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7 Facts about Stevia

Update Date: Oct 17, 2014 03:09 PM EDT

Stevia is one of many sugar-substitute options available. Since there are so many different kinds of sweeteners out there, educating yourself about them can make your decision easier. Here are seven interesting facts about stevia:

1. Stevia comes from a plant

Stevia sugar substitute comes from the plant species known as Stevia rebaudiana. This plant grows naturally in Brazil and Paraguay, and it is used to sweeten foods. The stevia plant is also commonly used to treat burns and stomach issues.

2. It is not 100% natural

The sweetness comes from the glycosides, which occurs naturally in the stevia plant. When manufacturers make the sugar substitute, they extract the glycosides through a process that starts with stewing the plant in hot water. Since the extract does not have a long grocery shelf life, several other ingredients are added, which means that several stevia sugar substitutes are not all natural.

3. Stevia is sweeter than sugar

The extract from the stevia plant is about 200 times sweeter than regular granulated table sugar.

4. Stevia can be used in baking

Some sugar-substitute options cannot replace regular granulated sugar in baking because of the texture. Stevia, however, can be used in baking. Since stevia is so much sweeter than table sugar, recipes will call for a smaller portion.

5. Stevia will not caramelized

When caramelizing certain foods, such as onions or crème brulee, stevia cannot replace regular granulated table sugar.

6. Stevia comes in liquid or powdered form

Stevia can be bought in a liquid, powdered or granulated form. Each form has a different level of sweetness. When using them, remember to check how much you need.

7. Stevia will not automatically lead to weight loss

Even though stevia is calorie free, it does not mean that you will lose weight. There have been several studies that found that people who drank diet soda did not lose weight. Instead, they were still overweight or obese.

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