Native to South America, stevia has intensely sweet leaves that look like mint. Stevioside and rebaudioside make this popular sugar alternative up to 200 times as sweet as table sugar. They are also a source of antioxidants that help lower blood pressure and may promote cancer cell death. Stevia contains no calories or carbohydrates, and the American Diabetes Association recommends it. Since stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, you’ll need to adjust the amount you use and compensate for bulk in baking. Look for brands with high stevioside content. These tend to be sweeter, without the aftertaste.
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