All about the Stevia sugar substitute

What is Stevia?

Steviol glycoside is a calorie-free sweetener that is extracted from the stevia plant.

The stevia plant belongs to the chrysanthemum family and originates from the north east of Paraguay. Hundreds of years ago, the native inhabitants of Paraguay and Brazil recognised the strong sweetening power of the plant and since then have used the leaves to sweeten their food and drink. Stevia is also known as a honey herb in these countries because of its irresistible sweetness. Today, stevia is cultivated in large parts of the world, including South America, Asia and Australia, and has been approved as a calorie-free sugar substitute in many countries.

Superfood from South America

The natives of Paraguay and Brazil have known for a long time: The leaves of the stevia plant are great for sweetening drinks and food. For hundreds of years, they have been using the plant, which they know as the “honey herb”, for their teas and food. In 2008, the sweetener steviol glycoside was authorised by the Food Authority in Switzerland. Two years later SteviaSweet came onto the market and since then has enjoyed increasing popularity.

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SteviaSweet offers these advantages

Unlike sugar, SteviaSweet does not contain any calories. A fact that can affect your body weight. If you only replace four to five teaspoons of sugar per day with SteviaSweet, you will save more than 500 calories per week. On a yearly basis that is 3 kilograms of body fat, which would have been produced by sugar alone. Stevia is not only great from a nutrient point of view. Unlike sugar, it doesn’t decay the teeth or increase the blood glucose level. So SteviaSweet is suitable for diabetics, vegans, those on a low carb diet and those who want to reduce their sugar consumption.

From plant to product

Extracting the steviol glycoside sweetener from the stevia plant is no piece of cake. For this purpose, an elaborate process is necessary in which, in simple terms, the water is first removed from the leaves. The steviol glycosides are then purified and filtered. The crystallised and dried steviol glycosides are mixed with natural aromas. This is necessary because Stevia has a peculiar flavour, which some people find unpleasant. The mixture with natural aromas gives SteviaSweet its rounded, sugar-like taste.