Have you heard about Stevia?

Stevia is an awesome natural non-caloric sugar substitute available at your local health food store. And it packs 200-300 times the sweetness of sugar, so you don’t need as much. And you can use it in all your baking!

My next question is, have you heard of the dangers and side effects of Splenda? I recommend you read an article titled: Sugar Substitutes and the Potential Dangers of Splenda. The author, though very careful to remain objective, likens Splenda to pesticides. Scary.

Here’s some more info on stevia from the article. Incidentally, stevia has been used successfully in Japan for more than twenty years now.

“We’ve known about stevia in the US since 1918, but pressure from the sugar import trade blocked its use as a commodity. Today stevia is slowly gaining steam as a sugar substitute, despite similar hurdles. The FDA has approved its use as a food supplement, but not as a food additive due to a lack of studies. Stevia can be used for anything you might use sugar in, including baking. It is naturally low in carbohydrates. You can buy stevia at most health food stores and over the web. There will always be those who have a sensitivity to a substance, but based on reports from other countries it appears to have little to no side effects. For women who want to move through their cravings for sugar without artificial chemicals, stevia is a great option.”

For people on no-sugar diets, or for diabetics, or for anyone who wants to be more health-conscious–this is valuable information!

So, have you heard about stevia? If so, please tell us what you think…

For more info and The Stevia Cookbook, visit this stevia website!

41 thoughts on “Have you heard about Stevia?”

  1. You’re welcome, Colleen. You might want to do your own research, because there are a lot of differing opinions on Splenda. My cousin emailed me when I sent her the above link and said two scientists that she’s friends/family with tested Splenda in their labs and found nothing harmful, not even when heated, etc.

    I’m very wary though, on using artificial “foods” when something like stevia is available, and all natural. Who knows what twenty years from now will be known to cause cancer, etc.

    My aunt recommends xylitol over stevia, she says it’s much tastier, but tends to have a laxative effect if you have too much of it! I think xylitol is mentioned in the article I linked to…

    Anyway, interesting subject!

  2. Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll look it up, and see if it’s available at our health food store. I’d really like to find a substitute for sugar, esp this time of year. My oldest has had a runny nose for a couple months now. Seems like she just gets back to normal and catches another virus, or something. I’ve been keeping her off sugar as much as possible, but she’s got such a sweet tooth!

  3. That is so interesting! I had heard of stevia before but had no idea what it was!! It would be perfect for my husband’s strict diet! (I think…I still would have to check with his diet “plan” to make sure)…Have you been using it lately in your baking?

  4. Geri, the only time I’ve ever tried Stevia was at a friend’s house in my cold tea…and it was great! It only took one drop (it’s liquid) and it was as sweet as I usually like my tea (1 heaping tsp of regular sugar). I’ve been meaning ever since to order some, but I was somehow thinking I’d have to buy it online and hadn’t yet. Found out it’s available at my health food store, so if I buy some soon I’ll update on how we like it. It’s kind of expensive but it’s true that a little really goes a long way.

  5. Hi, new to your blog, love it. I order Stevia from http://www.wholesalesupplements.com. I get the NOW brand, powdered extract and the liquid. It’s less expensive than the health food store. Every few months they have a “free shipping” sale which is great. I make a drink several times a day with lemon or orange or grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed into a glass) a couple dashes of stevia, then fill up the glass with water. Yum, and it helps keep my body alkaline (a cancer fighter.)
    Cena

  6. Wow that’s interesting! Thanks for the info. And I would love to hear if you like using it Mary! I saw some at the grocery store (not in our small town but when we were visiting my family we had to stop and shop) and I had to buy sugar…so I wasn’t sure whether to get that or sugar. I went with the sugar (I tried Organic golden cane sugar just to see how it compares with regular white stuff and it is actually really great!) but would like to try stevia if I can find out more…I still nurse and since it comes from a herb (I think that’s what it said on that site) I’m a little hesitant about it just in case…

  7. Cena, thanks so much for the link and details! That’s just what I need, from someone in the know! And your homemade drink just made my mouth water! I’d love to learn more about how alkalinity helps with being cancer free! I knew that adding fresh lemon juice to your drinks, etc, kept one alkaline, but I have SO much to learn in that area! Thanks again, for letting us know about this site and the sales!

