Stevia… Some Sweet News

Stevia is a sweet extract from the stevia rebaudiana herb, nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar, used primarily in South America, Japan and slowly becoming more popular in the US. Stevia has been tied to weight loss and lowering uric acid levels, as well as presents itself useful in diabetes, high blood pressure and heartburn treatment.

Extracted from the stevia leaves, the rebaudioside crystals, also termed rebaudioside A, or rebiana, exist as a great alternative to man-made artificial sweeteners. For sweetness, stevia can be used in coffees, teas, baking, and has been used for diabetes treatment in Japan.

In addition to this sweet ingredient, stevia, like all plants, contains a number of non-active compounds that add to the health benefits with few side effects, so it’s important to be educated when purchasing stevia. Refining and manufacturing any plant or herb into a marketable product could negatively affect its natural health uses.  Continue reading “Stevia… Some Sweet News”

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Safe Sweetener Guide

We finally had some nice weather this weekend, and all my 2-year-old wanted was a popsicle. I could have been prepared and made some with fruit juice the day before, but I hadn’t, so I headed to the closest grocery store so he could have his fix (okay, maybe I wanted one, too). I could not believe how difficult it was to actually find a brand that did not have artificial colors, sweeteners and flavors! One brand proudly boasted “NO ARTIFICIAL COLORS” in big red letters, and on the bottom of the box in tiny letters it said, “Contains artificial flavors.” WHAT!!??!!  Even worse, when I read the ingredients, the second item was sorbitol, a sugar substitute that has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome and other similar gastrointestinal conditions.  I thought to myself, why do they need to add all this garbage to something obviously targeted towards kids? Continue reading “Safe Sweetener Guide”

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    Paula Gallagher
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November 2020
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