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The 7 benefits of stevia and how to use the different types of stevia(1)

Views: 74     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-07-04      Origin: Site


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The stevia plant has been used for over 1500 years by people living in South America, including the Guarani people of Brazil and Paraguay, who call it ka'a he'ê, meaning 'sweet herb'.

These indigenous people of South America like to use this calorie-free sugar substitute in their maté teas, both as medicine and as a sweet treat. In these countries it is also used specifically as a traditional medicine for burns, stomach problems, colic and even contraception.

It can help you reduce your sugar consumption, but are there side effects of stevia that may be detrimental to you?

There are several articles and other sources online that claim stevia may have some negative side effects. This can be confusing, especially since it is often touted as one of the healthiest natural sweeteners around.

So is stevia bad for you? Fortunately, side effects are usually uncommon, especially if you choose the right product.

In this article, we'll give you a list of the good and bad of how stevia side effects can affect your health, as well as the differences between the many types of this natural sweetener.


What is stevia?

Stevia is an herb in the Asteraceae family and is closely related to ragweed, chrysanthemum and marigold. Although there are over 200 species, stevia is the most prized variety and the cultivar used to produce most edible products.

Even without providing calories, stevia can naturally add sweetness to recipes. Stevia leaf extract is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, depending on the specific compound in question, meaning you only need a little at a time to sweeten your morning tea or next batch of healthy baked goods.

In 1931, chemists M. Bridel and R. Lavielle isolated two steviol glycosides that sweeten plant leaves: stevioside and lebaudioside (there are five variants: A, C, D, E and F). Stevioside is sweet but also has a bitter taste that many people complain about when using it, whereas the isolated lebaudioside is sweet and has no bitter taste.

Many unprocessed/crude stevia or minimally processed stevia products contain both types of compounds, while the more highly processed forms contain only lebaudiosides, which are the sweetest part of the leaves.

Rebiana or high purity lebaudioside A is "Generally Recognised as Safe" (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as an artificial sweetener in foods and beverages.

Studies have shown some health benefits from using whole leaves or purified Rebaudioside A, but this may not be the case for altered mixtures that actually contain very little of the plant itself.

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