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Stevia: A Naturally Sweet Alternative

September 1, 2010

ATLANTA, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ — Calorie counters have likely noticed the growing number of food and beverage products containing stevia sweeteners now showing up on U.S. supermarket shelves. Touted for their ability to provide natural, no-calorie sources of sweetness, stevia sweeteners have quickly gained popularity among consumers trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

But what exactly is stevia and what benefits does it provide to consumers? Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) is a South American plant traditionally used to sweeten beverages and make tea. The word “stevia” might refer to the entire plant or to a crude preparation (liquid or powder) of dried stevia leaves. The sweet-tasting components of the plant – called steviol glycosides – can be isolated and purified from the leaves and are now added to foods, beverages and tabletop sweeteners in the U.S. and elsewhere. The process of isolating the steviol glycosides has been compared to “steeping” tea leaves.

Several steviol glycosides are recognized as safe as general purpose sweeteners by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a sugar substitute with zero calories, stevia sweeteners can help reduce or replace calories in foods and beverages and offer low and no-calorie alternatives for people looking to lose and control weight. They are also a suitable option for people with diabetes, since studies show that consumption does not increase blood glucose levels.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100901/CL58386 )

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100901/CL58386 )

Here are more facts about stevia sweeteners:

What is the difference between stevia, rebaudioside A and steviol glycosides?

The term stevia typically refers to a crude preparation (powder or liquid) of dried stevia leaves. It may contain a mixture of many substances, only some of which are sweet. Steviol glycosides can be isolated and purified from the leaves of the stevia plant and can be used as sugar substitutes to sweeten foods and beverages and used as tabletop sweeteners. Rebaudioside A is one of the steviol glycosides purified from the leaf of the stevia plant. Other steviol glycosides include stevioside, rebaudiosides B, C, D, F, steviolbioside, rubusoside, and dulcoside A.

In what types of foods are stevia sweeteners used?

Stevia sweeteners can be used as sugar substitutes in foods such as beverages, desserts, sauces, yogurt, pickled foods, breads and confections.

What are some common and trade names for stevia sweeteners?

Enliten®, PureVia(TM), Reb A, Rebaudioside A, Rebiana, Stevia, Stevioside, Stevia Extract In The Raw(TM), Sun Crystals®, Truvia(TM), Sweetleaf®

How many calories do stevia sweeteners contain?

Steviol glycosides have zero calories. Stevia-based tabletop sweeteners can have zero or minimal calories per serving, depending upon the other food ingredients with which they are combined. For example, some stevia sweeteners may be mixed with sugar as a bulking agent and these stevia sweeteners will contain some calories.

For more information or for recipes containing stevia, visit www.steviabenefits.org.

Contact: Stan Samples +1-404-252-3663

SOURCE SteviaBenefits.org


Source: newswire



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