Stevia refers to the sweeteners, steviol glycosides, derived from the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant. The leaves of the plant are 30-45 times as sweet as sucrose, whereas the steviol glycosides are 250-300 times as sweet as sucrose. Highly concentrated stevia is available in powdered form, both the white extract and green powdered leaves, as well as carried in alcohol or glycerine. Other stevia-based sweeteners may contain bulking agents such as erythritol or maltodextrin along with small amounts of pure stevia.
Steviol glycosides are heat- and acidity-stable and do not ferment; they have antioxidant properties; they do not cause a glycemic response. Some studies have shown it to increase glucose tolerance and decrease plasma glucose levels. Animal studies which administered very high amounts of stevia have shown possible effects on hormone regulation and fertility, though results are not consistent.
Multiple international food safety and standards organizations consider steviol glycosides, extracted from stevia, to be safe. The bulking agents in some stevia-based sweeteners may include maltodextrins, which may be derived from corn or other allergenic substances. See: Maltodextrin.
Yogurts, vitamin-enriched drinks, chocolate, table-top sweeteners, PureVia, Truvia, powdered dried stevia leaves, uncut (pure) stevia powder, liquid stevia extract in alcohol, liquid stevia extract in glycerine
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Steviol glycosides, stevia rebaudiana, E960