You might have noticed that, all of a sudden, there are lots of adverts on the TV and radio for “Stevia” products. Well, I have, anyway. I don’t do sugar if I can help it. But, like almost everyone, I do have a sweet tooth, and like to sweeten certain things. I really don’t like to use nasty stuff like Sucralose. So, all hail Stevia, a natural sweetener which is 100% plant-based.
Stevia has been widely available in the US, Japan, China and Australia for years, but only recently (November 2011) won EU approval, prompting the flood of products and accompanying adverts.
I was sent a sample of Stevia tablets from Stevia Sweeteners, who stock La Maison du Stevia – a French brand which has been developing Stevia products since 2006 – amongst others.
As you can see, they come in a handy little “clicky box” (<— technical term) which you can carry around in your handbag/manbag/gymbag. In terms of taste, there's no much to say: it's sweet. It's like sugar, but it's not sugar! It tastes really nice, you don't need much and it's very cost-effective (£4.95 for the box of 100 tablets, and I'd be surprised if you need more than one click per cuppa).
So, why choose Stevia over other sugar-free sweeteners? It contains no chemicals, no sucralose, no aspartame. It's completely natural, it leaves no nasty aftertaste and it's very sweet, so you can use less than the equivalent amount of sugar. It's calorie and carb-free and has a glycaemic index of 0.
This from the blurb I was sent:
Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni and its extract Rebaudioside A is the name given to a plant native to South America whose leaves derive a natural sweetener 300 times sweeter than sucrose. Unlike other products on the market which are bonded chemically in China, the extract for La Maison Du Stevia is gently extracted in France using water methods, giving you a high-quality graded sweetness.
The extract offers a sweetness that is calorie-free and with a glycemic index of zero making this the ideal go-to for those with diabetes or those who simply wish to reduce the amount of sugar in their daily diet.
In powder form, you don’t need much (just the tip of the spoon), as it’s 300 times sweeter than sucrose, so a little goes a long way.
You will no doubt start seeing Stevia products all over the place now, but I suggest you take a look at Stevia Sweeteners for a really great range from people who really care about the quality of the products. As well as the tablets I tried, there’s granulated/powdered Stevia (great for “it even looks like sugar” appeal, or for baking), Stevia cubes, liquid Stevia including flavours (I’ve tried this in the past – imported from the States – and it’s great!) and even Stevia chocolate.
Hooray, I no longer have to bribe friends in America to post me Stevia!
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.