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I have been searching for sugar alternatives for quite a while now. Sugar, as I’m sure everyone knows, is not good for you. Unfortunately, I like most Americans consume way too much sugar. Especially in my tea and I drink a lot of tea!
While searching I came across stevia. I had heard about stevia for a while but I’ve never thought about trying it till recently.
What is Stevia
Stevia is an herb native to South America. The leaves of this plant can be use as there are to sweeten things or can be made into a powder. Stevia is only just now starting to re-enter America, whereas Japan has been using Stevia in many of it’s drinks and foods since the 1970’s!
Stevia is VERY sweet! It is up to 300 times sweeter then sugar! This means that you need very little Stevia to achieve your desired sweetness.
Stevia comes in quite a few forms; leaves, green powder, white powder, and liquid.
Stevia can have a slight licorice after taste. However, if you get the good stuff then there is no after taste.
You want pure stevia with nothing added.
Benefits of Stevia
Weight loss – Stevia has zero calories and zero carbs. This means a lot when you consider that the average American consumes anywhere from 450 to 650 calories daily just from sugar alone.
Stevia is good for diabetics as it has no adverse effects on blood sugar levels and it may even improve blood sugar levels!
Stevia has a Glycemic Index of 0.
Stevia does not have any side effects. At least, Stevia by itself has no side effects. You must be warned that many Stevia companies add fillers or other ingredients to their Stevia and those very well may have side effects.
Stevia is safe for teeth. Stevia does not cause tooth decay.
May reduce high blood pressure.
Anti-aging – Or at least it doesn’t attribute to aging. Sugar however, does.
Make Your Own Liquid Stevia
You can make your own liquid Stevia by dissolving 1 teaspoon Stevia powder into 3 Tablespoons water.
Store in the refrigerator.
Stevia in Cooking and Baking
Stevia can be used in cooking and baking. Although it should be noted that Stevia is not a suitable alternative in recipes that use yeast or in recipes where caramelizing is desired.
Sugar to Stevia Conversion
An approximate sugar to Stevia conversion chart (note this is very approximate as Stevia can vary in sweetness and depending on the type of food you are making you may need more or less.
1 cup of sugar = 1/2 teaspoon powder Stevia
2 tbs of sugar = 1/32 powder Stevia (aka 1 of those tiny scoops that many steiva powders come with or a “smidgen” scoop)
I use Sweet Leaf stevia extract powder. It comes in a very tiny bottle, the size most spices come in. However, in the 0.4oz bottle there are 400 servings! SweetLeaf has no aftertaste which makes me love it all the more and the only ingredient is stevia! No added fillers.