Using Stevia for Diabetes
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Ingrida Leitis
Posted on: May 4, 1998

As a diabetic I am interested in Stevia. Do you have more information?

Rudolf Weiss, in his book "Herbal Medicine" (Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd., Beaconsfield, England) states that "The leaves of Stevia rebaudiana, known as "sweet leaf" to the Indians in Paraguay and Brazail, contain the glycoside stevioside which is said to be about 300 times as sweet as sugar. It is widely used in those areas to sweeten wines, fruit and jams."

Stevioside is not metabolized in the same way as sugar, so it can indeed be used by diabetics as a sweetener. It has adds no calories to the diet so it is useful for weight reduction diets as well.

Stevia has been marketed in many forms for years, since at least the 40s. The Japanese use it in a syrup form, much like honey. And it is quite acceptable to simply powder the leaves very finely and add to teas and baked goods. Or, one can add a few whole leaves dried or fresh to a tea blend.

Stevia has a bit of an aftertaste which some people dislike, only because they are expectant that Stevia will taste exactly like sugar. There is a Canadian company called Royal Sweet that has developed a method of removing the aftertaste, and it is expected to bring a Stevia sweetener product to the market in the future.

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