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FAQ
Here are just a some questions we've been asked over the years. If there is something you'd like to know and the answer isn't here, send an email or call and we'll make sure to include it!


  • What is Stevia?
  • Is Stevia Safe?
  • I have heard that stevia has side effects?
  • What are the benefits of Using Stevia?
  • Where is Stevia Grown?
  • What are the types or forms of Stevia?
  • Does Stevia have the same qualities as sugar in cooking recipes?
  • Will Stevia break down at high temperatures like saccrines or aspartame?
  • Will Stevia act as a "fuel" for yeast in baking as sugar does?
  • Why is Stevia just coming onto the market?
  • Why does Stevia cost so much?
  • How come diet soft drinks are not sweetened with Stevia?
  • Does Stevia have any effect on hypoglycemia?







  • What is

    Stevia?
    Stevia is of the Composite family, related to lettuce,

    marigold and chicory. It was "Officially" discovered in the late 19th century

    by Dr. Moises Santiago Bertoni. He was given samples of the plant and he

    reported that "one small piece of the leaf will keep the mouth sweet for

    an hour". He named the plant Stevia Rebuadiani Bertoni in honor of a Paraguayan

    chemist name Rebaudi. Bertoni found that the Guarani Indians had been using

    the leaves of the plant to sweeten bitter teas and as a sweet treat.


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    Is Stevia

    Safe?
    Stevia has been used since pre-Colombian times with no reports

    of ill side affects. Stevia has also withstood years of research that has

    proven Stevia to be safe for human and animal consumption.


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    I have heard

    that stevia has side effects?


    * Toxic? – No. Stevia has been used in

    Japan since 1970 and there have been no reports of toxicity or other side

    effects. 



    * Mutagenic? – No. The Japanese Food and

    Drug Safety Center has found stevia not to be mutagenic. Only one study

    has shown stevia to be potentially a mutagenic and this study has been

    criticized for errors in procedure. Scientists in Great Britain said that

    according to the study’s formula, distilled water is mutagenic.



    * A contraceptive? Two studies showed

    stevia to have a contraceptive effect. The first study was done in Uruguay

    over 30 years ago and since then no one has been able to reproduce the

    results. The second study was done by a graduate student in Rio de Janeiro

    and the results and methods have been questionable. Multiple other studies

    have shown that stevia has no contraceptive effect. 



    * Is Stevia Safe? Absolutely. Stevia has

    been used around the world with NO reports of stevia overdose or toxicity

    to humans in the past forty years. 


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    What are the

    benefits of Using Stevia?
    Studies have shown the following benefits

    from using Stevia in one's diet. These benefits have not been approved

    or confirmed by the FDA.


    * Sugarless with no calories 


    * Will not effect blood sugar levels like

    sugar does. 



    * 100% Natural 


    * 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar


    * Heat stable to 200 degrees Celsius (392

    degrees Fahrenheit) 



    * Non-fermentable 


    * Flavor enhancer 


    * Plaque retardant Anti-caries (prevents

    cavities) 



    * Recommended for diabetics 


    * Non-toxic Extensively tested in animals

    and Extensively used by humans with no adverse effects.


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    Where is Stevia

    Grown?
    Originally stevia grew wild in the highland region of Northern

    Paraguay and Southern Brazil. It was later cultivated for use as a sweetener

    until the introduction of sugar cane by the Spanish and Portuguese. Today

    Stevia is grown around the world from China, Japan and other Asian countries

    to South America, Europe, India, the Ukraine and even North America.


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    What are the

    types or forms of Stevia?


    Types of Stevia:

    - Stevia Leaves

    * Fresh Leaves – Most pure form. 8 – 12%

    sweet glycosides : 5-8% Steviosides and 1-2% Rebaudioside A. 



    * Dried Leaves – Dried form of the fresh

    leaves. Used in brewing herbal teas and for making liquid extracts. 



    * Tea Cut Leaves – Cut into small pieces

    and sifted to remove twigs and other unwanted matter. 



    * Ground Leaves (Powder) - The dried leaves

    ground into a fine powder. Usually about 10 – 15 times sweeter than sugar.

    Used in teas and cooking but does not dissolve. 


    - Liquid Extracts

    * Dark – A concentrated syrup derived from

    the dried leaves. Usually in a water and alcohol base. Sweetness varies

    between manufacturers. This form will offer the greater amount of benefits

    from the stevia plant. 



    * Clear – A solution of powdered steviosides

    dissolved in water, alcohol or glycerin. 


    - Powdered Extracts (STEVIOSIDES)

    * 40 – 50% Sweet Glycosides – The processed

    form of the leaves to concentrate on the sweet glycosides by removing unwanted

    plant matter. An off white powder. Commonly referred to as "Stevioside". 



