Flavoring agent, Sweetener, Sugar replacement and Non-Glycemic sweetener,
Blood Sugar Swings, Diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension
Stevia is used where a sweetening agent is desired without the calories or blood sugar effect. Its use goes back centuries to Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. It became popular in Europe in the late 1800s and more recently it was reintroduced in the 1970s in Japan and 1980s in the USA. Although known in the USA as early as the 1910's it was always seen as a threat to the sugar industry. In 1931, French chemists isolated the glycosides that give Stevia its sweet taste and named them steviosides. These compounds are 250—300 times sweeter than ordinary table sugar. Stevia's sweet taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar and has a slight after taste unique to Stevia. This version of Stevia is extracted using a
fermentation process to limit the undesirable after taste to a level not found in other extracts. Stevia does not significantly alter blood glucose, and so is useful as a sweetener for those with blood sugar swings (hyper and hypoglycemia), diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
It is added to beverages, liquid supplements, and other foods to improve the taste. It is an extremely sweet herb, so it should be added slowly until the desired amount of sweetness is achieved. It is widely used in Japan and accounts for over 40% of the sweetener market. Stevia is safe for children. It will be extremely helpful for kids who are negatively affected by sugar in terms of hyperactivity, mood swings, and blood sugar problems. Stevia can be used with bitter herbal tea and tincture blends to help cover the bitter taste of the other herbs. It is also added to tea, coffee, and other beverages.