I have been meaning to get some Stevia to use as a sweetener for quite a while now and finally managed to remember to buy some on Saturday... It is easy to get at any health food store and even some Supermarkets. This stuff is great and totally natural!!!!
The one I bought is also Organic... I went for the powdered version as it is just ground Stevia leaves so there is no extra additives or preservatives... I have tossed the sugar free maple syrup and I find that just under a 1/4tsp of the ground Stevia makes my morning Oats/egg white mix very sweet...
Not sure if anyone else has mentioned it but here is the info I found.... Oh and if Artificial sweeteners are banned in Japan how come we are still being fed them here???
Stevia Rebaudiana is an outstanding sweet tasting herb that has remarkable health promoting qualities, contains zero calories and it is absolutely safe to use. The glycosides in its leaves (Steviosides/Rebaudiosides) account for its incredible sweetness, making it unique among the nearly 300 species of Stevia plants.
A good quality Stevia product has a taste that has been described as sweet, delicious and refreshing. Some people experience a slight liquorice aftertaste, but generally high quality Stevia contains very little of this aftertaste.
Stevia is a small shrub that is native to North Eastern Paraguay and adjacent sections of Brazil in South America, where the Native Guarani Indians have used it for over 1500 years as a sweetener, a digestive aid, a tonic and as a topical aid in wound healing.
In the late 1880's a scientist named Antonio Bertoni discovered Stevia in Paraguay and announced his discovery of this species in a botanical journal and was credited with "discovering" Stevia. Hence the botanical name Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni".
Since then, there has been a steady growth in the popularity of Stevia outside of South America, to the extent that it is now being consumed in North America, China, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, South Korea, the whole Pacific Rim and now in Australia.
Stevia has many favourable and exciting health benefits and is completely non-toxic. The herb is nutrient rich, containing substantial amounts of calcium, phosphorous, as well as sodium, magnesium, zinc, rutin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and over 100 phytonutrients.
Stevia is also being used as an aid to weight loss and weight management, since it contains zero calories and reduces the craving for sweet and fatty foods.
Unlike sugar, it does not trigger a rise in blood sugar levels. You wont get a sudden burst of energy followed by fatigue and a need for another "fix". Studies suggest that Stevia may have a regulatory effect on the pancreas and could help stabilise blood sugar levels in the body, making it a wise choice for people with diabetes and hypoglycemia.
It increases energy, aides digestion and gastrointestinal functions and has many other health benefits.
Since artificial sweeteners have been banned in Japan for more than 20 years, the Japanese are the greatest consumers of Stevia and it is now estimated that in Japan Stevia is being used in over 30% of their food products. In Japan, Stevia is used in Coca Cola for its Diet Coke, by Sunkist and Nestle as a sweetener and by Wrigleys in their sugar free gums.
Stevia comes in many forms. Fresh Stevia leaves and dried crushed leaf are Stevia in its most natural state. These are 15 to 30 times sweeter than sugar, green in colour and not water soluble. Liquid forms made from whole leaf are very dark in colour, almost black and come in different purity and strengths. READ LABELS CAREFULLY, some contain chemical additives and some liquids contain alcohol. Generally speaking the white extract powder is more pleasant with only a slight and negligible aftertaste. Extracts range between 150 to 300 times sweeter than sugar and come in either powder form, tablets or clear liquid (liquids need refrigeration if they do not contain preservatives and/or alcohol).