What You Should Know
Stevia is an all-natural sweetener that grows in sub-tropic and tropic areas in North and South America. The plant has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years, but just recently was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States for sale as a sweetener. Stevia is touted as being 300 X the sweetness of sugar without the carbohydrate load and calories. Stevia is natural and not synthetic like other artificial sweeteners.
List of Ingredients
Extract of the Stevia Plant.
Stevia comes in several varieties for dieters who wish to naturally sweeten foods and drinks without increasing caloric impact. Initially, Stevia was sold as a root that was shaved or soaked in a liquid for added sweetness. After being approved for sale as a sweetener, a powder form was created and packaged for individual use. Stevia sweetener is not 100% free of calories and carbohydrates. As is the case with all other packet sweeteners, powder added to the Stevia to prevent caking and maintain powder form causes a carbohydrate impact of one gram. This means every packet of Stevia adds four calories to a drink or food. All-natural Stevia root is still calorie free.
Dieters tend to approve of the Stevia taste when used in moderation. In higher concentrations, the sweetener tends to take on the taste of licorice which may not be palatable for all dieters. Stevia has been tested for use with diabetes and as a healthy sweetener for use in a low carbohydrate and low calorie diet. In both instance, the sweetener is considered safe because of the minimal impact on glucose levels or change. Some studies have show a healthy impact on glucose tolerance leading researchers to believe that Stevia may be a viable alternative treatment for glucose sensitivity.
Animal studies have also shown great promise. Chickens fed a small amount of Stevia in feed lay eggs with a shell that is 75% stronger than those who were not fed Stevia. When Stevia was added to pig feed, the concentration of calcium in pork increased double.
Dieters can take advantage of Stevia’s low calorie content to lose more weight. The average sugared soda contains about 150 calories. That is equivalent to 37.5 servings of sugar. If Stevia were used in place of that sugar, the calorie total of the drink would be reduced to 50 saving 100 calories per serving. If the dieter consumed three sodas per day, that would reduce total calorie count for the week by 2,100 calories – nearly one pound.
Stevia will not increase metabolism or fat burn, but diet is a huge part of weight loss and Stevia can greatly impact total calorie intake. Stevia sells in retails stores for as little as $5.
- Minimal impact on blood glucose levels.
- Liquid form has zero calories.
- Will not increase metabolism.
- More expensive than other sweeteners.
Stevia is a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners and may have a positive impact on health. There is no reason why dieters should not try a bit of Stevia to decrease calorie intake from sugar.