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Stevia: A Natural Sugar Substitute

Friday, January 16, 2009

My two year old son is at the stage where he wants to eat any and everything that he sees me eating. It usually isn’t a problem, and I don’t mind sharing with him. One morning, however, he wanted a bite of my cereal. Since I sometimes add artificial sweetener to my cereal, I was hesitant to give him any. Some artificial sweeteners are suspected carcinogens, and I don’t always trust the FDA’s stamp of approval.

Then I started thinking. If I feel these artificial sweeteners aren’t good for him, why in the world am I putting them into my body? I couldn’t come up with a good answer for that, so I went in search of a sugar substitute that was safe for both of us. Through an internet search, I found an article about Stevia, a natural sugar substitute.

Stevia is a plant, native to South and Central America, known for its sweet leaves. The native peoples in these areas have been safely using the natural sweetener for hundreds of years. Stevia has also been used as a zero-calorie sweetener in Japan since 1971. It has become very popular there, and now accounts for 40% of the sweetener market.

The history behind Stevia made it a good choice in my mind, and, after more research, I decided to give it a try. Since it has only recently been approved as a food additive, I found it with the dietary supplements at Wal-Mart. It was $1.50 or so more than the same size box of artificial sweetener, which I was definitely relieved about (prices on the internet were a little higher than that). The next morning, I used a packet of the newly acquired sweetener in my coffee and cereal. I couldn’t taste a difference.

I have now been using Stevia for several months, and am happy that I found an alternative to the artificial sweeteners. There is a little bit of a taste difference, but in most foods and drinks you can’t even tell. The best part is: I don’t have to worry about sharing my cereal with my son any longer.

If you are interested in learning more about Stevia, check out the websites I used as references for this article:
http://www.womentowomen.com/nutritionandweightloss/splenda.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia

1 comments:

Leslie Lim said...

Thanks to the writer of this article. I appreciate your effort in making this informational blogs. I know it's not easy to do this but you have done a really great job. Congrats. I'm pretty sure your readers enjoying it a lots.


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