Guilt-free sweetness

Sugar is one of the most controversial ingredients in the modern diet.

Excessive sugar consumption can harm the body's metabolism, which can lead to increased insulin and fat storage.

Elderly people, especially, have to control their craving for sweets as too much sweets can cause fluctuation in insulin levels.

"Conventional eating habits have opened many ways for sugar to sneak into a senior citizen's diet," said Mr Navneet Singh, vice-president, Asia Pacific, at PureCircle, a producer and innovator in the area of stevia sweeteners for the food and beverage industry.

"High sugar diets are a major cause of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

"Stevia (a sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana) can replace some unwanted sweetener calories. It can cut calories from the daily diet without affecting blood sugar or insulin levels."

Natural derivative

Stevia is a small, leafy plant that was discovered more than 200 years ago in South America.

Its leaves are naturally sweet and the indigenous people used to chew them for the sweet taste and to sweeten beverages.

Today, stevia's sweetness is extracted, purified and used in foods and beverages around the world.

Its natural origin and zero-calorie and zero-fat content have made it appealing to people across the world.

Great taste

Stevia can be used in beverages, bakery items, chocolates and traditional Indian sweets. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar or artificial sweeteners.

You can use it in practically any recipe that has sugar or a similar caloric sweetener like honey or maple syrup.

Zero glycemic load

Stevia adds a delicious sweet taste without adding calories.

It is a sweetener option for people with diabetes trying to manage their blood sugar because it has no effect on insulin levels.

It has zero glycemic index and load.

Less land and water

Growing stevia allows for greater efficiencies and smaller environmental impact. This plant requires just one-fifth of the land needed for sugarcane cultivation and 90 per cent less water.

Recent studies have shown that stevia impacts less on the environment than any other naturally-sourced sweetener.

It has 30 per cent to 80 per cent less carbon footprint than sugarcane or other natural sweeteners.

Safe and tested

More than 200 studies have found that high-purity stevia extract is safe for consumption by all members of the family, including pregnant woman and people with diabetes.

Multiple major global regulatory organisations have deemed stevia safe.

It is approved as a sweetener in major markets and more than 65 countries.

Indo-Asian News Service

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