Stevia: The all natural sweetener
Stevia is a all-natural food additive with a low calorific value sugar substitute. It is extracted from the herb of Stevia rebaudiana , largely grown on the lands of Brazil and Paraguay. It has almost 150 different species all grown in the native north and south America. The benefit of manufacturing sweet sugar alternative through stevia is that to get the same amount of sweetness the land and water required for the growth of the plant is way less.
The sweetener is extracted from the leaves by a distinct process of filtration and spray drying resulting in formation of sugar crystals. Traditionally it has been used as a sweetener for beverages and tea since almost 16th century but has only been recently authorized to be used as food additive in various parts of the world by large production industries.
Refined stevia is almost 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar and has a very low calorific value. Stevia is used in various beverages which require higher degree of sweetness for better taste to create sugar free alternatives for diets or diabetics.
The use of stevia over sugar has many benefits like:
- It is very effective i.e. even small amount of stevia gives much greater sweetness.
- It has very low calories and a good sugar free alternative.
- Contradictory to sugar the consumption of stevia suppress cravings, preventing overeating.
- It doesn’t contribute in any kind of plaque formation or cavity thus maintaining dental hygiene.
- It is good for diabetics who don’t want to compromise on their sweet tooth.
- It is required in way less quantities than table sugar.
- It is free of any side effects.
Stevia is used as a sweetener in various food products all over the world including beverages, ice creams, desserts, dairy products, chocolates, confectionaries etc.
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