Stevia is a natural sugar alternative that helps to regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure. Stevia is a complex sugar extract from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana, grown originally in South America. It is an herb native to the Paraguayan Indians who used it before the colonization by the Spaniards in the 16th century. The Brazilian Journal of Medicine showed that Stevia Rebaudiana actually “increased glucose tolerance.”
Because stevia is very sweet, you only need to use a small amount and the best thing is that it virtually has no calories. Just think about it……a plant sweetening your food with virtually no calories…….how good is that?!!
- The problem with consuming any simple carbohydrate is that it creates an insulin response that can overwork the pancreas. Over time, the body’s ability to handle all sugars, simple and complex, begins to weaken.
- Since all sugars will cause an elevation in blood sugar, diabetics and people with dietary issues should consult their doctor about alternatives to sugar that will be healthy for them.
- Most sugars are strongly acid-forming in the body. They all also have calories.
I never use the first four (white sugar, brown sugar, fructose, sugar alcohols) in my cooking.
I mostly use the last four (16-19: brown rice syrup, molasses, agave nectar, stevia).
I use all the others carefully. For most of us a little of the healthier sugars is fine and can even be good for us.
In my kitchen sugars are used sparingly. I bought a liter of maple syrup seven years ago and still have half a cup left and the only reason there is so little left is because I spilled a cup of it two years ago….in the fridge — what a mess! I bought a package of sucanat three years ago and still have a quarter of a cup left. At Christmas, I make my Fancy Fruit & Macadamia Nut Cookies (dairy- & wheat-free) and use four tablespoons of sucanat for a big recipe. When making desserts, I mostly use stevia for things like rice pudding.
As stevia is almost always in my recipes, I use less of the other “sugars.” To get the right texture and flavor a little of one of the healthier sugars is helpful and they actually add some nutrition……and of course fun.
Which ones do you use and why?