The plant Stevia rebaudiana has been used for more than 1,500 years by the Guaraní peoples of South America, who referred to it as a sweet herb. The leaves have been used for hundreds of years in both Brazil and Paraguay to sweeten teas and medicines, and as a sweet treat.
Since the early 1970s, stevia has been used in Japan as an alternative to cyclamate and saccharin in food products, soft drinks, (including Coca Cola), and for table use.
Today, Japan consumes more stevia than any other country.
Stevia became popular in the U.S. health food industries, as a noncaloric natural sweetener for teas and weight-loss blends. And, as soon as the FDA approved stevia’s use as a food additive, it didn’t take long for the major beverage manufacturers to jump on the stevia bandwagon with their own brands that contain very little stevia and the vast majority of garbage sweeteners.
The fact that stevia is a plant means that no one manufacturer can claim it as their own, which is the why you see all the “stevia” products coming on the market that actually contain little stevia and lots of other junk sugars.
For that reason, I recommended using only pure stevia leaf extract and NOT any of the major brand products with names like Truvia, Rebiana, PureVia, etc. And don’t fall for the product called “Stevia in the Raw” either. It blends stevia with dextrose, which is a carbohydrate (sugar) derived from GMO corn.
The good stuff about stevia in a nutshell:
- Stevia is nature’s no-calorie sweetener.
- It’s a great alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols that have been linked to various types of cancer and digestive issues.
- Stevia does not impact blood sugar levels like high-fructose corn syrup and other commercial sweeteners.
The bad stuff about stevia:
- Don’t eat any “branded” stevia product without reading the label first. All of the ones I’ve seen contain a little stevia along with a lot of other garbage sugars.