Stevia: What is it and is it good for you?

Do you want a natural sweetener that is calorie-free and doesn't raise blood sugar or insulin levels? Try Keto Approved Stevia.



It can be hard to find a sugar substitute that is Keto-friendly with the perfect balance of sweetness and zero carbs. Stevia is an excellent choice for people who are on a Keto diet because, unlike artificial sweeteners, it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels.


This zero calorie sweetener has been around since the 1970's but it has only recently become popular in the UK due to rising obesity rates and recent studies linking sugar consumption with various health conditions such as diabetes.


What is Stevia?


Derived from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana, and also known as Candyleaf, Sugarleaf or Sweetleaf, it's a 100% natural sweetener that has been used in South America and Japan as an herbal sweetener for centuries.


An alternative to processed sugars, it now it can be found in most grocery stores in the US and has become increasingly popular here in the UK.


Used as a sugar substitute, and often mistaken for an artificial sweetener, Stevia is one of the top 7 sweeteners used in the UK.

  • acesulfame K

  • aspartame

  • saccharin

  • sorbitol

  • sucralose

  • stevia

  • xylitol

Knowing which Stevia products to buy can be challenging, so I’m sharing with you my favourites.

30 Tried and Tested Stevia Products Available in the UK for 2021.


Let's start with powders. Probably the simplest form of Stevia, powders are easily dissolvable, making them ideal for use in hot and cold drinks. A tiny amount packs a sweet punch, so pay attention to how much you use.


Stevia Powder can be used in cooking and baking, but you have to adjust recipes to take into account the lost volume of sugar. A better alternative for baking is a granulated product, which has the same texture as sugar in recipes.


NKD Living 100% Pure Stevia Powder is one of those products where my initial reactions was “How Much??!!” I was really surprised at how little you get - 25g - for the money. It wasn’t until I read the label that I realised 1 teeny tiny gram of this = 470g of sugar!


Supplied with its own little spoon to measure 1g, the fine powder formula really is potently sweet.

Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks, Smoothies, Shakes, Yoghurt, Fat Bombs, Baking.


Sweetleaf Natural Stevia Sweetener Powder comes in a handy 155g shaker, perfect for your kitchen counter. You simply shake to dispense, so no bothering with spoons. It can be easy to over dispense though, so shake gently to avoid over sweetening!


Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks, Smoothies, Shakes, Yoghurt, Fat Bombs, Baking, Over Food.


Granulated Stevia products tend to be blended with the sugar alcohol Erythritol, which looks and tastes exactly like real sugar. Blending the extreme sweetness of Stevia with the texture of Erythritol gives the best result for baking, making this the most popular Stevia choice for Keto baking.


Truvia Granulated Stevia is an Erythritol & Stevia blend that I have been using for years, having first discovered it in the US. Whilst I use very little sweetener now - after 5 years on Keto my taste has changed - this was my go-to product.


The granulated formula has the same texture and crunch of sugar, making it an ideal sugar substitute for spooning and sprinkling, and gives good texture in baking.


1/3 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon of sugar Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks, Smoothies, Shakes, Yoghurt, Fat Bombs, Baking, Over Food.


This is similar in texture to Canderel Sugarly - a blend of Erythritol and Sucralose, another Keto friendly sugar substitute.

If you are mainly sweetening drinks, shakes and smoothies, Stevia Drops are a popular choice. The choice of flavours available is quite varied, from caramel to cola!


Some of my favourite Stevia drops come from NICKS. 10 fun flavours to add instant flavour and sweetness. Choose from Chocolate, Coconut, Almond, Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Lemon, Raspberry, Strawberry, Spearmint and Vanilla.


Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks, Smoothies, Shakes, Yoghurt, Fat Bombs, Baking.


I've used the fruit flavours to make a simple fruit flavoured jelly, as I find the normal sugar free jellies - which contain Aspartame and Acesulfame K - spike my blood sugar.

SweetLeaf Sweet Drops Liquid Stevia Sweetener comes in 15 funky flavours. Pure flavoured Stevia, not blended with any other sweeteners, these are a little pricy compared to other brands, but worth it for the variety. Not all the flavours are available here in the UK, but I found Coconut, Cola, Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry, Cinnamon, English Toffee, Grape, Hazelnut, Root Beer and Valencia Orange, You can also opt for the natural unflavoured version.


British based NKD Living produce a wide range of Keto friendly sweetener solutions aimed at our growing sugar sensitive population.

Try NKD Living Pure Stevia Liquid Drops 50ml in this Golden Milk Recipe

(courtesy of https://www.nkdliving.com/):


Ingredients (serves 2):

2-3 cups Milk of choice

5-10 drops NKD Living Stevia Liquid

1 1/2 tsp. ground Turmeric

1/4 tsp. ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground Ginger

Pinch ground Black Pepper

Pinch ground Cardamom

1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract


Method:

1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (use 2 cups of milk for a sweeter, more spiced drink or 3 cups for a milder version)

2. Shake the mixture well and pour over ice into two serving glasses.



I found these similar in taste to the Good Good Sweet Drops of Stevia but the NKD Living drops are a fraction cheaper, so more budget friendly.


