SweetLeaf: 100% Natural Stevia Sweetener

SweetLeat Natural Sweetener

Award-winning SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener is unique in the marketplace because it’s America’s original stevia-based sweetener.

For natural, zero-calorie, zero-carb, zero glycemic  index sweetness, look no further. SweetLeaf™ offers a variety of sweet solutions made from stevia, a naturally sweet plant that is much sweeter than sugar. It is also completely calorie-free, all-natural, and has a zero glycemic index.

SweetLeaf® Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops™, made with stevia leaf extract and natural flavors, can be added to foods or beverages – from yogurt to oatmeal, water to coffee, sauces to smoothies – for sweet, sugar-free flavor. The drops are available in 17 flavors and come in a convenient dropper bottle. A little Sweet Drops flavor goes a long way, making every bottle an impressive, and tasty, value.

See more at: http://www.vitasprings.com/sweetleaf.html

References
 SweetLeaf (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sweetleaf.com/

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Natural Sweetener: NOW Foods Better Stevia

Featured Items

BetterStevia Organic, Better Stevia Zero Calorie Sweetener, 75 Packets, NOW Foods

Better Stevia Original, BetterStevia Sugar-Free Sweetener, 45 Packets, NOW Foods

Better Stevia Liquid – Coconut, 2 oz, NOW Foods

Better Stevia Liquid – Cinnamon Vanilla, 2 oz, NOW Foods

Better Stevia Extract Powder, Organic, 4 oz, NOW Foods

Stevia’s recent history

NOW’s founder, Elwood Richard, has believed in the herb Stevia and  its health benefits since the ’70s, when he incorporated Stevia into the  company’s growing line of affordable natural products. Back then he  knew what we all know now – refined sugar isn’t good for the human  body. He added Stevia as a natural alternative to sugar, hoped more  people would use it, and watched sales slowly grow over the years as the  negative aspects of refined sugar continued to come to light. NOW’s  Stevia sales grew steadily until the early ’90s, when an isolated study  (later proven to be severely flawed) showed that Stevia might not be safe  as a food additive. This led to an FDA ban of Stevia in the United States  that was overturned a few years later with the passage of DSHEA, or the  Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act. However, even with the  ban lifted, provisions were kept in place that prohibited the herb from  being sold as a natural sweetener, food or food additive in the U.S.

From 1994 to 2008, Stevia could only be labeled and sold as a dietary  supplement. During this time advances in science and technology  allowed researchers to present more clinically-valid evidence of the  health benefits and safety of Stevia, as well as more thoroughly isolate the  various components responsible for its unique and dynamic sweetening  capabilities. One of these components, Rebaudioside A (or Reb A) from  the Stevia rebaudiana plant, has been standardized and purified over  the years to a point that it was deemed worthy of GRAS (Generally  Regarded As Safe) status as a food additive from the FDA. Researchers  received GRAS status for Reb A in 2008, and since then the race has  been on to develop products utilizing Stevia as a natural sweetener, and  to educate the public about this amazing healthy alternative to refined  sugar and synthetic sweeteners.

Origins of Stevia

While Stevia’s recent history is interesting, the origins of its discovery  and its rise to commercial use are worthy of mention as well. Comprised  of around 240 species of herbs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae),  Stevia can be found growing wild in South America and southwestern  regions of North America. It was first discovered by Spanish scientist  Petrus Jacobus Stevus (Pedro Jaime Esteve), whose surname was used as  the basis for the Latin Stevia. In the late 1800s, Swiss botanist Moisés  Santiago Bertoni, who had immigrated to Paraguay, first documented  Stevia’s use by indigenous tribes of the country, who called it kaa-he-he.  They used it as a flavor enhancer in  their drinks and foods, and would  also chew the dried leaves for their  refreshing taste and sweetness. Bertoni  continued to study the herb until  finally publishing his findings in  1899 and naming the plant Stevia  rebaudiana bertoni. In 1921, American  Trade Commissioner George Brady  presented information on Stevia to  the USDA, calling it “a new plant  with great possibility” for commercial  cultivation, but the idea never gained  enough interest to merit further  experimentation.

Not much was heard of Stevia until  ten years later, when two French  scientists successfully isolated the active  components that give Stevia its sweet  taste: two glycosides named stevioside  and rebaudioside. These isolated  glycosides were not only 300 times  as sweet as sugar, but they were heat-  and pH-stable, and non-fermentable  as well. Just a few years later, during  World War II, Great Britain was  faced with an imminent blockade  of the British Isles by Germany and  began exploring alternative natural  foods they could cultivate to sustain  the population. Stevia was one of the  plants they experimented with, but  the region wasn’t warm or humid  enough to allow for its successful  mass cultivation, and so the British  ultimately abandoned their efforts.

Modern Rediscovery in Janpan

In the early ’70s Stevia saw its first  commercial success in Japan, when  a government ban on carcinogenic  chemical food additives forced  manufacturers to explore natural  alternatives. Southern Japan is warm  and humid enough for Stevia to be  successfully cultivated on an enormous  commercial level, and use of Stevia  as a natural sweetener in food and  beverages exploded. NOW’s founder,  Elwood Richard, heard about Stevia  around this time and was encouraged by its safety and success. By the  1990s, Japan accounted for over 40% of the world’s Stevia consumption.

Today, the advances in our understanding of Stevia have finally  culminated in its approval for use as a commercial natural sweetener in  the U.S. These same advances have helped our in-house research team  in the development of a new proprietary, full-spectrum, enzymaticallytreated Stevia we call Better Stevia™.

 

References
NOW Foods. (n.d.). Better Stevia. Retrieved from http://www.nowfoods.com/idc/groups/public/documents/digital_asset/better_stevia_health_prof.pdf

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