Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by Lori Geurin
When I was a little girl I loved going to my beloved Nanny’s house to make and eat baked goods with her. People admired her for her kindness, for teaching home economics for over 30 years and baking the best desserts west of the Mississippi. Just ask her favorite (okay, only), granddaughter.
Baking is definitely an art and she was an artist. She taught me how to bake cookies and cakes, pies, and fudge, all so deliciously rich and delightfully sweet.
Still, eating the sweet treats didn’t compare to the time we spent smiling, laughing, and playing the occasional practical joke on my unsuspecting Papaw. She always made me feel special and I cherished our times together. I’m grateful for those cherished memories.
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Even though everyone is familiar with sugar, Stevia is something fairly new to some. Below are some of the benefits to Stevia leaf.
Stevia Health Benefits
- May lower blood sugar (6)
- Reduces the growth of breast cancer cells (7)
- Lowers blood pressure (8)
- Improves overall cholesterol (9)
Now, let’s take a look at why you might want to consider trying Stevia instead of sugar.
Processed Sugar And Your Health
In the 80’s people weren’t too concerned with sugar.
Back then fat was (erroneously) considered the dietary evil. I’m glad the horrible myths about fat have been cleared up, because (grass-fed) butter does make everything better.
Processed sugar may end up being the most dangerous offender in the American diet despite earlier beliefs of its innocence. But why?
- is full of empty calories
- causes tooth decay
- is highly addictive (1)
- raises your cholesterol and risk for heart disease (2)
- causes cancer (3)
- causes insulin resistance (4)
- can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (5)
(For more about the harmful impact of sugar you may want to check out 20 Reasons Why Refined Sugar Is Bad For Your Health.)
Now that we know the dangers sugar presents to our health we can look to a healthy alternative for the sweetness we crave.
What Are Stevia Leaves?
Stevia is the only sugar the body doesn’t view as sugar. What I mean by that is it’s the only sugar that doesn’t cause an unhealthy spike in your blood sugar when you eat it. In fact, as you’ll see below, studies have shown it can actually decrease your blood sugar. Amazing, right?
Stevia an all-natural sugar substitute belonging to the Asteraceae family. This herb is an extract taken from a plant originally grown in South America. It’s super sweet, 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. So, as you might have guessed, a little goes a long way.
Based on a 1 gram serving, it has zero calories and does not raise blood glucose levels, something that could be an issue for people with diabetes.
You can use it in baking. It’s also stable in a freezer and heat. But because it is so sweet you’ll have to make some adjustments.
Here are some basic conversions for baking with Stevia:
- 1 teaspoon sugar = 1/2 packet, or 1/8 teaspoon powdered stevia, or 5 drops liquid
- one tablespoon sugar = 1 .5 packets, or 1/3 teaspoon powdered stevia, or 15 drops liquid stevia
- 1 cup sugar = 24 packets, or 2 tablespoons powdered stevia, or 2 teaspoons liquid stevia
Two compounds in stevia make the leaves sweet:
You may have also heard of Truvia, which is a highly processed form of stevia. I recommend staying away from this and sticking with all-natural stevia.
Stevia Side Effects And Warnings
Generally speaking, most people are fine consuming stevia, especially in its purest form. But, it’s important to understand the different forms of stevia because some are more processed than others. Also as we know, the more processed foods are, the less healthy and more harmful to our health they are.
- The green leaf stevia is the all-natural plant form you can grow. The leaves can be dried and ground to a powder. This is the healthiest form.
- Stevia extracts
- Highly processed stevia (such as Truvia) is not recommended. It runs through 42 different processes, including the addition of harmful chemical solvents and GMO corn products. Consequently, at the end of all this processing, it scarcely resembles natural stevia at all. (You can read more about Truvia here.)
Feel free to check out this video I made about natural stevia leaf.
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Summary – Stevia Benefits
Stevia is an excellent all-natural alternative to sugar, as long as you use the more natural forms and avoid the highly processed ones, such as Truvia. Not only can stevia sweeten your morning coffee or tea, but it offers impressive health benefits such as lowering your blood sugar.
It’s important to keep in mind that the quality and purity levels of different stevia brands can vary dramatically. It’s necessary to do some investigating before buying stevia leaf to make sure you get a quality product.
We use NuNaturals Pure Liquid Clear Stevia every day and are pleased with the high quality and purity level of the product. Below is a highly rated Stevia cookbook you might enjoy baking some healthful recipes from:
Can you think of more health benefits of stevia sweetener? Have you tried baking or cooking with it?
Please share below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!
If you liked this article about stevia health benefits you’ll want to check out:
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