Stevia leaf extract comes from the stevia plant, which originates in South America. The primary components extracted from the stevia leaf are called steviol glycosides. Extract from these plants are used in stevia sweeteners to provide a sweet taste without calories in many foods and beverages.
What is stevia extract made from
Stevia sweeteners are derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) plant, an herbal shrub native to South America. The stevia plant has been used for food and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years, and its leaves and crude extracts have been sold as dietary supplements. Purified extracts of the sweet substances found in the stevia leaf, called steviol glycosides, are considered to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, whole stevia leaves and crude leaf extracts are not permitted to be sold as sweeteners in the U.S. because there is not enough toxicological information on these products, according to the FDA. Stevia sweeteners are made by extracting steviol glycosides from the leaves of the stevia plant and purifying them to remove some of the bitter attributes found in the crude extract.
Steviol glycosides all have a common basic backbone called steviol. They include compounds like stevioside and many different forms of rebaudiosides, the most common of which is rebaudioside A (or reb A) (Magnuson 2016). Some steviol glycosides are also made through processes called bioconversion and fermentation, which allow sweeter and less bitter stevia rebaudiosides, such as reb M, to be produced on a larger scale.
What is stevia extract in the raw
Stevia In The Raw® is a zero–calorie* sweetener, which consists of stevia extract and a bulking agent (dextrose or maltodextrin). The stevia is extracted from the sweetest part of the stevia plant leaf (stevia rebaudiana Bertoni). It is then purified to create a sweetener that is 300 to 400 times sweeter than cane sugar. Because the stevia leaf extract is so pure and sweet, it requires blending with a bulking agent so that it can be conveniently measured, poured and used as a substitute for sugar or other caloric sweeteners.
In our Packet Product, the pure stevia leaf extract is blended with dextrose, a carbohydrate derived from corn, to produce the zero-calorie sweetener we call Stevia InThe Raw®.
In our cup-for-cup Bakers Bag product, pure stevia leaf extract is co-dried with maltodextrin, a carbohydrate derived from corn, to produce a zero-calorie sweetener that matches the sweetness and measurement of sugar “cup for cup” for recipes.
*Each packet contains less than 4 calories per serving, which the FDA considers dietetically zero.
What is liquid stevia extract
Liquid stevia offers a sugar-free option to sweeten your favorite drinks and foods without the negative health effects of refined sugar. Reducing your calorie intake, improving your blood sugar levels, and decreasing the risk of cavities are a few reasons why liquid stevia is a great sweetener to have around. Flavor, quality of ingredients, and storage are all important factors to evaluate when making your selection.
First, stevia is my sweetener of choice for nearly all sweetened foods — cold drinks, hot drinks, smoothies, desserts, sauces, and more. Stevia is a super sweet tasting herb that's not actually sugar (zero calories and no glycemic impact). It's super concentrated — 30 to 200 times sweeter than sugar depending on its form — and a little goes a long way!
A lot of Trim Healthy Mama recipes call for a blend of erythritol — a sugar alcohol that's considered a sugar-free alternative — and stevia together. We do use that blend in moderation on occasion for special treats. However, for daily use, it's all stevia in our household!
Stevia side effects and warnings
When taken by mouth: Stevia and chemicals contained in stevia, including stevioside and rebaudioside A, are LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth as a sweetener in foods. Rebaudioside A has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status in the U.S. for use as a sweetener for foods. Stevioside has been safely used in research in doses of up to 1500 mg daily for 2 years. Some people who take stevia or stevioside can experience bloating or nausea. Other people have reported feelings of dizziness, muscle pain, and numbness.
According to the FDA, the acceptable daily intake for stevia glycosides is 4 milligrams (mg) per kilogramTrusted Source of body weight.
When used as a sweetener or to flavor foods, experts do not consider highly purified stevia to cause adverse side effects.
While several studies have identified potential side effects of stevia over the last few decades, most were done using laboratory animals, and many have since been disproved.
Potential side effects linked to stevia consumption include:
Stevia is considered a diuretic, meaning that it increases the speed at which the body expels water and electrolytes from the body in urine. Because the kidney is responsible for filtering and creating urine, researchers initially thought that long-term consumption of stevia could damage the organ.
More recent studies, however, have concluded that stevia may help prevent kidney damage. A 2013 studyTrusted Source carried out in a laboratory found that stevia reduced cyst growth in kidney cells.
Some stevia products contain added sugar alcohols that may cause unpleasant symptoms in individuals that are very sensitive to the chemicals.
Although hypersensitivity to sugar alcohol is rare, its symptoms can include:
Several studies using rodent and human cell cultures have demonstrated the potential gastrointestinal benefits of steviol glycosides. Stevia use has been shown to help limit and reduce diarrhea and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
According to a 2015 reviewTrusted Source, there are very few reported cases of stevia allergy. Both the FDA and European Commission concluded that the number of individuals who are hypersensitive to stevia or at a risk of having an allergic response to it is low.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
Although stevia may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes, it was also once thought that long-term or heavy stevia consumption might cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
This has since been proven highly unlikely, except in individuals with abnormally low blood sugar levels.
Low blood pressure
Stevia is known to act as a vasodilator, causing the blood vessels to widen and lowering overall blood pressure. Currently, researchers have only explored the potentially positive aspects of this use.
Anything that actively lowers blood pressure can cause health complications with excessive, long-term use. People with chronic low blood pressure should speak to a doctor about prolonged stevia use.
As a type of steroid, steviol glycosides can interfere with hormones controlled by the endocrine system. A 2016 study found that human sperm cells exposed to steviol experienced an increase in progesterone production.
Why was stevia banned
Though widely available throughout the world, in 1991 stevia was banned in the U.S. due to early studies that suggested the sweetener may cause cancer. A follow-up study refuted the initial study and in 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed stevia to be imported and sold as a food supplement, but not as a sweetener. Several companies argued to the FDA that stevia should be categorized similarly to its artificial-sweetener cousins as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS). Substances that are considered GRAS have been determined to be safe through expert consensus, scientific review or widespread use without negative complications. They are exempt from the rigorous approval process required for food additives. If designated as GRAS, stevia could be used as a sweetener in a wide variety of food products and beverages.
In December 2008, the FDA accepted this argument, declared stevia GRAS, and allowed its use in mainstream U.S. food production. It has taken food manufacturers a couple of years to work out the right formulations, but stevia is now present in a number of foods and beverages in the U.S., including Gatorade’s G2, VitaminWater Zero, SoBe Lifewater Zero, Crystal Light and Sprite Green. Around the world it has been used in soft drinks, chewing gums, wines, yogurts, candies and many other products. Stevia powder can also be used for cooking and baking (in markedly decreased amounts compared to table sugar due to its high sweetness potency).
How long does stevia stay in your body
Let’s first look at how sugar is broken down in the body. When digesting sugar, the pancreas produces insulin to break it down which keeps blood sugar levels in check. In diabetics this is especially problematic due to a deficiency in the insulin production, an insufficient digestion of sugar which then leads to elevated blood sugar levels.
Stevia metabolizes differently. The body does not react to stevia as it does with sucrose from sugar so there is no insulin production; the steviol glycosides passes unchanged through the body (as opposed to sugar) down to the colon where the glycoside is removed in stages by hydrolysis, resulting in the formation of steviol.
Stevia good or bad
Stevia is a natural sweetener linked to numerous benefits, including lower blood sugar levels.
While refined extracts are considered safe, research on whole-leaf and raw products is lacking.
When used in moderation, stevia is associated with few side effects and can be a great substitute for refined sugar.
FOR bulk stevia powder, please contact us at email:[email protected]