Everything You Need to Know About Stevia

Everything You Need to Know About Stevia

Everything You Need to Know About Stevia

Known for its intense natural sweetness and the fact that it doesn’t contain any kilojoules, stevia is a clever plant from Paraguay found in quite a few of your favourite drinks.

So what exactly is stevia? 

  • The stevia plant is in the Chrysanthemum family.

  • There are hundreds of different species of stevia plant, but only one, called Stevia Rebaudiana, contains natural chemicals that make its leaves taste sweet.

  • Once stevia leaves reach their peak sweetness, they are harvested and dried. 

  • To create the sweetener, the dried stevia leaves are soaked in water, filtered, purified, drained and crystalised until only the sweet-tasting molecular compounds remain.

  • The finished ingredient is a sweetener that can be used in combination with other sweeteners like sugar to make great-tasting low or no kilojoule beverages, a win for health-conscious consumers trying to eat a balanced diet.

  • These sweet components of the stevia plant are known as steviol glycosides, and are responsible for the sweet taste found in sweeteners.

  • Stevia helps keep kilojoule counts down because it’s 200 times sweeter than suga, which means a little goes a long way.

  • You can cook and bake with stevia. Just be sure to consult a sugar-to-stevia conversion chart to make sure you’re using the right amount.

  • Stevia is available as a granular powder, a liquid extract, and even as small pellets that you can drop into your tea or coffee.

Get to the root of the stevia plant extract, and how it's used to sweeten some of Coca-Cola's drinks.

Want to know more? Read the Quick Guide to Sugar Substitutes.