    Geri, I have yet to order it, but I’m following the link Cena provided to check it out. :) Have you done any research on nursing and stevia? I’d think it would be healthier for you and the baby than sugar, but you’re right to be cautious.

  8. Mary, sorry that I sent you to my daughter Jessica’s blog without warning you…I began the blog, posted about once every two months, and she loves to write…so…We sort of share it now. I’m a homeschooling mom of 10 children, living in the country in north central California. I have one graduate so far, Jessica, and seven students, and two preschoolers.
    I got to your blog because someone gave me some Amish friendship bread starter, and I was googling for info. I’m thrilled about feeding it about once a week and using it when it’s convenient to bake. I also found the armchair cooking website that had some fun recipes for the starter, so I’m going to do it without the pressure of finding so many “friends” to give the stuff to! I’m going to give the information you wrote about the starter to friends who are starting to drop off the starter like zucchini in August, drop it and run.
    I’m enjoying reading some of your past articles.
    Cena

  9. OK…when I google for info. all I came up with is this:

    “One of my clients has been using stevia as a sweetener during pregnancy and now breastfeeding. Her infant is 4 weeks old and has a weak suck and is very sleepy. The mother’s milk supply seems to be dropping. I am interested if the stevia could be affecting the baby’s responsiveness or the mother’s milk supply (though that is likely just lack of stimulation). Has any research been done on stevia in breastfeeding – or pregnancy? When I google it, I get the full range of opinions from totally safe to don’t use it, but nothing documented. Many thanks!”

    Melanie Young
    IBCLC, LLLL

    Tom Hale Ph.D.
    Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 – 08:55 am:

    “Melanie:

    Stevia is an interesting story, and I’d suggest you go to Google and read the conflict between the FDA and the herbal industry over this “sweet” product. There are “suggestions” that Stevia, which is 300 times sweeter than saccharose in one report, cannot be advertised as a “sweetener” because of FDA regluations. I don’t know if any of this is true…but it makes good reading.

    As far as its safety in breastfeeding mothers, we simply have no data. It does appear to be virtually nontoxic and nonmutagenic…and it has been used for many centuries in South America as a “sweetener”. Therefore I really doubt its a problem.”

    Tom Hale Ph.d.

    So it seems to me it’s one of those things you can take your chances but it’s still a new thing so no one is certain. But at the same time in South America it says they have been using it for “many centuries”.

  10. Cena, no problem! I enjoyed my visit to you and your daughter’s blog! I so admire you! A homeschooling mom of so many blessings! Very glad to have you and your input here!

    Isn’t that the truth about Amish Friendship Bread? I think that’s the number one complaint, trying to find enough friends or enough ways to use up all the starter! I really like the easier AFB, it works for me! Glad you found me through it, and I’m going to have to look up the armchair cooking website, it sounds familiar. What a great name…lol.

    Thanks for the new link to the supplement site, I’d followed your original one and didn’t find anything about stevia!

    Geri, great info, I’m so glad you c&p’ed it here for future reference. I’d think the thing to keep in mind is that it’s 200-300x sweeter than sugar. If you didn’t overdo it, I’d think you’d be fine. I probably would only use it in drinks, personally, since I drink a lot of green tea and lemon water. I’m going to have to find some recipes on how to use it in baking. Seems that would be pretty tricky…

    Guess I could stand to spare a batch of starter to experiment with stevia!

  11. Lol…yeah I think it would take a few trial and error cooking tries to get the measurement adjustments right (especially for me!). I agree with you on the drinks. I think it would be great in lemon water and green tea because I usually add a spoonful of sugar or honey to mine.

  12. Well…I’ve been using Stevia for several years now. Was using it during my last pregnancy and nursing. I know of no harmful side affects of it and it has been used for centuries and it is a plant. I would rather go with that than what the FDA says is okay!!! They have cleared so many drugs, etc. that actually cause cancer and so many other ailments. Don’t even get me started on that one! LOL

    Anyway, Stevia comes in liquid and powder form and I even have a catalog that sells it by the entire plant and you can use the leaves like you would peppermint or spearmint. I want to try it that way. Sunrider sells it in liquid form and I’m fairly sure they promote it as also having anti-bacterial properties. My mother has a cookbook on using Stevia rather than cane sugar. Have wanted to try that also…just haven’t had a chance yet. I have a couple places where I can get Stevia in the powder form for baking and it really isn’t that expensive considering how little you use compared to cane sugar to get the same sweetness level. Half of a teaspoon size packet really sweetens a 32 oz. bottle of tea and I like it so much better!

