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Where Does the Sweetness of Stevia Extract Come From?

San Antonio, TXStevia extract is a zero-calorie sweetener of natural origin based on the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to South America. Its leaves are naturally sweet. In fact, the indigenous people chew them for their sweet taste and use them to naturally sweeten beverages.

The Global Stevia Institute says that Stevia rebaudiana contains the sweet-tasting components, scientifically called steviol glycosides, which can be anywhere from 200 to 350 times sweeter than sugar – but all without calories.

Rachel Cheatham, PhD, Executive Director of GSI explains that as Stevia rebaudiana is a natural plant, there is some variability among its components and some steviol glycosides may be sweeter than others. “So we look at the leaf and we figure out which steviol glycoside is really delivering the right kind of sweetness for a certain product that we want to develop and we isolate that particular glycoside,” she says.  According to studies, the steviol glycoside with the best sweetener properties is rebaudioside A (Reb A).

Nowadays the best-tasting option among stevia extract sweeteners is Svetia® Calorie -Free Sweetener, made with cane sugar as bulking agent or carrier and Reb A (97% purity) as high intensity sweetener; it does not contain calories or artificial ingredients and it meets the Food and Drug Administration’s criteria for no-calorie foods (less than 5 calories per serving).

The purification process of stevia extract, according to the GSI, includes the following steps: The dried leaves are steeped in water in order to release their sweet tasting steviol glycoside compounds –among them the rebaudioside A (Reb A). Next, the liquid is filtered and separated from the plant material. Then the extract is purified and dried to obtain high purity stevia leaf extract with the same sweet components as found in stevia’s natural leaves. These components, the steviol glycosides, are what food and beverage manufacturers use in their products. This process of purifying the glycosides gives stevia a more sugar-like taste compared to unprocessed crude stevia extracts. Importantly, the crude extracts are not approved for use by Food and Drug Administration.

The GSI states that steviol glycosides are poorly absorbed in the body and pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach and small intestines, fully intact. After being metabolized, it is excreted in the urine. Several research studies have shown there is no accumulation of stevia extract in the body during metabolism. This is why stevia extract is zero-calorie.

Use Svetia® Calorie -Free Sweetener in food and beverages. It can reduce added sweet calories to lower total caloric intake without sacrificing taste in a wide variety of foods and beverages.

You can find Svetia® Calorie -Free Sweetener in all Heb supermarkets across Texas or online at


SVETIA® Calorie – Free Sweetener is made with cane sugar and stevia extract. One packet of SVETIA® contains only one gram of carbohydrates. People with diabetes are advised to check with their registered dietitian or physician.



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