Stevia, which you may have seen commercially marketed in other brands of non-nutritive sweeteners, or you may have heard is used on its own as a sweetener in some products. Stevia is actually derived from a stevia leaf extract.
So you're not using the actual stevia leaf when you are consuming it, which is pretty cool. And it's naturally occurring in nature. Stevia does contain zero calories, as well as zero grams of carbohydrates. So it is considered a full-blown non-nutritive sweetener from a taste perspective. Consumers report that stevia has a mild licorice type of taste that might be considered by some to be a little bit on the bitter side.
Now from a blood sugar standpoint and digestive health standpoint, where does stevia land? From a blood sugar perspective, it has been demonstrated that stevia does not impact blood sugar levels. And it may actually improve them in a small amount.
However, while stevia is generally recognized as safe for people living with diabetes, it is often combined with substances like dextrose or maltodextrin, both of which can raise blood sugar levels. So something for people with diabetes or people watching their blood sugar to consider from a digestive health standpoint, stevia on its own has not been shown to cause any sort of gastrointestinal discomfort. However, stevia products combined with other types of non-nutritive sweeteners, for example, erythritol, may cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, upset stomach, et cetera.
A fun fact about stevia is when used in baking or cooking, stevia does not caramelize.
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