Green Heart

It's my life and I'm trying to live it healthy, happy and enviromentaly friendly.

Healthy sugar – Stevia

on February 27, 2012

Have you ever heard about stevia? I didn’t until I came across bHIP Blue Energy Blend, where stevia is used as a sweetener instead of ordinary sugar. Then I started to read more about it and found out some really interesting facts about this so called sugar.

What is stevia?
Stevia is a plant with extremely sweet taste. “In fact, this remarkable noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for centuries.” Source
And yes, you read it right, it has no calories, which makes this sweetener great for those that look after how many calories they consume.

History of stevia:
“The Guarani Indians from Paraguay had known about this sweet herb for centuries and they had been sweetening herbal teas with stevia leaves ‘since ancient times’. By the 1800s, daily stevia consumption had become well entrenched throughout the region — not just in Paraguay, but also in neighboring Brazil and Argentina.” Source

It was at the beginning of 20th century that Stevia became more known in New World and in other parts of South America as well. The information about this plant slowly found it’s way to other parts of the world. “Stevia’s commercial potential, however, was already known to others who were less than happy about it. In 1913, a report from the official public laboratory of Hamburg, Germany, noted that ‘specimens received are of the well-known plant which alarmed sugar producers some years ago.'” Source
Today it is also grown and used in approximately 10 other countries outside South America, including Japan, China, Germany, Malaysia, Israel and South Korea.

Health
Stevia is proven to be safe to use and is healthy substitute to all other sugars. It is great for people with diabetes.

Availability
In many countries you can get stevia powder, but in most cases it is sold as a dietary supplement. In some countries stevia as a powder is illegal and they say the reason for this is »not enough researches«, but the true reason is sugar industry. But it’s funny that even if stevia powder is illegal, very often stevia as a plant is not and you can even buy it at garden centers. So you can still use it or make a powder yourself. So in fact, stevia powder being illegal is just one of cases where industry is trying to prevent better solution…
In Slovenia this plant was available in garden centers for quite some time, but this year it became available as a powder in Müller store as well! But I noticed that one product contains only few percents of stevia, other ingredient is some sort of artificial sugar, so this is not what we want. But I noticed that one of the products is in fact only stevia, but it is not a powder but it’s in a shape of small tablets.

I have a stevia plant at home, but I wasn’t able to try it yet, because it was attacked by a huge green caterpillar that ate almost all leaves. So I’m still waiting for my poor stevia to recover. =)

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