Stevia, the natural sweetener without the calorie


    Stevia is a sweetener that is 30-300 times sweeter than sugar, but it has no calories.  It is made from an herb and comes in three forms.  The crushed leaf stevia form is 30 times sweeter than sugar.  This type comes in small tea-bag packets and is sprinkled on cereal or other foods.  The leaf particles do not dissolve.


    The second type of stevia is greenish and black liquids which is 70 times sweeter than sugar and is used to sweeten cereal, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.  It is also used in baking but will change the colour of the foods.  The third form of stevia is a white, heat stable, powder that is 300 times sweeter than sugar. 


    Stevia is commonly used in Brazil and Japan.  However stevia has not been approved as a food addictive by the Food and Drug Administration.  Health food stores usually sell it for personal use.  As side effect of stevia are unknown at the moment, it is best to discuss the product with your health care team and use caution until more information is available. 


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