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Uncover the Secret of Stevia

I’ve said it before: Americans love sugar. In practically everything! Yet it’s a rare one of us that doesn’t know that we need to cut back, and for some of us, maybe even avoid it altogether. Food manufacturers have known this for a very long time. They constantly seek to meet the demands of the American taste buds while at the same time trying to follow “healthy” guidelines and standards set forth admonishing us all to reduce our sugar intake. Their answer? Artificial sweeteners. They’re in everything from yogurt to flavored water, ice cream to iced tea and hot cocoa mix. But not here.

Just take a trip down the aisles of any Whole Foods Market and you won’t find ANY products containing any artificial sweeteners. These purely synthetic compounds do not exist in nature, so it’s no surprise our human bodies may be ill-equipped to handle them. Enter stevia, the sweet secret known for years by the natives of South America and eventually adopted by European colonists. The stevia plant originally comes from the rain forests of Brazil and Paraguay where it is known as the “yerba dulce” or “sweet leaf.” It’s still available in those regions, and it’s also now grown in Japan, Korea, Thailand and China where it’s commonly used. Today, the greatest use of stevia is in Japan. Stevia gets its flavor from various glycosides, particularly stevioside, which is 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. It has no calories, minimal to no carbohydrates and a glycemic index of zero, After only allowing stevia as a dietary supplement for many years, the FDA has approved the use of certain stevia extracts in food products, making way for a variety of new products to enter the market.

One such new natural sweetener, Truvia™, is turning up in conventional grocery stores as well as natural food stores nationwide. Stevia is available in powdered white or powdered leaf form, or as a liquid extract. The white powdered and liquid forms are the strongest, so start with just a pinch. You can use it in beverages, baked goods, custards, puddings, frostings and sauces. It is heat stable, up to about 400°F, so you can use it in practically any recipe. Remember that it is not sugar, and when baking, it does not act like sugar. It won’t caramelize and brown your baked goods so some recipes won’t work with stevia. Ready to try some stevia?

Start here:

  • Use it in your tea or your coffee, hot or iced
  • Add to yogurt or cream cheese
  • Add a pinch to a fruit salad
  • Stir it into strawberries
  • Add to oatmeal or other hot or cold cereals
  • Add to popsicles
  • Bake with stevia; here’s a “Stevia Info” guide to help out.

Have you ever tried stevia? Do you bake with it or use it in beverages? I would love to hear!

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178 comments

Comments

Mr .E.WILSON says …

Is stevia cheaper than sugar? Is stevia easy to grow in doors and should I give it water and plant food or just water.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MR.E.WILSON - Our prices for Stevia versus other sugars will differ between stores. Check with your local store to see what their price is.

Marcia says …

Do you have Stevia Tablets that are 1 tablet = 1 spoon of sugar? Many tablets equal two spoons of sugar and that's too strong for me. Marcia

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARICA - The varieties of Stevia will differ between stores. Check with your local store to see what sizes they have in stock.

Debbie Cook says …

I've used stevia for quite some time and love it. I am trying to find out if the Whole Foods branded Stevia Extract Powder is gluten-free and have not had any luck. Anyone know the answer?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DEBBIE - I checked with our Private Label team and the powder shaker does not contain gluten ingredients. There are other gluten items made in the same facility but not on the same line. Since there is gluten in the facility, it is not verified as gluten free.

elizabeth says …

is their a recipe book out their on baking with stevia. even better low fat ,high fiber and stevia recipes. i have a pancreas problem and need to be on this diet. i am told vegetarian is best .doing the best i can but want to broaden my meal selections. if their is a company that bakes or cooks like this i would really appreciate their info. i am alone and cooking big portions are not ideal. my family is grown. i do freeze meals, but need help on my new journey. thanks.

Frances Barnes says …

Hi. I am looking for Stevia chewing gum. Does your store in Memphis, Tennessee carry any?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@FRANCES - Our exact product options differ between stores. I would suggest checking with Memphis directly to see what they have in stock!

