Q.  What is Stevia?
A.  Stevia is a herb.
Stevia rebaudiana is a small shrub in the same family as lettuce, chicory and chrysanthemums.  It grows wild in Paraguay and Brazil.  
Stevia was "officially" discovered in the late 19th century by Dr.  Moises Santiago Bertoni.  He was given samples of the plant and he reported that "one small piece of the leaf will keep the mouth sweet for an hour".  He named the plant Stevia Rebuadiani Bertoni in honor of a Paraguayan chemist name Rebaudi.  Bertoni found that the Guarani Indians had been using stevia to sweeten bitter teas and as a sweet treat.  Science later discovered that the glycoside substances in stevia leaves, including the steviosides, account for this plant’s incredible sweetness.
Q.  Is Stevia Safe?
A.  Yes.
Stevia is a natural product with centuries of usage since pre-Columbian times by natives in Paraguay with no reports of side effects.  Rigerous research in hundreds of trials internationally have proven stevia to be completely non-toxic for both human and animal consumption.  Stevia has been consumed in massive quantities (Thousands of tonnes annually) for over 40 years.
Q.  I have heard that stevia has side effects?
A.  Science has proven Stevia to have no side effects.
Stevia has been widely used in Japan since 1970 and there have been no reports of toxicity or other side effects.  It has been thoroughly tested under rigorous conditions through hundreds of clinical and lab trials and found to be completely safe.  Stevia has been extensively used around the world for over 40 years with NO reports of stevia overdose or toxicity.  
Q.  How Sweet is Stevia?
A.  Stevia's sweetness depends on the particular form you are using.
Sweetness of the crude leaves from the stevia plant and leaf powder (green) varies from 10 - 15 times sweeter than sugar (but with a bitter aftertaste).  Stevia concentrates (white powders or liquids) can be 100 to over 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Not all concentrates are created equal so read the product label and literature to ensure what you are buying is 100% pure stevia and determine its sweetness level.
Q.  How can Pure-le Natural's Stevias have no aftertaste unlike other brands?
A.  Quality and purity.
Our concentrated Stevia powder is the highest grade available.  It is 100% pure stevia with no added fillers.  Lower grade stevia concentrates add fillers to reduce their costs.  It is these fillers which have an unpleasant aftertaste.  Our concentrated liquid contains no alcohol or glycerine (fillers commonly used in Stevia liquids).  These additives are responsible for the distinctive aftertaste in some brands.  Pure-le Natural Stevias are amazingly sweet, have a glycemic index of zero (0) and are free of any aftertaste.
Q.  What are the benefits of Using Stevia?
A.  Studies have shown the following benefits from using Stevia in your diet.  
> Sugarless with no calories  
> Will not affect blood sugar levels (neither up or down)  
> 100% Natural  
> Up to 300 times sweeter than sugar
> Heat and freezer stable (ideal for cooking, baking and freezing)  
> Non-fermentable  
> Flavour enhancer  
> Plaque retardant Anti-caries (prevents cavities)  
> Recommended for diabetics  
> Non-toxic
> Extensively tested in humans and animals with no adverse effects.  
No other sweetener can match this list of stevia’s benefits.
Q.  Where is Stevia Grown?
A.  Worldwide.
Originally stevia grew wild in Northern Paraguay and Southern Brazil.  It was later cultivated as a sweetener until the introduction of sugar cane.  Today Stevia is grown worldwide from Asia to South America, Europe, India, the Ukraine and even Canada and the United States.  
Q.  What are the types or forms of Stevia?
A.  Stevia is available in both raw herb (green) and concentrated extracts (white powder and liquids)


Q.  Does Stevia have the same qualities as sugar in cooking?
A.  Almost!
The molecular structures of sucrose and Stevioside are completely different.  Sugar, when heated will liquefy and caramelize.  Stevia will not.  Some sweets, like caramel, and glazes are not possible, yet, but most other sweets like cookies, ice cream, and fudge are possible with a little tinkering.  
Q.  Will Stevia break down in heat like saccrines or aspartame?
A.  No!
The stability of stevia is one its best properties.  Stevia is heat stable and can be safely used in cooking and baking without altering its taste or texture.  Items made with stevia can be frozen without any change in stevia’s taste profile.  So it can be used in almost any recipe.  
Q.  Will Stevia feed yeast in baking as sugar does?
A.  No!
Stevia is non-fermentable and therefore will not act as a food source for yeast.  (This is why stevia is great for anyone on a cleanse or suffering from Candida!) Breads will still rise when baked but just not as big.  
Q.  Why is Stevia just coming onto the market?
A.  Stevia has been around for a long time in North America.  
Studies on stevia go back to the 1950's but the U.S.  sugar industry fought to prevent the use of stevia in the United States.  Today, the manufacturers of artificial sweeteners have lobbied the FDA to prevent its approval as a sugar substitute.  The situation is so bad that 60 Minutes, in 1997 aired a report on the tactics of artificial sweetener manufacturers when dealing with the FDA.  
Q.  Why don’t I see diet soft drinks sweetened with Stevia?
A.  The answer is simple: Money!
The diet soft drink market is huge, worth billions of dollars and the manufacturers of artificial sweeteners are not about to share that market.  They lobbied the FDA to stop the use of Stevia as a food ingredient thereby protecting their market.  Artificial sweeteners are patented and those patents guarantee big profits, where Stevia is a natural plant that cannot be patented and it can be grown by anyone anywhere.  In Japan, where artificial sweeteners are banned, stevia is found in numerous products, including virtually all diet soft drinks.
Q.  What does the Kosher certification of your Stevia indicate?
A.  The quality of our products.
The symbol COR 18 inside a circle on Pure-le Natural products indicate that the raw materials and production of our products are supervised and inspected by a Rabbi to ensure they meet strict kosher standards.  This ensures that the final product has been isolated from other items avoiding possible cross contamination from any other item.  In addition to the benefits to the kosher-minded consumer this is an additional quality assurance of our products.
Q.  Who Kosher certifies your products?
A.  The Kashruth Council of Canada headed by Rabbi Levin out of Toronto, ON, Canada.
The Kashruth Council of Canada is one of the most prestigious kosher agencies, with some of the most rigorous standards for qualification.
Q.  What is a glycemic index rating?
A.  The glycemic index shows how foods affect our blood sugar.  
This index measures how fast your blood sugar increases after eating.  A GI value tells you only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar, the lower the GI number the better.  All Pure-le Natural Stevias have a glycemic index of zero (0) indicating that they cause no rise in blood sugar.  
Q.  Are all Pure-le Natural Stevia products gluten free?
A.  Yes.  
People wishing to avoid gluten or those intolerant to gluten can use Pure-le Natural Stevia products freely.
Q.  Is any of the equipment used for the production of Pure-le Natural Stevia products also used for the production of products with animal derivatives?
A.  No.
Our kosher and parve certification prohibits us from using any animal products or by-products on the same equipment as Stevia.
Q.  If I am taking a prescription or over the counter medication will there be any interactions between Stevia and my medication?
A.  There are no reports of stevia and medication interactions.  
In fact stevia is used to sweeten some medications.  However, if you are concerned you should always consult your health care provider.
© 2003 Pure-le Natural, Barrie Ontario Canada
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