Stevia is a natural sweetener that was recently discovered. The main use of stevia is to replace sugar contained in food and sweets. But let’s take a closer look at its nutritional value, the safety and benefits of using stevia instead of other sweeteners.
It is a natural substance that derives from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, which grows mainly in America. It belongs to the category of non-calorie sweeteners.
As an additive it is denoted by the code E960, where the letter E indicates a way to symbolize the sweetener compound in the food industry as a shortcut.
Sweetness and benefits
The main ingredients of stevia are steviol glycosides, which are isolated and taken from the leaves of the plant. The isolation process involves desiccating the leaves and soaking them in water where their ingredients are released. The sweetness of stevia is about 200 to 300 times stronger than that of common sugar.
The main benefits of stevia are:
- Zero Calories
- Increased sweetness
- It does not affect blood glucose levels
- It does not affect arterial blood pressure
- It does not destroy the teeth
- Suitable for diabetics, overweight and obese people
- It is not carcinogenic and genotoxic
Using stevia is the ideal choice for those who want to maintain a healthy body weight, so along with a balanced diet can help in weight loss. In addition, because it does not affect blood sugar levels can help people with diabetes retain the sweet taste in their diet.
It is usually sold in the market without additives or in combination with erythritol, which is a bulking agent, for a better fluidity.
Safety and recommended dose
Acceptable recommended daily dose (ADI) is 4mg / kg. All sweeteners, including stevia, through extensive research, have been characterized safe for use, as long as the daily recommended dose (ADI) is not exceeded, according to World Health Organization (WHO), EFSA and FDA, respectively.
Forms and uses
Stevia is a sweetener and commercially available in liquid form, in tablets and in powder. It is widely used in soft drinks, sweets and packaged foods to reduce their caloric value. Depending on its resistance to high temperatures, certain types of stevia can be used even in hot food and beverages. It has been observed that some types of stevia have an unpleasant and bitter aftertaste, especially if added to hot products.
There is no side effects by taking stevia. In cases of overconsumption, it may cause diarrhea or flatulence.
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