Stevia Flavour


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Stevia Flavour

Postby teaguru » Dec 15th, '08, 19:28

Hello all!

I've heard some pretty intriguing things about Stevia, aka Sweetleaf, and I wanted to see what everyone had to say about it.

What's the flavour like? Is it comparable to sugar? Is it a natural sort of flavour? I know it's supposed to be very sweet, but I'm hoping that it doesn't taste like aspartame.

If I decide to buy it, I'll be getting it in loose leaf form, not powdered or extracted. So if anyone could let me know how they like Stevia, and if they could give any input regarding its flavour, it would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
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Postby kymidwife » Dec 15th, '08, 22:31

I am so NOT a stevia fan.

I've tried it in both liquid and powdered form, and I intensely disliked both... wanted to like them, but I didn't. Both forms smell and taste a bit like licorice to me... that flavor is more noticeable when it's in undiluted form and gets more subtle when mixed with tea or whatever you're sweetening... but in generally, my opinion was BLECH. I would rather go unsweetened or have a teaspoon of nice natural sugar than stevia or any other artificial sweetener.

Sarah
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Postby omegapd » Dec 16th, '08, 04:29

Weren't there a bunch of health problems associated with stevia? I think it wasn't even sold in the US years ago because of some FDA ban (that apparently has been lifted now, I guess).

I've never seen it in stores or used it, though.
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Postby teaguru » Dec 16th, '08, 11:30

omegapd wrote:Weren't there a bunch of health problems associated with stevia? I think it wasn't even sold in the US years ago because of some FDA ban (that apparently has been lifted now, I guess).

I've never seen it in stores or used it, though.


Yeah, that's always confused me...

The FDA banned Stevia in the US, but allowed it to be purchased over the counter as a dietary supplement. And while the US has been banning it, pretty much all of South and Central America as well as Japan has been using this stuff for hundreds of years, with no adverse side effects.

Many people (including myself) believe that the FDA chose to ban it because they were afraid it would affect the US's sugar industry. The same thing is going on with aspartame as well (the FDA came out saying that aspartame caused brain damage before it was actually proven). I think that Stevia is completely safe, and while there has been some research regarding the health effects of Stevia, there hasn't been any concluding evidence actually saying that it's harmful.

But the ban must have been lifted, since I saw a commercial for Stevia crystals on TV last night.
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Postby Bob M. » Dec 16th, '08, 12:39

teaguru wrote:But the ban must have been lifted, since I saw a commercial for Stevia crystals on TV last night.


I also saw a supermarket display mid-aisle in the baking section this weekend, so it's definitely back.

When I want a sweetener, for health reasons, I use low glycemic agave, which is pretty sweet, so you have to get used to measuring carefully. While it's pricey in regular shops, Trader Joes sells it for $3 an 11.75 oz. bottle, the same bottle/company go for $5+ in most stores.

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Postby Intuit » Jan 4th, '09, 12:01

Stevia doesn't raise glucose levels by its use, making it an ideal sweetner for the vast majority of population that are smokers or overweight/obese and are prone to developing diabetes.

Stevia also curtails excess insulin release from pancreatic islet cells. This is the cause of insulin resistance, a precursor to the diabetic state. It doesn't induce hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), unlike the highly popular glycemic control drugs peddled to prediabetics, diabetics and PCOS (polycystic ovarian disease, a subset condition of Metabolic Syndrome) patients.

Stevioside, the compound class in Stevia extract that is responsible for it's exceptional sweetness, has been shown to reduce blood pressure in animal models and controlled study of patients who have mild hypertension. However, the effect is more pronounced if more than one BP control treatment mode is employed (eg, regular aerobic exercise, cease smoking, alongside dietary changes and Stevia use).

Stevia was officially removed from the banned list in 2008, however - you could easily purchase it from about 2004 on, as evidence of its many medical benefits began to surface in the technical literature. It was probably banned by the FDA due to lobby activity from industry (sugar and pharmaceutical).

If you buy small quantities of the fully processed extract, its expensive, but not as bad as it was several years ago. Its even more costly if you purchase the diluted form in water, in a dropper bottle. It's often diluted with plant derived complex carbohydrates as a bulking agent so that it can be put into ready-to-pour packets.

If you tried a Stevia product that is green in color, its the crude extract from plants. That has the licorice flavor and leaves a bitter aftertaste. This crude extract is recommended for baking, but when I tried it, it still had the objectionable flavor.

Stevia can be purchased in bulk for reasonable price (as low as $60/kg).
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Postby neowolf » Jan 8th, '09, 00:37

Stevia is one of the best sweetener alternatives I've ever tried that doesn't have any sugar. Though the taste is definitely not a perfect sugar analog at all. One of the main reasons sugar is my preferred sweetener in tea when I want to sweeten it is because it doesn't really bring anything other than additonal sweetness to the flavor. However stevia works more like honey, in that along with sweetening it carries it's own taste, like a very mild licorice. I do find that it goes nicely with some teas though, much like honey. (Rather nice in a mint!) Though at this point I rarely sweeten my tea unless it's meant to be sweet or iced.

That being said, again it's a bit weird. The sweetness is almost delayed. When you drink tea sweetened with it the fact that it's sweet seems to hit your tongue well after you've tasted the tea, and it's aftertaste lingers which you may find pleasant or unpleasant depending on your own personal tastes. It's definitely different but you just might like it.
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Postby teaguru » Jan 12th, '09, 20:45

Hi everyone! So I bought some stevia (4oz of the loose, unprocessed leaf), and I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised! It's much sweeter than I thought it would be, and I'm not tasting any bitter or licorice flavours. I gave a leaf to my mom without telling her what to expect, and she was blown away by the sweetness!

I don't know how long it will take us to go through this bag of stevia (4 oz is a lot of stevia!), but when we finally run out, I know that I'll be buying more!
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