If you're trying to lose weight, you'll need to cut down on sugar. But that can be a tough challenge if you have a sweet tooth. Fortunately, though, there are some low-calorie alternatives, including stevia, a recent arrival on the shelves. Here are the details, in case you're not familiar with this sweetener. It could be the ideal solution for you.
Sweet and natural
Stevia is even sweeter than sugar, but here's the miracle - it's calorie-free, so it's ideal for slimmers. It's natural, too, being an extract from the green leaves of the stevia plant. It was first used as a sweetener by an ancient community in South America.
More recently, the Japanese caught the idea, and just within the last decade, it has been approved for use in the U.S. and beyond. It's now catching on fast with slimmers and healthy eaters as a satisfying alternative to sugar.
Healthy and handy
Stevia has many other advantages as a sweetener, besides being natural and calorie-free. It contains no sugar, so it won't rot your teeth or cause hyperactivity. It's also fructose-free, which is good news if you're on a low-fructose diet.
It's also light as a feather, making it convenient for carrying home from the grocery store. In appearance, it's pure white, like sugar, so you won't stand out when you drop a spoonful in your coffee. On top of all these plus points, it's super-sweet - even sweeter than sugar.
Prices vary for stevia products but tend to be dearer than equivalent sized packs of sugar. On the other hand, you won't need so much stevia per serving, as it's sweeter, so the pack will last longer. You'll find it packaged under various trade names, such as Truvia, Natvia, and Sweet Leaf. Most are presented in a finely granulated form, though a liquid version is also available.
Being a very light substance, stevia is normally combined with a calorie-free bulking or crystallizing agent to make it more substantial. No notable health risks have been found with stevia in any of its presentations, though some products warn of laxative effects when consumed in large quantities. In fact, it's positively good for you, since it helps you keep slim and fit.
Good for coffee and cakes
As for use, stevia is as versatile as sugar. You can stir it into your coffee and whisk it into your cake mixture. Once you've added it to your food or drink, you can bake, boil or microwave it, just as you can with sugar. Enjoy it how you like as you watch your weight drop. Incidentally, it's also easy to wipe away, having no sticky or crumbly element.
The flavor of stevia is not as crisp or immediate as that of sugar; you could even find it a little too bland for your palate. But if you're partial to a mellow flavor, stevia will be ideal for you. Otherwise, keep your servings modest - you won't need much, anyway - and if you're cooking with it, add in a shake of ginger or cinnamon for bite.
It's not surprising that stevia is becoming such a hit, with so much to commend it. You'll find other low-calorie sweeteners on the market, too, so check them out as well for good measure. One thing's for sure, though - you can quit the sugar and keep the pleasure.