommends sugar. It’s important to realise that a little bit of stevia goes SUCH a long way. You need so much less stevia in comparison to sugar

Helpful general conversions using a stevia product are as follows:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar = 5 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 tablespoon sugar = 15 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 cup of sugar = 2 teaspoons liquid stevia

Have you tried the Nutriplus Natose Stevia Liquid Concentrate in your recipes? If you have been enjoying healthier treats with Stevia, do share them with us in comments.

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