What's Your Opinion on Stevia

I was buying some sugar substitute and I noticed our store had a product called Stevia advertising itself as a dietary substitute for sugar. I read that it is not approved in the US as a food additive and because you can’t patent it, no company will spend money to test it to prove it’s safety.

Anyway the question I have is, to those who have tried it is, how good is it. It’s very expensive. A box of 100 packets was $11.00.

It’s the only sugar substitute I’ve ever found palatable (well, a xylitol/stevia blend) but too expensive, IMO. And if it’s the same box I got, those packets are tiny. It takes 3 or 4 of them to sweeten a little 6oz cup of tea.

Well it sweetens but to me has a distinct anise [well the licchorice whatever the hell i cant spell] taste that I find unpleasant. mrAru thinks it has a ‘green’ taste. I think he means herbalish taste.

I grow the stuff, so expense isn’t an issue. Not having tried the refined version, the leaves have an herbal taste which I find neutral, and are a good pick-me-up right off the plant. Been fiddling with using it in varied recipes, both fresh and dried, but no report at this time.( Equivalents or lack thereof are a bit of a problem.) Diabetic friends have told me they have no restrictions with it.
I hear it grows well in pots, maybe you could grow your own. It does better in acidic soil.

I suspect some proprietary formulation of Stevia could in fact be patented, but it’s cheaper and has marketing cachet with the natural foods crowd if you sell it as a dietary supplement and pretend that the F.D.A. and companies that sell existing sweeteners are blocking Stevia as part of a conspiracy.

Here’s a recent paper published by researchers affiliated with Coca-Cola detailing evidence for safety of an active ingredient purified from Stevia. I wouldn’t doubt that it will show up in food products before too long.

Health-wise (in the sense that it won’t mess with your blood sugar or cause cancer) it’s in the top two available sweeteners, xylitol being the other. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the refined version. They seem to try too hard to make it look/taste like sugar and it’s just…wrong. They have naturally growing stevia out here (India) which tastes fantastic (we’re developing a healthy-ish cookie for diabetics) and IMO, worth every penny…or rupee, as it were.

I think it tastes awful.

I think the raw, unrefined stuff tastes bad, but love the refined stuff. Specifically, Now brand. I use their liquid and it comes with an eyedropper, and find one drop is equal to one spoon of sugar. I also use the powder.

It is appearing on the market in products, as a “food supplement”, but they are careful to avoid mentioning that it makes anything sweet.

We’ve had other threads about Stevia, so you might do a search.

IMHO, it’s an acquired taste, like all sugar substitutes, but it really isn’t that bad. If you grow it fresh, you use it sort of like how you’d use fresh mint.

If you use an extract, YMMV. Some are better than others. It mixes well with citrus - like lemonade. I used a liquid extract in my coffee for awhile. Not bad, but like I said, it was a bit of an acquired taste. When people claim “eleventy billion times more sweet than sugar!” ignore that. No matter how many times more “sweet” it might be, it doesn’t taste just like sugar. You should definitely try it and see how you feel about it, though. I like it much more than artificial sweeteners. If you get a particular extract that tastes like shit, try another.

I love it in hot tea, plain yogurt, salad dressing and an assortment of other uses. I hate it in coffee. It is so bitter it’s undrinkable, IMO.