What is Stevia?
“The all natural sugar-free sweetener is everywhere these days, but what is it?”
Stevia Rebaudiana is a leafy green plant native to South America that’s been around for thousands of years. The Stevia we use as a sweetener comes from compounds found in the Stevia Rebaudiana called “Stevio Glycosides.” These compounds contain the “sweetness” that is also found in sugar, except they aren’t metabolized (digested) in our bodies the same way sugar is, giving Stevia it’s zero calorie benefits.
All the Sweetness, None of the Calories
Unlike sugar, our bodies don’t metabolize the compounds found in Stevia. This means that we get the sweet flavor we’re looking for, without the calories being absorbed through our digestive system. When we eat traditional sugar, we get the flavor, and then the sugar is absorbed through our digestive system, into our bloodstream. Too much sugar can put a major strain on our body as it tries to balance out the sugar levels in our blood. Sugar also contains a lot of calories in relation to its portion size. Stevia on the other hand just gives us that sweetness we’re looking for, and then passes through our body without being absorbed, giving it the “Zero Calorie” distinction.
Why Zero Added Sugar Matters
From obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, too much sugar can be lethal. In an effort to curb calories without compromising on our love for sweetness, Stevia has become wildly popular. A little sugar isn’t bad, and getting it from whole foods like fruits is totally fine. However when we take pure sugar and add it to things, we tend to overload our bodies. Things like baked goods, candy, soda, and coffees are examples of places where people are taking too much sugar into their bodies. This powerful spike in sugar throws our body off as it scrambles to rebalance our blood sugar levels. Overtime this can lead to diabetes, and the excess calories in sugar is a key contributor to obesity.
Issues With Stevia “Aftertaste”
Some people don’t like Stevia for the taste they experience when consuming it. Stevia in too concentrated a serving can have a bitter aftertaste. Not everybody experiences this, much like how some people think Cilantro tastes like soap, and some people don’t. For those who do have an issue with Stevia’s aftertaste, there are solutions that don’t involve grabbing the sugar jar. There are products, including Green Peaks Protein, that use a blend of natural sweeteners in order to provide a more complex flavor profile. At Green Peaks we find that using Monk Fruit, another zero calorie all natural sweetener, helps to eliminate any aftertaste from too much Stevia. This blend helps ensure maximum flavor, without any funny aftertaste. You can also buy packets of Monk Fruit + Stevia in most grocery stores (or online) for use at home as a traditional sugar substitute.
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