Stevia – The sweet herb
Photo THINKSTOCK & EQOLOGY
Stevia is a natural sweet herb that contains glycosides and is close to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Since the natural sweetener is completely free for calories it will, when consumed, not cause increased blood sugar values. It is therefore a popular replacement for sugar and artificial sweeteners in several foods and drinks.
Science got to know the sweet herb through Mioss Santiago Bertoni from Paraguay. The GuaraniIndians in Paraguay however have known and utilised the Stevia, or “sugar grass”, leafs for centuries as an herb to sweeten drinks and regulate the blood sugar. The Stevia plant has been cultivated as crops for about a hundred years, nowadays it is commercially cultivated in Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Central America, Israel, China, Thailand, Japan and Korea.
The traditional way to utilise stevia is to let one or two leafs steep in boiling water for ten minutes together with the other herbs in a tea, or alternatively by letting the leafs steep in boiling water that later can be used as a sweetener. Modern technology has found ways to isolate an extract, which when dried, is transformed to a powder that is soluble in water and can be used similarly to sugar.
Stevia’s ability as a sweetener is between 70 and 400 times more effective than white sugar and half a teaspoon liquid stevia equals a cup of white sugar. However, stevia does not act as nutrient for the yeast in leavened foods, but can be used in other pastries as the sweet glycosides in stevia are not broken down when heated.
For people who either suffer from diabetes, too low or too high blood pressure, who are obese or have a chronic yeast infection, stevia is the perfect sweetener. It has all the same desired qualities as other sweeteners, but none of the negative. Stevia can be added to several different foods without adding calories or affecting the thyroid or adrenal glands. Stevia can satisfy the “sweet tooth” without affecting blood sugar levels or weight.
Clinical studies have shown that stevia prevents insulin resistance which causes diabetes type 2. These studies, combined with testimonials, show that stevia can help normalise the blood sugar. This is why the herb, or the extract of the herb, in some countries is recommended as a potential medicine for people that suffer from diabetes or have too low blood sugar. It could be wise to monitor your blood sugar levels if you consume stevia regularly in order to decrease usage of medicines.
Stevia’s ability as a sweetener is between 70 and 400 times more effective than white sugar and half a teaspoon liquid stevia equals a cup of white sugar. The natural sweetener is completely free of calories and will not lead to increased blood sugar values.
- Satisfies the “sweet tooth”
- Strengthening and antibacterial
- Favourable for the blood pressure
- Does not cause tooth decay
- Does not affect the blood sugar
EQ PRODUCTS WITH STEVIA
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- Contains no artificial sweeteners, colours or reservatives
- The high protein content
- Added 12 vitamins and 11 minerals
- Developed as a full meal replacement