Stevia, a member of the Chrysanthemum family, is a plant native to Paraguay. It has been used by the Guarani Indians since ancient times. As a sugar substitute, it is available as a concentrated liquid, crushed leaf or concentrated white powder. The liquid and leaf forms have a slight herbal overtone, which reminds some of anise (licorice).
- The greenish-black concentrated liquid is 70 times as sweet as sugar. Common uses include adding to milk to sweeten cereal, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. The liquid can also be used in baking, but can discolor light colored foods, such as yellow cakes.
- The crushed leaf form is about 30 times as sweet as sugar. It usually comes in small tea-bag like packets in a box, is useful for sprinkling on top of cereal and other foods. The leaf particles do not dissolve, so kids might take a little time getting used to the floating leaves in their cereal.
- The concentrated white powder is 300 times as sweet as sugar. It is heat stable to 198 degrees C (388 degrees F).
Though Stevia has not been approved for use in the United States by the FDA, because of inadeqate information to demonstrate its safety as a food additive, it is available in health food stores and on the Internet for personal use. These businesses get around the FDA's ban on using stevia as a sweetener by stating that they sell stevia as a "dietary supplement," which is not subject to the existing food additive regulations.
For Additional Information
- Lab Tests Point to Problems with Trendy New Stevia Sweetener; CSPI Urges More Testing Before Stevia Extract is Used in Food, Drinks. See also Toxicology of Rebaudioside A: A Review (PDF).
- Stevia: a Sweetener That's Not a Sweetener from the New York Times (free registration required)
- Stevia Information
Sources of Stevia
- Emperor's Herbologist
301 East 45th Street Suite 12 A
New York, NY 10017 USA
(212) 808-4832 Fax
- Good Sugar Substitute
Australian source of stevia
- Herbal Advantage
Route 3, Box 93
Rogersville, MO 65742
[email protected] e-mail
- JAJA Stevia
9048 Spindletree Way
Jacksonville FL 32256 USA
2220 West 2nd Avenue #1
Eugene, OR 97402
800-753-4372 541-343-0915 (Fax)
- Stevia Canada
Canadian source of stevia
- Stevia LLC
P.O. Box 80253
Valley Forge, PA 19484
1-888-8STEVIA or 1-888-878-3842
- Wisdom of the Ancients
640 South Perry Lane, Suite 2
Tempe, AZ 85281
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