What is Stevia ?
Steviol Glycoside is an extract from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni, a small shrub belonging to the Asteraceae family, native to the borders of Brazil and Paraguay. About 200-300 times the sweetness of sugar, it contains 0 calories. It has been used for hundreds of years to sweeten food and drinks in South America and for decades in Asia. Stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate food alternatives. Besides being calorie free, medical researches has shown it to be beneficial for treating conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure. Stevia has negligible effect on blood glucose, therefore it is an attractive natural sweetener for diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
Why Stevia ?
The flavour of sweet is an inherent human weakness. However, our love for all things sweet is not without its price. A person’s average sugar usage is about 130g per day. The over consumption of sugar and lack of exercise is the cause of many illness such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In keeping with the health conscious trend of today’s market, consumers are looking for a sweetener that is completely natural while having no negative side effects to their health. Hence the interest in this exciting alternative solution : Steviol Glycosides (Stevia Sugar) Stevia also has many advantages over synthetic non-nutritive sweeteners such as Sucralose, Acesulfame-K and Aspartame in areas such as consumer acceptance and its range of use in food products.
Usage and Application
Many different uses of Stevia as sweetener are already well-known, such as table sweetener, in soft drinks, pastries, pickles, tobacco products, candy, jam, yogurt, chewing gum and sorbets. The advantages of Stevia Sugar are many. In a nutshell, it can increase food stability, prevents fermentation, discoloration and reduces “stickiness” in beverages caused by the use of sucrose. Stevia can be used and marketed as a health product as it is 100% natural, prevents tooth decay, beneficial for treating hypertension, perfect alternative sweetener for diabetics and the obese.
Mixed with other sweeteners Stevia enhances the taste and pleasantness when used with other sweeteners such as sucrose, glucose or fructose. It is suitable in replacing 40-60% of sucrose used in food products thereby reducing the production cost. Biscuits and Cookies Stevia can preserve the crispiness and crunchiness of cookies and biscuits when used in place of sugar. Preserved Food Stevia has a large molecular weight, thus it is less likely to be absorbed into preserved or canned food. This helps to retain the original taste and freshness of the food. It also prevents the stickiness and fermentation normally caused by sucrose. Chewing Gum Stevia provides a long and lingering sweetness, great for the production of sugarless gums Sauce products Stevia is used with Glycyrrhizin in soy-sauce as it harmonises with salt to give it a deeper variety of taste. It can maintain a pleasant colour even when cooked in high heat. Pharmaceutical Acts as a suppressing agent for removing unwanted flavours in medication. Feedstuff Stevia is known to improve the palatability of animal feeds, thereby reducing feeding times and improving the appetite of livestock. Alcoholic Beverages Readily dissolves in alcohol without reaction to its taste and properties...