6 Secrets You Never Knew About Zero-Calorie Sweeteners
In partnership with Stevia In The Raw.
Everyone loves a delicious sweet treat, but consuming too much added sugar may have negative side effects. The CDC says that eating and drinking added sugar in excess can lead to things like weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health complications over time. But with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) daily recommended limit of added sugar being only 10% of your total calories—about 50 grams per day if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet—it can be all too easy to consume "too much."
Thankfully, there are plenty of zero-calorie sweeteners on the market, such as Stevia In The Raw, that can help you easily lower some of your sugar calories when a sweet craving arrives. But what exactly is stevia, where does it come from, and what can you do with it? Read on to learn more facts about stevia that you never knew before.
Some zero-calorie sweeteners, like stevia, are derived from plants.
Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that comes from a green, leafy plant known as Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. This plant is part of the Asteraceae family, which includes sunflowers, daisies, and chrysanthemums. It is native to areas like Paraguay and Brazil, but it can also easily be grown in people's homes.
So how does this leafy plant become the powdered sweetener found at your local grocery store? When the stevia plant is ready, it is harvested, dried, and then the dried leaves are soaked in water. The water soaking creates an extract that is then dried and crystallized.
Not all zero-calorie sweeteners are created equal.
Many stevia powders that you see in stores are not pure stevia extract and are mixed with different ingredients. Because of this, it's important to know which stevia products have the purest ingredients. For example, Stevia In The Raw avoids artificial flavors or additives—which other brands use to enhance flavor—and derives virtually all its sweetness from Stevia Leaf Extract. It does contain levels of dextrose and maltodextrin to make it more measurable and comparable to sugar.
They don't all have a bad aftertaste!
Although you may notice that some zero-calorie sweeteners leave an odd taste in your mouth after consuming them, that's not always the case—as long as you pick the right brand. The high purity level of Stevia In The Raw's Stevia Leaf Extract eliminates the aftertaste found in some less pure Stevia products from other brands.
Yes, they actually contain zero calories.
Stevia makes an excellent replacement for sugar when you're still craving something sweet but need to lower your sugar intake because it contains zero calories. Plus, stevia leaf extract is 300-400 times sweeter than regular cane sugar meaning you'll be able to use much less of it to reach the same amount of sweetness you're accustomed to.
Stevia is good for a variety of different diets.
Because of Stevia's zero-calorie nature, it can fit into a multitude of different diets and eating guidelines. Most types of Stevia sweeteners are suitable for diabetics or people who are wanting to lower their blood sugar. Stevia In The Raw has less than one gram of carbohydrate per serving, which is suitable for diabetics who still want to enjoy something sweet.
Because of stevia's low sugar/carbohydrate count, it's also a great sugar alternative for those on the Keto diet. Since most people on Keto (it depends on your specific needs) limit their carb intake to about 20-50 grams per day, using stevia as a sweetener can save them sugar calories.
Stevia In The Raw is also completely gluten-free and never touches wheat products in the manufacturing process, making it perfectly safe for those with celiac disease. And if you're vegan or plant-based, you can rest assured that this product is certified vegan.
Stevia contains zero allergens.
If you have a food allergy, then you know it can sometimes be difficult to find safe, trustworthy foods at your local grocery store. Stevia In The Raw, however, is totally free from 8 major allergens: wheat, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans, fish, shellfish, and sesame.
You can use stevia like regular sugar.
You can use sugar substitutes like stevia in things like coffee, yogurt, or smoothies, but you can also cook and bake with it in the same way you'd use regular sugar.
Every brand of Stevia is going to have its own ratios for how you can substitute it in a regular recipe. Stevia In The Raw can be used by the same measuring volume, meaning that one cup of sugar in a recipe is one cup of Stevia In The Raw. However, In The Raw notes that when you're baking something like cookies or cake, regular sugar helps provide the proper texture, so replacing it entirely with stevia may produce an undesired outcome. They suggest trying half sugar and half stevia instead.