Stevia is a sweetener that is purely natural in nature and is extracted from the plant called Stevia Rebaudiana. This is a herbaceous plant that is native to Brazil and Paraguay, but is now also found in the United States, Central America including Mexico and South America.
On November 14, 2011, the European Union approved the use of this new sweetener.
The sweetening properties come from the stevioglycosides extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. The harvested plants are cleaned and then the leaves are dried in the sun or with the help of hot air. Afterwards, the stevia leaves are ground and treated with water, a process similar to the infusion of tea. The end product of that process is then purified and crystallized, leaving Rebaudioside A in its purest form.
The sweetener stevia in its concentrated form is no less than 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Because stevia is a natural product and has few or no side effects, it is very suitable as a replacement for sugar without carbohydrates. The taste is described as sweet with a light undertone, reminiscent of liquorice.
Stevia is therefore naturally sweet and contains no calories or carbohydrates. Its extract is a wonderful alternative to sugar, which can be used in the context of a balanced diet. It is also extremely suitable for people with diabetes.