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Stevia: Alternative Sweeteners Review
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Stevia: Natural, Low Calorie Sweetener

What can I say about stevia? In a word, Stevia's great! Okay, two words. Liquid Stevia added to plain water (or plain sparkling water if you'd prefer) adds an incredible sweetness; toss in a splash of juice or flavoring you've got instant sugar free drink in whatever flavor you want (Root Beer is my favorite).

Because the FDA won't allow Stevia to be sold as a sweetener (it's sold as a supplement only) there is no standardization regarding the sweetness. Update: Cargill has received FDA approval to bring Truvia to market; Truvia being their own stevia based sweetener. Surprisingly, as of January 2009 the FDA has still not approved stevia for food so how some companies can market it and others cannot is a curious situation.

Using too much Stevia may create a licorice-like flavor which some people do not like, so unlike cane sugar, where you can always sprinkle in a bit more, use a very light hand with Stevia. Once you find a brand you like, and know the quantities to use for your recipes, stay with that brand and you'll be happy. Here is my list of resources for Stevia and other sugar free sweeteners.

Experiment with your recipes or try one of the cookbooks listed below.

Cookbooks for Using Stevia, Xylitol, Splenda and other Sugar Substitutes

Dry Ingredients to Wet Ingredients

Most recipes are no problem, except baking. When you bake the bulk of the dry ingredients to the amount of liquid or moist ingredients is what makes the magic happen! You can't simply substitute a few teaspoons of Stevia for a half cup of sugar and expect the same results.

This is where learning to use Stevia can get tricky but it's worth it for the savings in calories, not to mention health. Diabetics can safely use Stevia (check with your doctor) for example as it does not raise the blood sugar.

One way to combat the dry vs liquid problem is to add polydextrose -- a corn derived powdered bulking agent, then simply add your sweeteners.

Combinations of sweeteners seem to have a synergistic effect (where two is sweeter than either used alone). Using three types has an even greater synergistic effect. Make notes in your cookbook so you'll know what measurement to use next time.

For recipes and instruction on using Polydextrose and Stevia (not to mention other sweeteners such as Sorbitol, Xylitol, etc.) visit the Low Carb Friend's Forum where you'll find some genius "no sugar" recipe gurus and experimenters. This is where I learned to combine sweeteners and other rules of the low sugar road.

Stevia Links:

Cooking with Stevia, online Stevia Recipes (not as easy as having a cookbook on the counter, but a good start for experimenting)

Emperor's Herbologist natural health and Beauty Products. (This site appears to be gone, sorry). Vast resource on stevia. Emperor's Herbologist is based on tradition and science with JAJA SteviosideT: Most Pure Stevioside.

The Bitter Sweetener Battle Vegetarian Times, July 1998, by Linda and Bill Bonvie: Describes the great lengths the US FDA has gone to keep this innocent and potentially lifesaving plant out of the kitchens of Americas.

Stevia Leaf - Too Good To Be Legal?

Stevia Cookbook Banned by FDA. Nothing better than a good old fashioned book banning, but why such fear over a plant? Especially one which could change the lives of thousands of diabetics?

More Resources for Sugar Substitutes >>
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Kathryn Martyn M.NLP
Kathryn Martyn Smith, M.NLP EFT Weight Loss Coach
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