What is Stevia?

Stevia- A Miracle, A Hope for all those who can’t enjoy the sweet things.

Stevia is a plant innate to South America. It is part of the sunflower family and its leaves are naturally sweet. The indigenous people used to chew them for their sweet taste and use them to naturally sweeten their beverages.

Its leaves contain various sweet tasting components, called steviol glycosides. Each of these steviol glycosides has its own exclusive taste profile and sweetness intensity. Their sweetness range varies from 200 to 350 times sweeter than sugar – but all without the calories.

To proclaim the sweetness, the steviol glycosides are extracted and purified. Their extraction process produces highly purified stevia leaf extract. And these crude stevia extracts or whole stevia plant leaves are used as ingredients in food and beverages.

Stevia has been approved by numerous regulatory bodies around the world. And has been also approved by FSSAI this year to use stevia components in various food and beverages. These are approved for use in countries including Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Paraguay. In the US, steviol glycosides with high rebaudioside content are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use as a tabletop sweetener.

Steviol glycosides are found in the leaves of the stevia plant. They have specific taste profile and extreme sweetness. Steviol glycosides can be isolated and purified from the leaves of the stevia plant. Rebaudioside A is one of the many steviol glycosides in stevia leaves that provide sweetness.

Steviol glycosides are found in the leaves of the stevia plant. They have specific taste profile and extreme sweetness. Steviol glycosides can be isolated and purified from the leaves of the stevia plant. Rebaudioside A is one of the many steviol glycosides in stevia leaves that provide sweetness. Steviol glycosides have zero calories. These factors have a positive effect on those looking to control weight or manage diabetes.

Stevia also contains certain vitamins, minerals, electrolytes (sodium, potassium), proteins, and other elements.

Health Benefits of Stevia:

 

Diabetes

Research has shown that stevia sweeteners do not subsidize calories or carbohydrates to the diet and do not affect blood glucose or insulin response, which allows people with diabetes to consume a wider variety of foods and accomplish with a healthful meal plan.

Weight control

The causes of overweight and obesity around the world are quite composite. The intake of added sugars has been shown to contribute an ordinary of 16% of the total calories in the diet, and has been linked to weight gain and adverse effects on glycemic control. Zero calorie stevia can be part of a well-balanced diet to help reduce energy intake without surrendering taste.

Metabolism

Steviol glycosides are poorly captivated in the body and pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach and small intestines, fully intact. Once steviol glycosides reach the colon, gut bacteria hydrolyze steviol glycosides into steviol by shearing off their glucose units. Steviol is then absorbed via the portal vein and metabolized by the liver, forming steviol glucuronide, before being excreted in the urine.

Pancreatic cancer

Stevia plant has many sterols and antioxidant compounds like triterpenes, flavonoids like polyphenolic anti-oxidant phytochemicals present in stevia are kaempferol, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, isoquercitrin, and isosteviol, and tannins. Studies have found that kaempferol can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23%.

Blood pressure

Certain glycosides in stevia extract have been found to dilate blood vessels, increase sodium excretion, and urine output. The plant have cardiotonic actions, which normalize blood pressure and regulate heartbeat. The plant displayed vasodilatory actions in both normotensive and hypertensive animals.

Children

Foods and beverages containing stevia can play an important role in decreasing calories from unwanted sweeteners in children's diets. There are now thousands of products containing naturally-sourced stevia on the market, ranging from salad dressing to snack bars, that allow children to consume foods and beverages that taste great without added calories.