Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stevia: a natural sugar alternative

A few years ago, I discovered that I had developed a sugar intolerance.  As a result, I went on the hunt in search of an alternative to sugar.

There was no way I was going to indulge in artificial sweeteners.


Besides artificial sweeteners being a man-made Frankenstein food, this is what one expert has to say on the matter...

"Dr. Ginger Southall of the Hippocrates Health Institute emphatically states that the use of chemical sweeteners of any kind -aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet' N Low, saccharin, Canderel and even Splenda - is not advised." Southall further states, "Artificial sweeteners are potent nerve toxins and never should have been approved for human consumption.  They have the potential to damage your nervous system - your brain and nerves - leading to a variety of symptoms from migraine headaches to unexplained seizures, dizziness, depression and vision problems.  They are even linked to cancer, obesity and diabetes." - Crazy, Sexy, Diet

For more information on man-made chemical sweeteners, check out DORway, a website dedicated to Aspartame & Aspartame Poisoning information.

Fortunately, I stumbled upon an all-natural, plant-based sugar alternative called, Stevia.

What is it...

Stevia is derived from a South American herb and can be up to 25-30 times sweeter than sugar.  It comes from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild as a small shrub mostly in Paraguay and Brazil.

It has zero carbs, zero calories and no glycemic index, which means it's safe for diabetics to use.

Stevia comes in two forms - powder and in liquid form.

Is it healthy?

Stevia is a whole food, as it is created by grinding the dried Stevia leaves into powder.

There are no known side effects to consuming Stevia.

It aids in the digestive process.

It is safe for diabetics to consume as it helps to regulate blood sugar levels.  "The Japanese have been using stevia for decades in the treatment of type 2 diabetics." - Mark's Daily Apple

Some studies suggest it may aid in cavity prevention (you still have to brush & floss!). 

All that being said, it's still a sweetener and should be used in moderation, just like sugar.  You're not consuming Stevia for health, you're consuming it to satisfy your sweet tooth (you can't fool me).


1 Packet (1/2 gram) of Stevia

Calories: 0
Total Fat: 0
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 0mg
Protein: 0g

Read your labels!

Look for products in which Stevia is the only ingredient, although a fiber or inulin additive is acceptable, but unnecessary.

SweetLeaf is a brand that I typically use.

Or, instead of buying it, you can grow your own Stevia!

What to do with it...

Use Stevia just as you would regular sugar - to bake with, cook with, sweeten coffee, teas, smoothies etc.  The only thing you can't do with Stevia is caramelize it as you can sugar.

Where to find it...

Gaining in popularity, Stevia can be in found in the baking isle, next to the sugar of most major grocery chains as well as in the supplement isle of the same chains.  (Before it was approved by the FDA for use as sweetener in 2009, Stevia was sold as a supplement.)  It can also be found in Health & Natural Food Stores and online - Amazon or Vitacost.

Keep It Sweet!
The Hoff

Sources: Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr
Mark's Daily Apple
Thrive The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports & Life by Brendan Brazier


  1. I would try that suggestion of yours but is aspartame safe for pregnant women? I would want to try this but I'm just curious if it's really safe.

  2. Danielle - Stevia is not Aspartame. Personally, I won't touch Aspartame. Instead of the source your citing, I would reference an impartial source to get the facts on artificial sweeteners, such as

  3. I am currently using the stevia leaves and it is really very awesome in taste and works like a natural sugar.
    low calorie sweeteners