Although I believe that you are already familiar with the enormous benefits and goodness that Stevia has on your overall health, for the sake of clarity, let’s talk a bit more about its different types. Stevia is a herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family, which means it’s related to chrysanthemums, ragweed, and marigolds. The most prized variety of Stevia is Stevia rebaudiana, which is is the cultivar used for the production of edible stevia products. In today’s blog post, we’ll go through the three main categories of stevia.
Green Leaf Stevia
This kind is the least processed one of all stevia types – the leaves are ground and turned into powder form. Green leaf stevia has been used in Japan and South America for centuries as both a health remedy and a natural sweetener, and today, stevia Australia users absolutely love it as well! This unprocessed version of it is more than likely to contain a combo of rebaudiosides and steviosides. Mind you, green leaf stevia is about 10-15 times sweeter than ordinary sugar, so pay attention to the amount you use when cooking.
Purified stevia extracts are more processed than the above-mentioned green leaf stevia, nevertheless, it seems like the health benefits of this kind are equal to the ones of its unprocessed counterpart. This is actually rebaudioside A which makes it safe even for people who have diabetes. Based on FDA standards (which were set back in 2008), these extracts have to contain more than 95% pure rebaudioside A glycosides and should not contain other forms of rebaudiosides or steviosides in order for them to be legally marketed as food.
Altered Stevia Blends
This turns out to be the least healthy option of stevia when compared to the above-mentioned two. By the time that a product like this one reaches its way to the supermarkets (or wherever it may be sold), very little of the stevia plant remains in it. To make up for this loss, some companies use certain processes to create these blends. However, they usually include chemical solvents which are toxic to the central nervous system (such as acetonitrile), and a GMO corn derivative which is known as erythritol. Many altered stevia blends and purified stevia extracts are reported to be about 200-400 times sweeter than table sugar.
Bottom line is, stevia Australia consumers need to be aware of the fact that using whole stevia leaves or purified rebaudioside A has some pretty great health benefits. However, the same benefits may not hold true when it comes to the altered stevia blends that contain very little of this extraordinary plant.