Monique Rene Coates says …

Hello - I love your Stevia and have used it for years due to my brain being allergic to artificial sweeteners. That is how I discovered it. Unfortunately the last 10 years of my life have not been too wonderful, and I have been, thankfully, given the SNAP program recently once gain. As of this month, Oct 2014, I tried to purchase a box of 100 packets of 365 Stevia for $6.99, and my SNAP card rejected it at the register. Whole Foods mgmt said it was the state SNAP program that took it off of the "eligibility list." However . . . . I contacted the USDA SNAP program directly, and to make a very long story short, they said that Whole Foods decided to make the product a "supplement" vs. food / nutrition, thus not eligible for SNAP. The packaging was suddenly changed in the Rhode Island stores this month as well, so it does make sense. I also suggested that the UPC on the box was inadvertently made an HBA product, but Whole Foods mgmt insisted it was the RI State regulators at SNAP. Why would you not let Stevia remain a "food product" for those of us on SNAP who need or like to eat healthier?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MONIQUE - Have you been able to check with the store to see if any Stevia products are categorized under the Grocery department?

Kristi Kelly says …

Please tell me your 365 French Vanilla Stevia packets will be back on your shelves! It is a superior product that is dearly missed.

Marc David Weintraub says …

Aloha from Oahu,Hawaii, I tried packet type stevia from a local grocery store and I thought it was awful, I'm a coffee lover and have used all kinds of sweetners from cane sugar to the pink packet stuff, the blue packet stuff, and splenda which I found to be the best for my taste, I was watching Dr.OZ on a day off and he spoke of liquid stevia. Sooo, I'm gonna give it another try. Any brand name suggestions for liquid stevia ??

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KRISTI - They have not been discontinued but they are being reformulated. There isn't an eta yet but it will be back.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARK - Our exact brands of liquid stevia will differ between stores. If you live near a Whole Foods Market, just give your store a call to see what they sell and they can recommend one for you if needed!

Cheryl says …

I was surprised to find chemicals in organic Stevia products. I will be buying whole stevia leaves. Here was my resource for information: http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/25/stevia-good-or-bad/

Alexis says …

Do you sell stevia potted plants? I would love to buy some to make my own non-processed stevia extract.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ALEXIS - Our exact product options will differ between stores. Check with your local store to see if they have this in stock.

Penny says …

I purchased organic 365 stevia extract liquid 8 fl oz some time ago. I live in Olympia, Wa, and would like to know how to buy this product in liquid and powder form on-line. Please respond with these instructions. P.s. Any word of a time frame when Whole Foods will be coming to Olympia? Thanks much. Penny G.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PENNY - We do not currently offer online ordering but we do have a store in Austin that can ship non-perishable products within the US. You can give them a call directly at 512-542-2243 and they can help!

Ursula Miller says …

Where in Las Vegas can we purchase All natural flavors, basically water with fruit flavors and sweetened with styvia? We bought some at one of our neighborhood stores but they were sold out in such a short time that now I can't find it anywhere. Please advise, Sincerely, Ursula Miller

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@URSULA - Check with your local store directly to see if they have this product in stock. If you know a brand name they can check if they carry it.

Nancy says …

Have a hard time finding stevia- 365 everyday value. It's the only stevia that I could get use to after 3 tries. If you have tired other stevias and can not take the after state try this band, you'll love it.

Dawna says …

I use stevia in my coffee and tea daily. I have also made baked apples with it.

Steve says …

Stevia is a great sweetener for tea and iced tea. I've ben drinking it for years. It's a pity Whole Foods stopped selling KAL stevia powder (still available at Amazon). The KAL product is far superior to the Whole Foods 365 house brand stevia powder. The 365 takes about 3 times as many scoops as the KAL to sweeten. (KAL needs about 1 heaping scoop on the tiny spoon they ship in the jar for one large cup of tea.). taste is fairly similar between the two products, but KAL is more convenient and ultimately less costly.

Rosie says …

After reading the article Uncover the Secret of Stevia I am curious as to where the stevia leaves in the named countries are processed into the liquid and powder form. Second question - if Truvia and other forms of stevia are adulterated, which filler does your body recognize as a whole food?

Michelle Valenti says …

After purchasing SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener from your store, before using it, I found out that it includes Silica which is a synthetic material. You know those little packets of balls you find in packages of items you buy, those packeages say to throw it away? Well, that is Silica!! So, it may be organic, however, it is synthetic!! So, Whole Foods needs to look into their products a little more! It's no better for you than artificial sweeteners!! You need to sell Whole Leaf Stevia with no other ingredients added!

Stan says …

Is there ice cream made with Stevia instead of sugar?

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