Stevia is all the craze these days and rightfully so. It is perhaps the healthiest alternative to sugar and other sweeteners currently on the market. Stevia rebaudiana has been used for hundreds of years to sweeten foods and the good thing is that it is all-natural. The sweetness derives from naturally occurring glycosides which are extracted via the leaves. I choose stevia as my go-to sweetness option whenever possible for baking, but I still prefer to get my fix in the healthiest way possible through fruits. Regardless, if you are cooking and/or baking, stevia is the best option aside from honey, especially as it is more versatile.
There are some things to consider when using stevia though, so we have compiled a list:
1. Stevia is not always "all-natural"
In order for Stevia to have a decent shelf-life, companies will often include additional ingredients. For instance, Truvia contains erythritol and rebiana while Pyure contains dextrose. So be careful when selecting the right stevia source.
2. Sugar is blander than Stevia
Despite exhibiting zero calories is estimated to be 200 times more sweet than regular sugar. So, yes, it is more expensive, but you do not have to use as much.
2. Stevia replaces sugar in baking
As most recipes still call for conventional sugars and sweeteners, the amount of stevia to replace the amount is somewhat of an experiment. Some stevia products will give conversion rates, but these are not always accurate and everybody has different tastebuds.
3. Stevia comes in granules, powder and liquid
Stevia comes in drops (like peppermint extract), powder that is less grainy (like confectioner's sugar) and a granulated option. Once again though, sweetness intensity changes with each different product and each brand.
4. Sugar is not calorie-free
You are ditching those empty calories in sugar, but Stevia there is no direct evidence that it stops you from craving sugar and/or reducing hunger.