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Spring, 2002

Stevia Equivalents
by Colleen Hulett

About Stevia

Stevia rebauadiani bertoni is of the composite family and is related to lettuce, marigold and chicory. It has been used since pre-Columbian times with no reports of toxicity or ill side-effects and has withstood years of research that has proven its safety. Stevia was discovered in the late 19th century by Dr. Bertoni who found the Guarani Indians consuming the leaves to sweeten bitter tea and as a treat. He named the plant after himself and a Paraguayan chemist name Rebaudi

Types of Stevia

Off-white Stevia powder or Stevioside is the processed form of the leaves. The sweet glycocides are concentrated by removing unwanted plant matter. Depending on the concentration it is between 40-95% sweet glycosides, up to to 300 times sweeter than sugar.

Stevia leaves can be found in the form of fresh leaves, dried whole leaves, cut and sifted in small pieces ore ground into powder. This form of Stevia is used in brewing herbal teas and for making liquid extracts. It does not dissolve. It is about 8-12% sweet glycosides and about 10 times sweeter than sugar.

Clear liquid extract is a solution of the off-white powder dissolved in water, alcohol or glycerine.

Dark liquid extract is a concentrated syrup made with water or alcohol and the dried leaves. This is the most beneficial form of Stevia having the most nutrients.

Stevia blends include stevioside plus and added filler, such as lactose or maltodextrin to tone down its powerful strength and make it more user friendly.

Benefits of Stevia

  • sugarless
  • zero calories
  • does not affect blood sugar levels, unlike sugar
  • 100% natural
  • up to 300 times sweeter than sugar
  • heat stable to 200 C (392 F)
  • non fermentable
  • plaque retardant
  • recommended for diabetics
  • non-toxic

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