You crave pie and cakes and soda, however, you also know the sweetness in those treats comes with calories. As a result, you’ve trained yourself to try to avoid sweet things. By sweetening with stevia instead of sugar, you can get the sweetness you crave in a way that does not add calories, and no longer need to say “no” to your favorite sweet treats.

And what could be better than that?

Stevia has Zero Calories—Good News for Weight Management

Stevia is an excellent option for those looking to better manage their weight or live a healthier lifestyle simply because it has zero calories. Studies show that overweight people who have the option to eat some sweet foods are more likely to stay on their diet.[1] The great thing about stevia is that you can still eat your favorite sweet foods and beverages, but with less sugar and fewer calories. Managing your weight suddenly became more convenient.

Stevia is a high-intensity sweetener that can be 200-350 times the sweetness of sugar. The intensity of stevia is one of the reasons it has zero calories – it takes very little stevia to sweeten to the equivalent of sugar. Think “parts per million”—that’s how small of an amount.

The other reason stevia has zero calories is the way your body works with it. As your body processes the sweetener, stevia passes through your digestive tract without being broken down for calories.[2] This is very different from the way your body processes sugar. During digestion, complex sugars are broken down into monosaccharides and are absorbed into the bloodstream. Stevia is a win-win for sweet-enthusiasts trying to better manage their weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

Using Stevia Instead of Sugar

Stevia is a natural sweetener that has great benefits for weight-loss and weight management along with helping people who need to monitor their blood glucose levels—people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Stevia makes a great substitute for sugar, though swapping stevia for sugar is not exactly a one for one exchange. Because stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, manufacturers have added bulking ingredients that help to disperse the sweetness so it is easier to use in exchange for sugar. Conversion charts and conversion calculators are available to help make that swap easier when using for cooking or casual sweetening at dinner. There are also different forms of stevia-based sweeteners designed to make baking easier, such as baking blends. A mix of stevia and sugar, these blends help you reduce the amount of sugar in your favorite baked treats, but also enable your recipes to turn out with the proper coloring and structure that you expect when using sugar.

Stevia Safety

Stevia is available commercially in many different forms. “Stevia leaves” are the leaves of the stevia plant that have been crushed or otherwise processed. “Crude stevia” or “crude stevia extract” is another raw form of stevia which may contain raw and less processed stevia. Neither stevia leaves nor crude stevia extract is permitted as a food additive by the FDA in the United States. “Stevia leaf extract,” on the other hand, is the purified form of stevia that is 95% pure[3] (composed of very sweet components in the stevia leaf) and is recognized as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the US FDA.[4]

Stevia is a Smart Health Conscious Choice—Even for People with Diabetes

Stevia is a safe choice for people with diabetes or people that need to limit their sugar intake. Studies have demonstrated that stevia leaf extract has no effect on blood glucose levels.[5] [6]

 

[1] Rabin A et al (2002). Sucrose compared with artificial sweeteners: different effects on ad libitum food intake and body weight after 10 weeks of supplementation in overweight. Am J Clin Nutr. 76, 721-729.

[2] Carakostas MC, Curry LL, Boileau AC, Brusick DJ. Overview: The history, technical function and safety of rebaudioside A, a naturally occurring steviol glycoside, for use in food and beverages. Food Chem Toxicol 46 (2008) S1–S10.

[3] Prakash I, DuBois GE, Clos JF, Wilkens KL, Fosdick LE. Development of rebiana, a natural, non-caloric sweetener. Food and Chemical Toxicology 46 (2008) S77

[4] http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-foods-gen/documents/document/ucm269137.pdf. Accessed 11/7/2016.

[5] Maki KC, Curry LL, Reeves MS, et al. Chronic consumption of rebaudioside A, a steviol glycoside, in men and women with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Food and Chemical Toxicology 46 (2008) S47-S53.

[6] Carakostas MC, Curry LL, Boileau AC, Brusick DJ. Overview: The history, technical function and safety of rebaudioside A, a naturally occurring steviol glycoside, for use in food and beverages. Food Chem Toxicol 46 (2008) S1–S10.