Stevia is notable no calorie sweetener which is widely used. Unlike other sugar substitutes, stevia is derived from a plant. The stevia plant has a long history of use as a sweetener in South America.
The stevia plant is part of the Asteraceae family, related to the daisy and ragweed. Several stevia species called “candyleaf” are native to New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
But the prized species, Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni), grows in Paraguay and Brazil, where people have used leaves from the stevia bush to sweeten food for hundreds of years.
Today, Stevia is part of the sugar substitute market.
The purified extract of Stevia is called Rebaudioside A (a.k.a. Rebiana or Reb A). Reb A is 200 times sweeter than sugar and does not raise blood sugar.