The Guarani, a group of culturally related indigenous peoples from South America, have been using Stevia for centuries. The sweet taste of the wild Stevia bush was used to enhance the taste of bitter tea-like beverages, as well as medicinal potions.
WHAT IS STEVIA EXACTLY?
Stevia is a bush that grows in Paraguay and Brazil, related to the daisy and ragweed. Often touted for its sweet taste, what makes Stevia truly unique is that it delivers natural sweetness without the calories.
IS IT EFFECTIVE?
Although Stevia has no calories, it is 200 times sweeter than sugar in the same level of concentration. This provides an obvious benefit for those seeking to lower their daily caloric intake, but still enjoy the taste of sweetness.
IS STEVIA SAFE?
Stevia sweeteners have a long track record of safe use worldwide, however it only recently became more widely used in North America. In December 2008, the FDA granted GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status to Stevia and in November 2012, Health Canada issued an official announcement of its addition to the List of Permitted Sweeteners.
IS STEVIA DIABETIC-FRIENDLY?
Research has also found that the use Stevia can be promising for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Not only is it a good zero-carb diabetes-friendly alternative for sugar, but it actually helps increase insulin sensitivity, which is especially helpful for insulin-resistant diabetic people, like in Type 2 diabetics.
The majority of the contraceptive concerns surrounding Stevia originated from a very old study dating back to 1968, which have been criticized for using unrealistically high dosages when running tests on rats.
Some concerns have been expressed about low calorie sweeteners not providing the satiating effect of regular sugar, however a recent study has found that this isn’t true.