    Anyway…just thought I would share. 😉

  13. Thank you! I am glad to hear that you have had no problems with it! And I agree about a herb being better than sugar…seems more natural to me. The cane sugar is awesome…I highly recommend it! No “fake” sweetness. It’s not overly sweet but sweet enough to enhance flavour. I use the same amount in my morning coffee as the regular white stuff and it tastes so much better (sometimes with the white stuff the sweetness would over-power the coffee flavour to me anyways!).

  14. Deborah, I’m so glad you weighed in on this subject, since you’re the one who first introduced me to stevia! I also would love to try the cookbook…maybe should put it on my “wish list”…lol, as if hubby would ever be able to find it, I’m not sure he’s ever darkened the door of a health food store!

    Geri, Deborah is one of my best IRL friends. She’s taught me so much about health, natural foods/remedies, etc. If she says it’s safe, I couldn’t trust anyone’s word more than hers!

  15. That’s great thanks! We were in town at the health food store yesterday and I found stevia and was explaining it to DH…he was so un-inspired. He’s a little old-fashioned so anything new takes awhile before he decides to try it out. LOL…I should have just thrown some in the basket when he wasn’t looking! But I will give it some time till he’s asking me “what was that sugar stuff again?”

  16. My dh would be the same way…”what’s wrong with the real stuff again?”

    I rarely get to the health food store, so I like the idea of ordering it from the site Cena mentioned, or from Sunrider. But I’ve got a couple of homeschooling purchases to make and since I have real sugar in the cupboard, it may be a while…can’t wait though!

  17. Yeah me too. Since we had just bought a bunch of the “organic cane sugar” and the stevia is a little pricey (even though you use less) I thought I would hold off a bit. Do you order books for your little ones on-line?

  18. I do buy most of their school curriculum online, used if I can find it. I’ve been looking for a grammar supplement to our lang/arts and found Grammar Ace, which sounds really good! Plus, we’re done with what I was using for science, so I’m venturing into a search in that area. I’m liking Apologia and the one put out by Answers in Genesis. Which one to choose???

    :)

  19. Wow that’s great you do so much to help them. In our area we had a home school curriculum set up for us and the books and everything (I think it was $100) was all provided. My Mom never had anything to do with our work but I wish she did more like what you do with your kids. I actually don’t remember much of even seeing her then…my sister and I would pack a picnic lunch (picnic being all the junkfood we could find without getting caught!) and then go out into our backyard. We had a bunch of bricks that had been left in our yard from the previous owner and we had shaped them into what looked like a “mini-castle”. So we would sit in our fort all day eating, playing with the neighbor’s dog, playing, “accidentally” knocking over a wall so we could rebuild and redecorate our fort…doing pretty much anything but schoolwork. It was great times though and my sister and I have never been closer than we were back then. For that fact alone I would love to homeschool my children…DH just needs convincing though! As long as they were in tons of activities and socialised through Church and stuff I don’t see why he wouldn’t though.

  20. Oh…and thinking of this brings back sooo many memories!! We would have to go to the Hospital (a few blocks away) to drop off our work in the mailbox there to get sent away to be marked. Biking was the fastest way to get there but we couldn’t bike with the huge envelopes we would have so we found some of my Mom’s old wire flower baskets that she was no longer using and hung one off each handle bar….we must have looked hilarious to anyone who passed us by but we though we were ingenious! Then we would always go to the hospital gift shop, where they sold 15 cent boxes of candy and load up for the afternoon.

    And one other time when we were out in our fort we had brought out a huge bag of my Dad’s home made smoked salmon (my Dad rarely would make it himself but when he did it was unbelievably good and we weren’t supposed to pig out on it). We ended up sneaking off into the bushes with our lunch to eat there and forgot the smoked salmon in our “castle”. When we got back the poor neighbor dog was going psycho…she was absolutely wired running like crazy all over the yard. And in the middle of the yard was the bag of smoked salmon torn allover…She must have loved it because she was so energetic. I can’t remember how we explained that one to my Dad…

  21. Oh no…your poor dad after all the work he probably put into that! YUM, I love smoked salmon…grew up on the west coast in Oregon, and some of my dad’s church members kept us supplied with all those goodies. I actually fixed baked salmon today, a rare treat for my mid-western family…but the girls just love it.

