Published: 02/19/2015 - Updated: 03/08/2020
Author: Prof. Dr. Luis Ruiz-Garcia, PhD
Nature has a remedy for everything: and it’s true. No detail has been overlooked. How could she ever give us a healthy sugar, with health benefits that also helps weight loss and doesn’t have any calories? Well…here it is. Stevia. You might have already heard about this little plant, which has been known of since Ancient Times. It was used to sweeten drinks, by soaking its leaves in a liquid to be drank.
Benefits of Stevia (the best substitute for white sugar)
- It is an irreplaceable substitute for people that want to lose weight.
- Does not contain any calories and is great at sweetening.
- This plant has craving-reducing effects, and reduces the insatiable need to eat, as well as frequent chocolate, fat, etc., consumption.
- Stevia regulates insulin, which is why the body stores less fat.
- Its effect in the hypothalamus regulates satiety.
The part consumed:
The leaf: it has the ability to sweeten 35 to 45 times more than sucrose, which is the primary component in white sugar. The big difference, however, is that this is a natural and unprocessed sugar, and the leaves can be eaten fresh either in an infusion or as an ingredient in meals.
How is Stevia consumed?
You can consume it in an infusion, salads, water, pastries, soups, etc. It is a very versatile plant that can be combined with other foods. Some businesses that are health aware use it to sweeten food. Today, there are already beverages sold on the market that are sweetened with stevia, which is why we recommend you drink these beverages instead, which are much healthier than those that contain white sugar. A very beneficial juice for weight loss consists of extracting the juice from 7 carrots, one branch of stevia and celery. Place everything in the extractor and drink without straining, making sure to salivate well. Drink daily. To sweeten your water, boil a piece of this plant in the water you’re going to drink and then, once the water is sweet, add a piece of fruit and blend. Remember not to mix fruit juices with meals.
Why is white sugar harmful?
White sugar comes from sugar cane, which has a lot of wonderful health properties. However, when it is refined, this sugar looses all of its dietary properties and becomes practically toxic to the body. The only thing it does is provide harmful fats that accumulate in the body. Refined sugar also deteriorates the nervous systems, steals calcium from bones, and generally steals minerals from the entire body. It also destroys teeth and creates indigestion (fermentation in the stomach), when combined with other foods. White sugar, as we already know, also creates a lot of dental problems, like cavities.
This plant tastes very strong at first, and lasts a lot longer than common sugar. Some varieties could have a bitter taste in high concentrations.
Stevia is a perennial plant (it doesn’t die in the winter). It is native to subtropical and tropical regions in South America, Central America and Mexico. There are several varieties located in North America, in areas like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. One of these most commonly known varieties is Stevia revaudiana, and is native to South America. It has been and continues to be cultivated to be used as a sweetener, as well as a medicinal plant from the Guaraní town, for at least 1500 years and for an indeterminate period of time, by other populations in Brazil and Paraguay.
This plant has been used by indigenous Guaraní peoples (Paraguay) for hundreds of years, as well as in southern Brazil, as a sweetener in yerba mate. It was also consumed in several tribes to control female fertility, which is to say, as a contraceptive. But in order for this to work, the plant needs to be taken in very concentrated infusions and for prolonged periods of time.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 03/08/2020
About the author