Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Foods with Benefits: Stevia

  • it's a natural healthy alternative sweetener 
  • it's 70-400 times sweeter than sugar
  • safe to use by diabetics and hypoglycemics as it does not adversely affect blood glucose levels (in fact it has been shown to regulate blood sugar and bring it towards a normal balance)
  • it has zero calories
  • it has anti-bacterial properties that helps with tooth decay and gum disease (adding 2 drops of liquid stevia on your toothpaste before brushing, or using a mouthwash made up of a small glass of water and 5-8 drops of stevia, has been shown in improve oral health)
  • may assist with healing of skin conditions such as blemishes, acne, rashes etc
  • studies show that it may lower high blood pressure
  • it decreases hunger sensations, so it aids in weight loss
  • it's the most alkaline sweetener there is (which is a good thing)
  • there are no known negative effects related to the reasonable use of stevia
Whenever possible I substitute any sugar in a recipe with stevia.  I use the following stevia/sugar conversion: 1 tsp stevia (powder) = 1 cup sugar.  Powdered stevia often leaves you with a slightly bitter aftertaste in your food, so what I've tried is using 1/2 tsp powdered stevia for every 1 cup of sugar and that has worked fine for me.

When you substitute stevia for sugar though, you're losing some moisture in the recipe, so you need to replace that lost moisture with something like yoghurt or apple sauce or whatever will suit your recipe.  In recipes containing bananas, I just add an extra banana to make up for the moisture loss, otherwise I usually use plain greek yoghurt.  It has been suggested that for every 1 cup of sugar that is replaced with stevia, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of moisture ingredients should be added.

If you live in South Africa, you can buy this at Dischem.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of great information! I have shied away from using Stevia so far, due to bitterness when easily using too much. I like the idea of adding it to your toothpaste -very interesting. :) Thanks for all of the tips!