    There are soooo many ways to homeschool! I love the freedom of choosing my own favorites for each subject, but it takes more work for the parent that way, than having a ready-made curriculum package. The nice thing is you will never run out of options, it’s almost overwhelming how many homeschooling resources there are out there. My girls love to picnic too, and sometimes I let them take their schoolwork out to the hammock or on the deck to complete. Mostly we do it on the couch or around the kitchen table…then we have math on CD-Rom and Music Ace (also computer). When we’re having fun, we’re really having fun…but we have plenty of feet-dragging as well. :)

    On homeschooling, prior to having children, I’d always pictured myself sending the kids off to school and having baked treats for them when they came off the bus, but my own bus experiences were not great, and I really didn’t want the peer pressure/anti-God stuff rubbing off on my children, so my outlook began to change. My hubby, however, needed convincing! But we were surrounded at church by successful and amazing homeschooled children, so that was helpful! Then he started listening to Christian radio and something James Dobson said on Focus on the Family was what finally convinced him. And he’s kept me on track ever since!

    Our girls are the best friends EVER and it’s funny, we’ll be at someone else’s house and they play great with the other kids, but when they return home, it’s like they have to get their “sister fix” again. They have a ball together. And it means so much to me to see them rejoice with each other’s successes rather than be jealous, or to show each other genuine compassion. And I didn’t even realize these were a side-perk to homeschooling…but they definitely are.

    Btw, your fort-castle memories are awesome. I’m so glad you had the time to do those things! To have a real childhood!

  22. Yeah I was lucky. I don’t think I would have had those memories if my Mom had just sent me back to the public high school those 2 years. I had such a hard time; everyone else was just getting into their partying, dating stage and I still was reading Anne of Green Gables and wanting to play dolls. And kids that age can be so mean when they want to “fit in” so I really appreciate that my parents let me do that for those 2 years. My Dad always threatened to send us (me and sis) to this all girls boarding school run by Nuns that he knew of out East…but we always begged him not to. If we had eachother that would be ok, but I would have missed my younger siblings so much!

    Ooohh…baked salmon sounds delicious! I have a ton of fish in the freezer from DH’s grandpa that we need to use up…might have to make some this weekend!

  23. I know what you mean. My ten year old can be super mature, beyond normal for her age, but at home with her sister she still has moments as a giggly silly-head who loves playacting and playing with their herds of plastic horses, etc. Sometimes I shake my head at her antics, but I’m glad she’s not always the astute mini-adult that sometimes alarms me with her grown-up thoughts about things!

  24. My Mom sometimes complains about my younger sister (16yo) about how immature she can be at times and I always tell my Mom “be glad she is how she is…so many of her friends are out doing worse stuff so putting up with her being a little too goofy is nothing”. My Mom always agrees with me then. Poor little sister though, she misses having us older sisters there to bug and likes to bug Mom instead!

  25. I bet! It would be so hard to see your sisters moving on and leaving you “behind”…life outside the home sometimes seems so tempting at 16! It did to me…both my older sisters were married and having kids a long time before it was my turn!

  26. Geri, have you gotten on the ball yet with Stevia? I’ve been in the health food store since this conversation–blushing–and stood there trying to recall what you and I were discussing that I was going to get at my next visit! So I still have not gotten any!

  27. There is obviously a lot to know about natural laxative for children. I think you made some good points in you heard about Stevia? at Home-Steeped Hope

  28. We’ll be planting stevia in the garden and greenhouse this season for the first time, so looks like it will be an interesting experience to grow and use. We’ll keep you posted on our results.

  29. you heard about Stevia? at Home-Steeped Hope made some good points. I did a search on coffee laxative effect and found most people agree with your blog.

  30. Thanks for the information I am going to look for it next time I am at the health store and ask a few questions. I have co-worker that lectures me everytime she sees me with artificial sweeteners.

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