So why did I choose
stevia, and why should you? The contents of this site will undoubtedly
answer this question for you. But for now, let’s start at the very
In South America, stevia plants have been used for centuries. Not only
to sweeten food and beverages, but also as a means to treat high blood
pressure, diabetes, and even skin cuts and rashes. Yet the first
studies of the stevia rebaudiana plant by Western scientists didn’t
occur until late in the 19th century.
These scientists found out
the leaves of the stevia
plants were about 40 times sweeter than sugar.
In the 1930’s, two French chemists discovered a way to extract the
sweet components - called “glycosides” - from the stevia leaves.
Although the sweet leaf holds dozens of types of glycosides, the two
most prominent ones are called stevioside
and rebaudioside A
I’ve mentioned before, can be up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose.
For a long time, stevia based powders and other products were based on
stevioside, which has a bitter aftertaste that not everyone is fond of.
More recently though, stevia manufacturers have switched to
rebaudioside A as their main ingredient, eliminating this problem.
Among other things, you will be able to discover more information about
their products right here on this site!
So what are the famous
benefits of stevia that you might have heard about? To answer this
question, it’s imperative that we look at some figures first. According
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.3% of the total
population in the United States suffers from diabetes. While this
percentage may not look like much, that’s nearly 26 million people!
This currently makes diabetes the 7th leading cause of death in the
USA. Did that catch your attention? Good!
The numbers are even more daunting when you realize that 1 in every 4
adults over 65 years of age suffers from the disease. And since obesity
rates have skyrocketed over the past few decades – more on this in a
moment – it might be wise to look forward to the future regarding the
health of both yourself and your children. 35% of adults aged 20 or up
already have prediabetes.
Stevia has no calories, no
carbohydrates, and it has a glycemic index
of zero, which makes it the sweetener
of choice for many diabetics all
over the world. Extracts of the stevia plant have been used safely in
Japan ever since the 1970’s without any reported side effects, making
it the number one sweetener there with a 40% market share! And that’s
not even taking into account the centuries of safe use in South America.
Now, let’s take a look at those obesity rates we talked about before!
The CDC states that 33% of adult Americans is obese. In children, that
figure is 17%, as of 2011.
Although stevia is not by definition a weight loss product, it can help
to maintain a healthy weight by simply replacing sugar
in your favorite sugar
Several independent studies have unanimously concluded that stevia
lowers blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension, but does
not lower it further when you are already healthy.
Stevia has no calories, and it even suppresses cravings. Granted, the
taste takes a bit of getting used to when you’re used to sugar, but
after a few weeks you won’t even notice the difference. Many people who
have switched to stevia even dislike the taste of regular sugar now.
So why is it that the
sweet leaf has remained in the shadows all this
time? It’s a sad story, really... For years, the sugar lobby has viewed
stevia as a threat to their profits. After all, the list of side
effects tied to sugar - the most important of which are sugar
addiction, and diabetes - has always been a thorn in their eye.
For the Food
and Drug Administration, this was a problem too: because
natural products cannot be patented, the stevia plant is unattractive
and poses a great threat to profits across the board. This is why, even
to this day, stevia plants are still branded as “unsafe” for
consumption purposes by the FDA.
It’s logical if you think about it: why would they allow an all-natural
sweetener onto the shelves that’s actually good for you, and has no
side effects, when there’s no money to be made from it, and when this
would endanger the sales of sugar or artificial sweeteners, such as
aspartame, even further?
Over the years, a countless amount of studies has been conducted
regarding the safety and dangers of stevia. While independent studies
saw only benefits in the plant and its extract, studies funded by
aspartame manufacturers and the sugar lobby did their best to raise as
many red flags as possible, claiming that stevia causes impotence, and
You know, this sort of
witch-hunt – because let’s face it, that’s
exactly what it is - used to make me angry just thinking about it. But
over the years, I’ve realized that this is simply the way the world
turns. The only way to free yourself of these feelings of
powerlessness, is to take your life into your own hands, and to decide
for yourself what you believe is healthy for you and your family to eat
that is not where the story ends. Both Coca Cola and Pepsi saw
potential in the stevia extract. As it turns out, certain methods of
extraction can indeed be patented. In 2008, under pressure from the big
soft drink companies, the FDA finally caved. They reluctantly granted
stevia extract – only the highly refined stevia extracts manufactured
by Coca Cola and Pepsi, mind you – “Generally Recognized As Safe” (or
“GRAS”, for short) approval.
Unfortunately, other manufacturers are still obligated to mark their
stevia products as “dietary supplements”, rather than food additives or
sweeteners. A shame, you say? Well, yes. But I personally don’t care
about this sort of harassment: as a human being, with my own soul and
conscience, I think that by now I know what’s best for me.
As the awareness about the
of aspartame grows stronger with
each passing day, slowly a shift is noticeable. The general public is
becoming more and more aware of the lies they have been fed all these
years, and more and more people are starting to search for more healthy
and natural alternatives to sugar and artificial sweeteners. In fact,
that’s probably why you’re here right now, isn’t it?
Well, I’m here to tell you
that the recent approval of steviol
glycosides in Europe, and the growing awareness for the sweet leaf and
its extract in the USA, makes stevia the sweetener of the future. Many
people have already taken matters into their own hands by giving stevia
a try, and most of them swear they will never turn back to sugar or
artificial sweeteners, chock-full of hidden carbohydrates and empty
Stevia is available in many different forms: as a pure extract powder,
as a liquid, in tablet form and as small packets for everyday use. The
bigger brands should be available in your local health stores, but the
easiest way is to buy stevia online
and looking at honest product
reviews along the way.
Can’t see the forest for
the trees and don’t know which brand to pick?
Don’t worry! Our online
guide to the best stevia products will help you
on your way to a healthier lifestyle, one of total control and
Dear reader, you have made
the right choice in stopping by! I remember
the excited feeling associated with my first steps into the stevia
world. Feel free to snoop around the site and allow yourself to learn
all there is to know about the wonders of the stevia sweetener. I wish
you the best of luck on your journey towards a liberated, sugar free
Jo, webmaster of sugarfreestevia.net