In recent years, the real impact of too much sugar in our diets has been revealed – from skin breakouts and high cholesterol to dips in mood. Now we’re looking for creative ways to reduce the amount of sugar we eat and still satisfy a sweet tooth. Thankfully, there's an alternative that not only tastes great but has natural benefits too – stevia.
Spotlight on stevia
This in-demand health food is 100% natural. It’s derived from the stevia plant, which is part of the chrysanthemum family. Native to South America, these days it grows mainly in China. A glycoside called stevioside is taken from the leaves, which are harvested and then dried. After being steeped in hot water and purified, what you're left with is the natural sweetener that we all know and love.
The super sweetener
This superhero sweetener contains zero calories. So choosing stevia over other sweeteners can help you to maintain a healthy weight as it puts the brakes on cravings later in the day. Similarly, it won’t raise your blood sugar (it has a glycaemic index of 0), which is sweet news for diabetics. A number of recent studies have suggested that stevia has a starring role in reducing blood pressure. It's also thought to support oral health, preventing cavities, and to build and strengthen your bones.
The easiest way to reap the benefits of this natural extract is to pop it in your daily cuppa or mug of coffee. You’ll be eliminating calories (not to mention the harmful effects of refined sugar) without even realising it. Certain forms of stevia can also be used in baking. Two tablespoons of stevia equals 200g of white sugar, meaning you can enjoy the occasional slice of cake guilt-free. It's perfect for sweetening banana bread, whipping up a raspberry coulis or as a base for jams and jellies too.
Stevia is also one of the active ingredients in our Slim Me supplement. It’s designed to help stabilise your metabolism and fight those pesky sugar cravings, by supporting digestion and keeping you energised.