Today I learned about a sugar alternative called Stevia which is becoming very popular amongst diabetics, those with a low glucose tolerance, obese people, and more. Stevia is known as a “Sweet Herb” in South America.
“With its extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Stevia also has shown promise in medical research for treating such conditions as obesity and high blood pressure. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance, therefore it is attractive as a natural sweetener to diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets. However, health and political controversies have limited stevia’s availability in many countries; for example, the United States banned it in the early 1990s. Stevia is widely used as a sweetener in Japan, and it is now available in the US and Canada as a dietary supplement, although not as a food additive. Rebiana is the trade name for a stevia-derived sweetener being developed jointly by The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill with the intent of marketing in several countries and gaining regulatory approval in the US and EU.”
The FDA has approved its use as a food supplement, but not as a food additive due to a lack of studies. Stevia can be used for anything you might use sugar in, including baking. It is naturally low in carbohydrates. You can buy stevia at most health food stores and over the web. There will always be those who have a sensitivity to a substance, but based on reports from other countries it appears to have little to no side effects.
Very interesting isn’t it?