PODCAST. Are you picky about the way you drink coffee or tea? Then you already know that sweeteners are not all the same. Jessica emailed and asked me to do a podcast on stevia so that’s our focus today.
100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, stevia contains no carbohydrate or calories. It comes from a plant native to South America called Stevia rebaudiana, which is part of the sunflower family. The leaves are naturally sweet. Stevia’s the common name you hear for the plant extract. Today, it’s cultivated in many countries with China being a leading exporter. Playing an important role in biodiversity due to how little land and water are required to grow it, farmers can diversify their crops.
Share this recipe using stevia with your patients: Reduced-Sugar Banana Pecan Muffins
The leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant contain steviol glycosides, the compounds responsible for the intense and concentrated sweetness. All steviol glycosides share a common steviol backbone. The differences between them are due to the number and arrangement of molecules attached to this steviol backbone. Generally rebaudioside A and stevioside are the major glycosides found in leaves based on dry weight. The most common one that you’ve likely heard is rebaudioside A or Reb A for short which was listed as of 2008 on the Food and Drug Administration’s generally recognized as safe or GRAS list.
Many other countries use stevia as a sweetener some of which include Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mexico, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina. And to be clear, in the US whole leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts are not approved for use in foods and beverages. Only high purity leaf extracts like Reb A have been approved.
MedicalNewsToday. Stevia: Health Benefits, Facts, Safety