Note the question mark in the title…the old adage says that anything that seems too good to be true, usually is, so is this the case for Stevia, heralded as the 'miracle sweetener'!? Well, in order to rationalise this and make a decision on the effectiveness and validity of this product, you’ve only got to look at the nutritional breakdown, which incidentally… is nil.
So a sweetener with no nutritional value, nil calories, no carbs and is 300x more sweet than sugar…that has to be a positive thing right? The theory is this… Stevia is a ‘natural’ sweetener derived from a leaf, it has been used for centuries in Paraguay and Brazil, and does not have the term ‘artificial’ attached to it in any way meaning it is received far better by the general public! Stevia is less refined and the only processing it undergoes is when the leaves (similar in nature to regular tea leaves) are steeped (soaked in boiling water), separated and purified to produce the sweet component known as steviol glycosides. The processing involved is a stark contrast to the manufacturing processes necessary in the production of manmade substances such as aspartame or saccharin.
To conclude that Stevia or any sweetener is the single best way to sweeten the food and drink we consume is not completely substantiated, however in the short term these sweeteners do reduce calories, carbs and do not cause a glycaemic spike meaning they may be better for the acute management of some conditions such as Diabetes or heart disease. However, if a naturally derived sweetener can deliver what the artificial alternatives can, then it stands to reason why Stevia is now added to protein supplements, foodstuffs, drinks and ergogenic aids, and why its sales have risen exponentially over the last few months!
It is a little pricey, but it may well be worth the investment.