An Introduction to Stevia Extract

 San Antonio TX. The Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant has been used by the Guarani people from South America to sweeten beverages and as medicine for centuries.

The Global Stevia Institute (GSI) says that the steviaplant’s leaves contain different sweet tasting components, scientifically called steviol glycosides. There are many different kinds of steviol glycosides, but 10 of them are most abundant in a typical leaf: Rebaudioside M, Stevioside, Rebaudioside A, Rebaudioside B, Rebaudioside C, Rebaudioside D, Rebaudioside F, Dulcoside A, Rubusoside, and Steviolbioside. Each of these steviol glycosides has its own unique taste profile and sweetness intensity and each can be anywhere from 200 to 350 times sweeter than sugar – but all without the calories.

According to the GSI, to release their sweetness, the steviol glycosides are extracted and purified like other ingredients you may commonly use, such as cane sugar or natural vanilla extract. At the end of the process, the sweet components are the exact same compounds as the ones originally found in the leaf. This process produces highly purified stevia leaf extract.

This purified stevia extract is what is approved by major regulatory authorities for use in foods and beverages around the world. The GSI states that although crude stevia extracts or whole stevia plant leaves are often sold as dietary supplements in some countries, only high purity stevia leaf extract has been evaluated and approved for use as an ingredient in food and beverages by the world’s major regulatory agencies.

The GSI says that reason for stevia extract being zero calorie is because steviol glycosidesare poorly absorbed in the body and pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach and small intestines, fully intact. After being hydrolyzed by the gut bacteria in the colon, they are finally excreted in the urine.

Today, more and more food and beverage companies are using stevia extract to help create great tasting low-calorie food and beverage products. This powerful combination of a zero calorie sweetener with a plant-based origin, makes stevia extract different in the food and beverage world.

On the ingredient label in the different products you may find stevia extract listed in different ways: stevia, stevia extract, Rebaudioside A, Reb A, steviol glycosides and other variations depending on the country and the manufacturer. You will find stevia in more than 5000 foods and beverages including soft drinks, juices, waters, flavored milks, yogurts, baked goods, cereals, salad dressings, sauces, confections, tabletop sweeteners and more.

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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.

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