Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is much sweeter than sugar and is generally healthier than artificial sugar substitutes. It is used to sweeten beverages and foods without the unpleasant aftertaste of most substitutes. You can purchase stevia as loose powder, tablets, or as a liquid extract. It’s even available in the little one-serving size packets. It may be used in baking or added to prepared foods or drinks.
- Among the advantages of using stevia is that it:
- Has no calories
- Doesn’t contain gluten
- Rates zero on the glycemic index
- Is carbohydrate free
When purchasing stevia, you should read the labels and make sure it doesn’t have fillers or harmful ingredients added to it. Green stevia is ground up dried leaves and has a strong flavor. White stevia is sometimes chemically processed, but many people find it more palatable.