Sugar Substitutes: Reasons to Include Stevia in Your Everyday Foods and Beverages

When it comes to food, sugar is one of our biggest enemies. Not only do we consume it through desserts, coffee and tea, but also through a variety of store-bought products. Once you stop to read the label you will realize that you’re ingesting tons of sugar day after day – which can’t be good for you. Besides being among the biggest causes for obesity, studies also link sugar to obesity and heart disease.

Today we have multiple natural alternatives for sugar that add extra sweetness to your foods and drinks, while some of them also come with a range of health benefits. The most popular natural sugar substitute on the market is stevia.

What is Stevia?


Stevia is a sugar substitute that derives from the stevia plant. This is around 100 to 300 times sweeter than regular sugar and contains no carbohydrates, calories or artificial ingredients. It exploded in popularity in the mid-1980s as a natural sweetener for beverages and weight loss blends. Today there are various products that include stevia in different forms – from the low-calorie liquid stevia drops to powders.

What are the Different Types of Stevia?


Depending on the level of processing, you can find stevia in three forms:

  • Green leaf stevia: This type of stevia is the least processed one. It’s 30 to 40 times sweeter than regular sugar and is slightly bitter, which is why many people avoid it.
  • Stevia extracts: The extracts are less bitter than green leaf stevia and are 200 times sweeter compared to sugar.
  • Altered stevia: The altered stevia is around 200 to 400 times sweeter than regular sugar. This is not a favourable form of stevia, as it’s highly processed and often contains GMO ingredients.

Liquid Stevia


On the other hand, depending on the form, you can find powdered and versatile liquid stevia drops. Both of these forms are widely used around the world; however, most wellness enthusiasts prefer it in liquid form.

This type of stevia is more practical and has plenty of flavour options. Instead of using hundreds of grams of sugar for your desserts, only a few drops of your choice of liquid product to add both sweetness and flavour to your creation.

On top of that, you don’t need to worry about the added calories that come with sugar. Apart from deserts, you can also use it to sweeten your beverages or even add flavour to water. With tasty vanilla stevia drops even people who aren’t fans of water would drink up!

Benefits of Using Stevia as a Sugar Substitute

  • Helps control diabetes: One of the most common uses of stevia is to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Diabetics often use natural stevia drops as a replacement for normal sugar to avoid diabetic complications. It’s also a common substitute for people that aim to control the carbohydrate intake in their diet. This allows them to eat sweet foods without worrying about diabetic complications. While sugar contains sucrose, stevia contains stevioside – a non-carbohydrate glycoside compound. When this breaks down, the bacteria in the colon absorb the glucose-containing particles, without letting them go in the bloodstream.
  • Aids Weight Loss: The non-caloric property of stevia makes it a popular choice among those who aim to lose weight and fitness enthusiasts in general. It allows you to eat your favourite home-made cookies and cakes without worrying about your figure, as you would when using regular sugar. The liquid stevia drops are also commonly used by parents who want to control the excess sugar content in their children’s diets.
  • Helps to regulate blood pressure: The glycosides present in stevia offer many benefits. They help relax the blood vessels, increase urination and help to eliminate sodium from the body. This puts less stress on the cardiovascular system and drops high blood pressure. A well-regulated blood pressure is important for heart health, as it prevents conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Possible anticancer potential: Stevia contains many antioxidant compounds. Some researchers link these to a lowered risk of cancers – especially of pancreatic cancer. Compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol and others help to eliminate the free radicals in your body, which prevents them from mutating healthy cells into malignant ones. These antioxidants prevent premature aging and help to keep your skin healthy, by preventing conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
  • May help prevent osteoporosis: Unlike sugar, a study shows that stevia can help in increasing bone mineral density. According to the study, stevia has an important role in increasing the metabolism of calcium.

Is Stevia Safe for Children and Pregnant Women?

When people find out about the various benefits of powder and liquid stevia products, they often question if it causes any harmful side effects. Health organizations imply that this supplement is safe to consume for people of all ages. They also suggest that women can safely consume it during pregnancy.

However, if they’re sensitive to sugar alcohols, they should opt for a supplement that doesn’t contain erythritol. Don’t consume whole-leaf stevia and crude stevia extracts! Scientists warn that when you take this supplement in an unprocessed form, you risk doing harm to your kidneys, reproductive system and cardiovascular system.

It can also drop your blood pressure to a dangerously low level and interact with medications for lowering blood pressure. Spice up your diet with a healthy sugar substitute that also adds more flavour to your desserts and beverages!