Stevia’s environmental advantages
San Antonio, TX. The Global Stevia Institute (GSI) says that according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), agriculture provides job and income for 40 percent of the world’s population. However, about 75 percent of crop biodiversity has been lost since the 1900s and yet biodiversity contributes to more wholesome diets, improved incomes for farming communities and sustainable farming practices. A sustainable agriculture systemplays a critical role in the fight against hunger, by ensuring environmental sustainability while increasing food and agriculture production. Stevia has been able to provide an important role in biodiversity because it requires little land and allows farmers to diversify their crops.
The GSI says that several reasons for stevia’s environmental advantages are associated with its natural concentrated sweetness. Because the leaf is 200-350 times sweeter than sugar, steviaonly needs a fifth of the land to provide the same amount of sweetness as other natural sweeteners, made from sugar cane or corn, would do in larger land extensions. Less land means less water and less energy. This means less environmental impact. For example in Kenya, steviais typically grown only on a third of the land, with the rest of the land used for growing other crops. With ideal growing conditions, farmers are able to harvest stevia multiple times a year.
The stevia plant grows best in environments with lots of sunshine, warm temperatures and plenty of water. It is grown by natural, conventional plant breeding methods such as cross-pollination and other non-genetically modified processes. The GSI states that when grown in the right places, stevia can be a sustainable crop for small, independent farming communities.
The GSI explains that after the stevia leaves are harvested, they are dried and then go through a purification process involving extraction, filtration and dehydration (spray drying) that complies with regulatory standards across the globe. First, the dried stevia leaves are steeped in water to release their sweet tasting steviol glycoside compounds. Next, the liquid is filtered and separated from the plant material. Then the extract is purified and dried to obtain high purity stevia leaf extract with the same sweet components as found in stevia’s natural leaves. These components – steviol glycoside – is what food and beverage manufacturers use in their products. This process gives the high purity stevia extract a more sugar-like taste compared to unprocessed crude stevia, which is not approved for use. It is this method of purification that yields the high purity stevia extracts and is what is required to obtain the safety stamp of approval from regulatory agencies for use in foods and beverages.
Be friendly with the environment and keep your body healthier by adding high purity stevia extract to your diet. It is the best plant origin, non-calorie sweeten option. You can find it in SVETIA® with stevia extract, for sale in all HEB stores in Texas.
SVETIA® Calorie – Free Sweetener is made with cane sugar and stevia extract. One packet of SVETIA® contains only one gram of carbohydrates. People with diabetes are advised to check with their registered dietitian or physician.