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What is your favorite stevia brand?
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The stevia sweetener is your sugar free solution!

Guaranteed! Stevia – also known as the “sweet leaf” – is an all-natural sweetener, derived from a plant called stevia rebaudiana, which originates from Paraguay. It can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, and boasts a whole array of health benefits.

 

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 beginning.

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 that 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 which, as 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!

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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.

steviaStevia 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 you indirectly to maintain a healthy weight by simply replacing sugar in your favorite sugar free recipes.

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.

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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 even cancer.

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 and drink.

Luckily, 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.

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As the awareness about the dangers 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 calories.

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 independence.

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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 life!

Sincerely,

Jo, webmaster of sugarfreestevia.net

Latest stevia news
 

Monday, February 6th, 2012: We are pleased to announce that as of today, our website is available in both German and Spanish. Sweet!

 
 

Sunday, October 30th, 2011: In an exclusive interview with our website, professor Jan Geuns of the Catholic University of Leuven talks to us about the imminent approval of stevia in the European Union, and about the future of the sweet leaf. Read all about it here!

 
 

NuNaturalsFriday, September 23rd, 2011: We have just received a temporary offer from NuNaturals to give our readers special discounts for one week starting today!  Please go to NuNaturals.com and after ordering your products, you are entitled to a 15% discount when entering the following code at the checkout page: BLG1211. After this special discount, you are also eligible for free shipping within the continental US on orders over $35. This offer is temporary and ends on Saturday, December 31st, so grab it while you can! 

Remember that you can also request free NuStevia samples from the NuNaturals website!

 
 

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: The European Commission (and with it, the member states of the European Union) have granted stevia a provisional approval. This means that the new law still has to be approved by the European Parliament before it can be considered completely legal for use as a sweetener in commercially available products. The final verdict is expected by November of 2011!

 
 

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010: The big moment has finally arrived! Stevia has been approved by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) for use in all food and beverages. Manufacturers are working hard on developing their own special stevia mix, so expect the first batches of stevia products to hit the shelves in Europe in 2011!

 



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