Why Stevia?


No doubt you have been witnessing the mainstreaming of stevia lately.  It is available on the shelves of chain grocery stores now, whereas when I first heard about it 20 years ago, it was a bit of a challenge to find.  It’s superiority rests in the fact that it is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaf of an herb.  It has zero calories, zero carbs and zero glycemic index.  It has been used as a sweetener by native South American people for hundreds of years.

When I want something sweet I usually add a ripe banana, dried fruit, honey or use a little stevia.  Stevia is intensely sweet and for me, I prefer it blended into something that can mask its aftertaste, like a smoothie, oatmeal or a dessert recipe.

Not all stevia products are created equal.  I prefer the Sweetleaf® brand because it utilizes a gentle extraction process that does not rely upon chemicals.  It is also completely natural with only one additive, inulin, a soluble vegetable fiber.

I was interested to learn on WebMD that stevia may interact with Lithium, some antidiabetic medications and antihypertensive drugs.  In the case of the latter two, stevia appears to actually lower blood sugar and blood pressure–a good thing.