Stevia is an intensely sweet-tasting plant that has been used to sweeten beverages and make tea since the 16th century.
The plant is originally native to Paraguay and Brazil but is now also grown in Japan and China. It is used as a non-nutritive sweetener and herbal supplement.
A non-nutritive sweetener is one that contains little to no calories. Stevia is used as a healthful alternative to added sugar in many meals and beverages.
Fast facts on stevia
- Stevia is primarily grown in Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, and China.
- The natural sweetener tastes 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar.
- Stevia can be classified as “zero-calorie,” because the calories per serving are so low.
- It has shown potential health benefits as a healthful sugar alternative for people with diabetes.
As an alternative to sucrose, or table sugar, using stevia as a sweetener carries the potential for considerable health benefits.
The sweet-tasting components in stevia sweeteners occur naturally. This characteristic may benefit people who prefer naturally-sourced foods and beverages. The low calorie count qualifies Stevia to be a healthful alternative for diabetes control or weight loss.