A new trend in healthy eating has solved the decades old debate between natural and artificial sweeteners. Real sugars are dense in calories and carbs, while artificial sweeteners are loaded with chemicals. To put this controversy to rest, Stevia has swooped onto the market, free of both calories and chemicals.
We have answers to a few common questions about this new concept!
What exactly is Stevia?
I can’t stress enough that this is an all-natural, plant-based sweetener, completely free of calories and chemicals. Stevia is derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant which grows in Brazil. In the form of a fine powder, it is 200 times sweeter than sugar, but just as effective in small sprinkles.
Where can I find it?
You may have been consuming Stevia without even realizing it. Some low calorie products already use it as sweetener, such as Bai drinks and Quest bars. You can also seek out Stevia in Zevia sodas and Steaz iced tea.
In the baked goods section of the supermarket, pure Stevia comes in what looks like a white spice jar. It also comes in the sweetener Truvia, which is a more processed form of Stevia. Some prefer Truvia because it is less potent and available in convenient packets.
If you are lucky, you might find Truvia packets among the sweeteners at your local coffee shop. You know, those coffee shops that are really modern and in touch with the latest trends.
How should I use it?
Sparingly. Be sure to keep conversion rates in mind because excess Stevia is so sweet it will hurt your tongue. Other than that, there are no restrictions on where to sprinkle your Stevia!
Though most commonly melted into coffee or tea, it mixes well in snacks like cereal, oatmeal, fruit salad and smoothies. Stevia also holds its sweetness in the oven! Add it to any baked good, as long as you supplement its lack of volume with another ingredient.
So, what’s the catch?
Well, Stevia products are slightly more expensive than man-made sweeteners or those with cheap, processed sugar. This is really the only explanation as to why Stevia hasn’t become more prominent. Even so, you are paying for a drastically stronger and healthier product that has a place in every recipe.