Saturday, June 13, 2009

Informed about Stevia

I recently took my Granola Mama-ish-ness to a new level and bought some Stevia powder. Stevia is from a plant, commonly known as sweetleafsweet leafsugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter aftertaste at high concentrations.

With its extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-sugar food alternatives. Medical research has also shown possible benefits of stevia in treating obesity and high blood pressure. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate controlled diets. (Wikipedia)

I bought a 16oz. container of  Stevita spoonable powder from Puritan's Pride. I read tons of reviews and finding just the right blend of Stevia is essential or there is a bitter aftertaste to it. You can use it to sweeten anything. I was mainly interested in it for baking since I have been deprived of sweets for 5 long months. Most reviewers suggest using the Stevia powder along with a reduced amount of regular sugar to get the flavor we expect in a dessert. I adapted a recipe for a berry crumble and it turned out divine -- divine I tell you! Or perhaps I haven't had sugar in 5 months I am no judge, but in any respect, my family ate it and didn't know the difference with a whole cup of sugar missing from the recipe.

Topping, mix together and refrigerate:
6 TBS melted butter
1 cup flour (half whole wheat and half white)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup flour (half whole wheat and half white)
1 TBS wheat germ
1 TBS flax meal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Stevia or Stevita powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened or apple sauce to reduce fat
Enough black berries (frozen okay) to cover top

Mix filling and spread into a 9x9 greased baking dish. Top with berries and crumb topping. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cut into 16 squares.

The above recipe has 6 grams of sugar per serving, down from 14. I try to stay below 10 grams per day, including fruit sugars, to feel good. The average American consumes about 20 tsp. of sugar per day, or 80 grams of sugar. It isn't hard to do when you realize a can of pop can have as many as 40 grams of sugar and a little container of fruity yogurt has almost 30 grams.

You can find lots and lots of information about Stevia with a google search. There is even a website. If you use Stevia, I would love to hear your tips and tricks. It seems like such a great alternative to refined sugar.


Alyce said...

That's cool! I use Splenda a lot for my coffee, and drink Diet Rite (which has splenda, no caffeine or sodium). I haven't heard of Stevia before. Is Stevia considered superior to Splenda as a sugar substitute?

I just checked some of the regular foods I eat, and was shocked at the sugar content. Who knew that a serving of milk had 12g of sugar? I sure didn't. (I know - lactose - I just didn't think about it.)

Michal said...

i have been wanting to try stevia in baking and this looks like a great recipe to try out. thanks!

Kelly said...

I have stevia dried herb but have yet to try it in a powder, I really want to try baking with it, kinda hard to grind the herb enough! Remember when Karen spoke at MOPS and said cinnamon capsules at wal-mart are really good at stablizing sugar levels? Well, this morning I took some after pancakes and I didn't have to pay for it as bad later, I thought of you. I think next Sunday I'll sprinkle some cinnamon on the boys' and see if it helps the after chruch crash. That is so great that you can do natural sugars now, does that mean you can have fruit!?!

Kellie said...

Yay for dessert! I'm sure any sort of baked good would taste pretty good after 5 months of deprivation. I think I've heard of Stevia before but it was a long time ago when I was still in high school and working at Baskin Robbins. The cake decorator lady was all about it.

Lindsay said...

I like Stevia, too. I haven't used it much for baking yet, but your recipe sounds good. And I couldn't belive how much sugar is in yogurts, either! I've actually compared and yogurt almost always has more sugar than ice cream! Crazy!

Kelleigh said...

Pretty cool! I'd love to see some more recipes! Maybe I'll actually buy Stevia some day and try it out!

Sara said...

You poor sugar-deprived girl! Even with the nausea and vomitting, I don't know if I could have the will power to stay away from sugar as well as you have! I'm glad you have found something to aid in your sugar-cravings. =)