What is stevia and where does it come from?

Stevia is a common name for the zero-calorie sweetener that is derived from the stevia plant. Stevia is a plant of the Chrysanthemum family, and its leaves have been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years. Extracts from the stevia leaf have been available as dietary supplements in the U.S. since the mid-1990s, and stevia sweeteners have been permitted for use in foods since 2008. Like all low- and no-calorie sweeteners, stevia may be used to replace sugar and reduce calories in foods and beverages while maintaining sweetness in products that consumers expect.

How sweet is stevia?

Stevia is approximately 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, so only a tiny amount is needed to give a sweet taste.

What foods contain stevia?

Stevia sweeteners may be found in a variety of foods and beverages around the world, including reduced-calorie beverages, bread, tea, and yogurt. Stevia is also available as a tabletop sweetener.

How can I know if stevia is in my food?

Like all ingredients added to food, stevia sweeteners are included on the ingredient list of all food and beverage products that contain it.

Are there any known allergies to stevia sweeteners?

There are no known allergies to stevia sweeteners.

What’s the difference between stevia and steviol glycosides?

While the word “stevia” refers to the entire plant, only some compounds of the stevia leaf are sweet. These sweet components are called steviol glycosides, and each steviol glycoside has a particular taste profile and sweetness intensity.

Rebaudioside A and stevioside are the most abundant steviol glycosides in the plant and usually comprise the majority of the steviol glycosides in the sweetener preparations, either combined or individually. The specific steviol glycoside composition depends upon the composition of the harvested leaves, which, in turn, are influenced by soil, climate, and the manufacturing process.