    * 80 – 95% Sweet Glycosides - The processed

    form of the leaves to concentrate on the sweet glycosides by removing unwanted

    plant matter. An off white powder. This powder is 200 – 300 times sweeter

    than sugar. Quality of the powder depends on purity of the glycosides (i.e.

    80 – 95% pure) and the ratio of Rebaudioside A over Stevioside. The higher

    the ratio, the better the product. Commonly referred to as "Stevioside". 


    - Other Forms (STEVIA BLENDS)

    * Due to the great strength of the Powdered

    Extracts, it is common to add a filler to "tone" down the strength so that

    the Stevioside is easier to use and more palatable. These fillers are usually

    some form of non-sweet food additive that has little to no nutritive value

    such as lactose or maltodextrin. 


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    Does Stevia

    have the same qualities as sugar in cooking recipes?
    No! The molecular

    structures of sucrose and Stevioside are completely different. Sucrose

    (Sugar) when heated will caramelize making such delights as cookies, fudge

    and ... caramel, a possibility. Stevia will not. Some sweets, like caramel,

    are not possible. However, other sweets like cookies and fudge are possible although, you may have to work with a recipe to get it to your liking.


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    Will Stevia

    break down at high temperatures like saccrines or aspartame?
    No!

    The fact that stevia is heat stable is one of the real great properties

    of Stevia. Stevioside is heat stable to about 200 degrees Celsius (392

    degrees Fahrenheit). So it can be used in almost any recipe.


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    Will Stevia

    act as a "fuel" for yeast in baking as sugar does?
    No! Stevia is

    non-fermentable and therefore will not act as a food source for yeast.

    (This is why stevia is great for anyone suffering from Candida!) Breads

    will still rise when baked but just not as big.


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    Why is Stevia

    just coming onto the market?
    Stevia has been around for a long

    time, even in the United States. Early studies on stevia go back to the

    1950's but the United States is a nation chin deep in bureaucracy, dirty-politics

    and corruption. In the 1950's the sugar industry fought to prevent the

    use of Stevia in the United States. Today, the manufacturers of Nutrasweet

    (aspartame) have practically bought the FDA to prevent it's approval as

    a food additive and therefore a sugar substitute. If you don't believe

    me, contact 60 Minutes of CBS. In the Spring of 1997 they aired a report

    on how Nutrasweet "bought" influence with the FDA to force the approval

    of a sweetener that is now blamed for the illnesses and deaths of thousands

    of Americans.


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    Why does Stevia

    cost so much?
    There are many reasons actually. 1) Stevia is a plant

    that has to be cultivated before it can be used as a sweetener. This requires

    large investments of capital to buy plants, farms, equipment, etc. to grow

    and harvest the plants. There is also the expense of the equipment to process

    the leaves into the pure stevioside. 2) When compared to sugar and the

    artificial sweeteners, yes, it is expensive. Stevia is not widely cultivated

    like sugar is. Sugar too is very expensive to grow and process

    but, with hundreds of countries growing and processing sugar, economics

    affects the major factor of price. As for the chemical sweeteners, face facts,

    its nothing but a blend of cheap chemicals. That is why it is so profitable.

    3) There are also some people in this business (stevia business) that either

    have inefficient and expensive suppliers or they are actually (yes I know

    this is hard to believe) overpricing for the sake of money. They sell low

    quality stevia and/or they sell stevia using tricky and even confusing

    marketing practices.


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    How come diet

    soft drinks are not sweetened with Stevia?
    The answer is simple:

    Money! The diet soft drink market is HUGE, worth billions of dollars and

    the manufacturer of Nutrasweet is not about to share that market. So the

    armies of lobbyists were called in to make sure the FDA did not allow the

    use of Stevia as a food ingredient thereby protecting their market. Nutrasweet

    has a patent on aspartame and that patent guarantees big profits whereas

    Stevia is a natural plant that can be grown by anyone and everyone.


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    Does Stevia

    have any effect on hypoglycemia?
    According to the report Effect

    of the Stevioside and of the aqueous extract of Stevia Rebaudiana (BERT)

    Bertoni on the glycemia of normal and diabetic rats By: Professor Carlos

    Eduardo Pinheiro, Presented to the II Brazilian Convention on Stevia rebaudiana

    (Bert) Bertoni - September 1982, they found that the use of Stevia did

    not produce any significant glycemic effects in normal or diabetic rats.

    In other words, stevia does not add sugar to the blood stream as sugar

    or even fruit can do. This allows the body to regulate the blood's sugar

    levels naturally. Of course if you drink tea with stevia with a twinkie,

    all bets are off but if you are careful with your diet, stevia is a wonderful

    way to satisfy your cravings for sweets without sugar.


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    Do

    you have a question about Stevia?



     


     



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