25 June 2019, Tuesday | 05:09pm

Sugar substitute: Sweetness without the guilt


It’s common knowledge that consuming too much sugar leads to negative effects on our health. It can cause a spike in blood glucose, obesity and metabolism issues that can potentially bring on major diseases, such as diabetes.

However, if you have a sweet tooth and enjoy a daily dose of dessert or the occasional sweet drink, you can now do so without the guilt.

Enter stevia, a sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. Primarily grown in Brazil, Paraguay, Japan and China, this plant is part of the sunflower family and has leaves that are naturally sweet.

This natural sweetener tastes 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has long been used by the indigenous people of Paraguay, who chew on the leaves for their sweet taste and also use them to naturally sweeten their beverages.

Having been used for hundreds of years, today the use of stevia in food and beverages is backed by science. Over 200 scientific studies support the safety of high-purity stevia extract used in food and beverages.

Research also indicates that when consumed, the human body does not metabolise the glycosides in stevia.

With stevia, you don’t need to use as much to achieve the level of sweetness you get from sugar. Half a teaspoon of the sweetener (about 2g)  is equivalent to the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar (about 8g).

Despite stevia’s sweetness, there’s a lower risk of cavities developing in your teeth or gingivitis. As a natural sweetener, stevia is low in calories and thus it’s a good replacement for sugar, and helps in maintaining a healthier weight and lifestyle.

It’s also suitable to be consumed by those with diabetes or high blood pressure. Increasingly, more companies are turning to stevia for their food products and beverages due to less sugar and fewer calories.

You may notice a reduction of sugar and total calories per serving for many products. In fact, over 5,000 food and beverages worldwide currently use stevia as an ingredient.

If you’re concerned about the effects of sugar consumption and would like to find a natural alternative, stevia sweetener is your option. Making the switch to this natural alternative would help gear you towards a healthier lifestyle.

Remember, you are what you eat. So make the best choice in the interest of your health and well-being. Choose to enter the new year with a healthier brand of sweetness.



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