If you are ever at Starbucks and see a woman pull out a little container with a red cap…that’s probably me with my Stevia stash. It never disappoints as a conversation piece. People are curious about the white powder I shake into my coffee and I’m always happy to enlighten them.
If you’ve ever read the book sugar blues you know that sugar is not good for us on many levels. In moderation, sure, it’s fine. But the average person consumes about 100 lbs. of sugar a year. That’s a lot of donuts and Captain Crunch cereal. And most of us by now know about the glycemic index. That’s the ranking for carbohydrates that is based on the rate carbs affect blood glucose levels relative to glucose or white bread. If something has a high glycemic index it will affect our blood sugar by making it spike. This in turn stimulates the body to produce more insulin to take the sugar out of our bloodstream and put it into our cells. Excess insulin is stored as fat and that can make us fat.
So what is a person, like me, who likes things sweet to do? You could use one of the many artificial sweeteners on the market but they’ve been proven to have negative affects on the body when used in large doses. When I started dieting in my teens there was Sweet and Low, next came Equal and then came Splenda. I’ve used them all in the past even though I knew they were not good for me. Then about 8 years ago I heard about a sweetener called Stevia. Some of you may have already heard about it since it’s just starting to populate the shelves in the states. But what most people don’t know is that Stevia has been around for decades, perhaps even centuries. It’s used quite extensively in Japan. I’d tell you why it hasn’t been available in this country up until now but you’d have to be a big believer in conspiracy theories. But I digress……Stevia is estimated to be about 300 times sweeter than sugar and has a slight licorice taste. It can be an acquired taste but doesn’t take that long to get used it. I happen to prefer it to the taste of sugar. And it’s starting to appear in everything from soft drinks to cookies.
If you are going to try Stevia you might want to start with a brand that is a little cheaper and is usually cut with some other type of sweetener like Truvia and work your way up to what I use which is KAL Stevia extract powder. KAL Stevia powder is 100 % Stevia. It’s a little expensive but a little goes a long way. Stevia also comes in a liquid form making it easier to use.
The main reason to switch to Stevia is because it has 0 calories, 0 carbs and it’s natural. Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb from the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild in parts of South America. It’s best to use in beverages like tea or coffee, on fruit, yogurt etc as opposed to baking which is a little tricky. And the nice thing about Stevia is that it has no negative effects on the body.
Give it a try and let me know how you liked it!