What is Stevia?
Stevia is a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. The leaves of this small, green Stevia rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than cane sugar, or sucrose.
Stevia has many excellent properties. The body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides from the stevia leaf or any of its processed forms - so there is no caloric intake. Stevia doesn't adversely affect blood glucose levels and may be used freely by diabetics.
The main constituent of Stevia is Stevioside, which is 300 times sweeter than sugar. While obviously being sweet, many users experience a bitter aftertaste when using pure Stevia as an additive. The bitter principles are actually found in the veins of the leaf, while the leafy material between the veins contains the sweet components. Great care must be taken during production of Stevia extract to avoid contaminating the sweet with the bitter, and to ensure a high quality extract is produced.
Stevia in its extract format is nutrient-rich, containing substantial amounts of protein, calcium, phosphorous and other important nutrients.