What is Stevia? - a Natural Herbal Alternative to Saccharine and Aspartamine
About Stevia, a Herbal Product
After finding out that Stevia is a natural product, derived from a herb, I thought I would do a little more research, and then share my knowledge with you.
If you want all the scientific detail about Stevia, you will find it on the internet, and this is just a simplified version to inform you without boring you with technicalities.
This is What a Spoonful of Commercial Stevia Looks Like:
Much of the information in this resume about Stevia derives from a much more complex article in Wikipedia and various research papers linked to that article. I am not an expert, but I am good at summarising what I have read.
I hope you'll find it helpful.
Have You Come Across the New Kid on the Block Yet?
To be precise, I'm referring to the new sweetener - Stevia:
I noticed Stevia on the supermarket shelves in London for the first time in 2012, and recently bought a packet - My particular product is called Pure Via.
This is What a Box of Pure Via Stevia Looks Like
What Does Stevia Taste Like?
I tried it and thought the taste was a bit strong, so I mixed it with sugar, half-and-half. But recently I have used Stevia on its own, and, although it tastes “different”, I persevered, in order to become accustomed to its flavour, just as I have been used to the flavour of which I have been using for most of my life. Hermesetas
Stevia and a Bowl of Sugar - I Sometimes Combine the Two
Useful But Not Very Tasty
Eventually I did give up using Stevia on its own, as I couldn't get used to the taste - I just didn't like it.
But I've now been using the half-and-half sugar combined with Stevia mixture for well over two years, and I don't think twice about it now.
So that's cut down my sugar consumption by over half, and it seems to be fine in cooking.
But I Still Use Hermesetas in Herbal Tea - the Flavour I've Known for Sixty Years
My Own Opinion About Stevia?
Stevia is not as nice as sugar, and although it has a sweetish flavor, the sweetness is somehow different from sugar. But if, like me, you have a sweet tooth, not to mention Type 2 Diabetes, it's well worth foregoing sugar at least to some extent, in order to have a healthier diet.
My diabetes is entirely diet-controlled, and my blood sugar levels have much improved since I was first diagnosed two or three years ago. I haven't cut sweet things out of my life completely, but I have cut down considerably, and I am very careful to see that I have enough of the other things which help the condition. I've noticed since I have stopped eating so much sweet stuff that when I do overdo it, I suffer from that very unpleasant tingling in my feet and legs known as restless leg syndrome. I've lost about 10 lbs. in weight, and haven't had restless leg syndrome for a few weeks now, which I can categorically put down to eating less sugar.
Stevia Rebaudiana, Cultivated Under Glass
There are About 240 Species of the Plant Called Stevia
The herb Stevia Rebaudiana originates from South America. The leaves of stevia rebaudiana are much sweeter than normal sugar and can be used to sweeten tea and food.
Stevia is named after a Spanish botanist and physician,Pedro Jaime Esteve, who first researched its use in the 16th Century. Stevia has been used in South America by the indigenous population for over 1,500 years, for medicinal purposes and as a sweetener.
Sugar - the Bitter Truth - This YouTube Video Has Been Watched Over 3 Million Times And Has Over 26,000 Likes
Stevia - Background and Timeline
About forty years ago, it was suspected that artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and cyclamate might be carcinogenic, so Japan began to grow stevia instead, using purified steviosides extracted from the leaves, and the first commercial stevia sweetener was developed commercially in 1971. They used it to sweeten food and soft drinks.
Stevia was approved by the U.S. FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in 2009 and by the EU (European Union) as fit for use as a food additive in 2011, coming onto the market in 2009 in the USA and only in December 2011 in the UK.
Stevioside and rebaudioside A extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni have traditionally been used in South America to assist in treating diabetes and it has been found that stevioside stimulates insulin secretion and that rebaudioside A may treat type 2 diabetes mellitus.
It is likely that the refined form of stevia can help in the reduction of hypertension and evaluations are still being conducted. And a study in 2009 indicated that “stevioside and related compounds have anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-diarrheal, diuretic, and immunomodulatory actions”.