With 5 flavours in the NKD Living range - Caramel, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Strawberry, and Vanilla - you can pep up plain yoghurt too!


Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks, Smoothies, Shakes, Yoghurt, Fat Bombs, Baking.


Carrying around a bottle of Stevia Drops is not always practical, so having an easy to grab alternative is essential.

Super convenient for travelling, at the office or generally on the go, Truvia Granulated Sweetener Sachets can be a life saver. I get fed up of not finding Keto friendly sweeteners in coffee shops and these are so easy to tuck into your bag or pop in your pocket. Each sachet contains 2g = 2 teaspoons of sugar.


Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks on the go.


Also great for on the go, Good Good Sweet Stevia Tablets are a blend of Steviol glycosides and Erythritol. These slow dissolving tablets come in a dispenser for an easy dose. The dispenser can be a bit stiff, so be patient when clicking them out, but I’d prefer this to a loose mechanism and a bag full of sweetener tablets - yes, it’s happened to me a number of times over the years!


Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks at home or on the go.



NKD Living Pure Stevia Sweetener Tablets contain 98% Stevia blended with Erythritol. They claim to have no bitter aftertaste, and for me that was true, but that can depend on your taste receptors. A little cheaper, as they are blended, but they do the job just as well.


Good for: Hot & Cold Drinks at home or on the go.


What are the benefits of Stevia?


If you're on a Keto Diet, or just trying to cut back on sugar and carbs, it can be hard to find something that gives the sweetness you crave, without the side effects of sugar.


Stevia is such a versatile sweetener, available in many formulations - granulated, powder, liquid and drops. It can also be found as an ingredient in many products where a lower sugar content is desirable.

You won’t have to worry about your blood sugar spiking, having an upset stomach or feeling bloated after eating something that contains this natural sweetener. It will help you feel good about what you're putting into your body while still enjoying delicious food and drinks.

  • It's calorie free

  • It’s carb free

  • It's gluten-free

  • It won't spike your blood sugar levels like sugar will do

Is Stevia good for you?

Whilst it has no medicinal qualities, Stevia can be considered as good for you because it can help reduce sugar intake, which is beneficial to overall health.

Reduced sugar intake is beneficial for:

  • Weight loss

  • Feeling less hungry

  • Burning stored fat

  • Reducing the risk of Diabetes

  • Heart health

  • Increased energy

  • Skin health

  • Bone and joint health


Will Stevia kick you out of Ketosis?


Unlike other natural sweeteners - maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, or honey - Stevia does not stimulate an insulin response or raise insulin levels. It’s glycemic index of zero means it will not kick you out of ketosis.


Are there any side effects of Stevia?


Some people report a somewhat bitter or minty aftertaste. This is caused by the reaction of your taste receptors, which detect both sweet and bitter tastes. The response of these receptors is different for everyone, so it’s worth trying as you may not get an aftertaste at all!


Stevia is often blended with sugar alcohols - mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol - which can cause digestive distress. You can avoid this by looking for pure Stevia products.

Excessive consumption may lead to other conditions dangerous to health, but with the FDA recommendation of 4mg per kilo of body weight, this seems unlikely, so there is no reason to believe Stevia is bad for you.


Is Stevia the best sweetener for a Keto Diet?


Stevia is generally considered to be the best all round sweetener for a Keto Diet.

Stevia vs Erythritol


Erythritol is a naturally occurring polyol (sugar alcohol), but it can also be easily manufactured from the fermentation of glucose. It's been around since the 1990's and is often found blended with other sugar substitutes, such as Stevia, or as an ingredient in low carb or sugar free foods.


It is absorbed quickly by your small intestine and flushed quickly from the body - within 24 hours - so it doesn't have any energy value and has zero calories. Erythritol is safe for diabetics as it doesn't affect glucose or insulin levels.


Erythritol looks just like sugar, white crystallised granules, and can be used as a direct sugar replacement for cooking and baking. However, some people find sugar alcohols upset their stomach, cause bloating and gas, and may even have a laxative effect. For this reason, Stevia can be a better alternative.


Stevia vs Xylitol


Naturally occurring Xylitol is extracted from Birch Wood, and is used in medicines for ear infections. It is also included in some toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum for its ability to reduce the bad bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay.


Xylitol can be used in cooking and baking, but it won't break down and caramelise like sugar, and it is commonly regarded as not being as sweet as sugar, meaning you may need to add more volume to recipes, or purchase a product blended with a sweeter ingredient, such as Stevia.


As it's a sugar alcohol, like Erythritol, it can affect your digestion in the same way, so some people can't tolerate it.


It should also be noted that Xylitol is toxic to dogs.


Stevia vs Sucralose


Sucralose is a zero calorie sweetener manufactured from sugar. Around since the late 1990's, it is 600 times sweeter than sugar! Most commonly known from its inclusion in SPLENDA®, where it is actually just 1% of the ingredients. SPLENDA® is a zero calorie sweetener, but it has 0.5g of carbs per teaspoon, so is not regarded as a good swee