What Is Stevia Good For?

Super Stevia
Scientific name: Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia Nutrition Facts

Sugar is the core ingredient used to make food sweet. But while its flavor may appeal to the taste buds of countless people around the world, consuming sugar in excessive amounts is actually bad for your health.

The average American today consumes 32 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is very alarming considering that most products today use high-fructose corn syrup, which is 20 percent sweeter than standard table sugar. To make matters worse, excessive sugar intake has been linked to plenty of diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity.

In an effort to reduce the risks associated with sugar consumption, companies created artificial sweeteners that taste similar to regular sugar but supposedly do not have the side effects. On the contrary, studies indicate that these claims are untrue, as ingestion of artificial sweeteners have similar effects to sugar – and some, like aspartame, may even have more detrimental repercussions to your health.

With sugar and artificial sweeteners being dangerous to your health, what options are you left with? The remaining choice you have are natural sweeteners like stevia.

What Is Stevia?

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a sweet-tasting plant originating from South America. It has been used for over 1,500 years to sweeten the foods in South American cuisine, and was eventually introduced to the modern world in the late 1800s by Moises Santiago Bertoni, an Italian botanist.1

Commonly known as kaa-he (sweet herb) by the native people, stevia has been used in various ways aside from cooking. Examples include treatment for burns, colic and stomach problems. Sometimes, the leaves themselves were consumed directly as a treat.2 Today, stevia is one of the main options in the sugar substitute market.

How Does Stevia Compare to Other Sweeteners?

Stevia is one of the most popular natural sweeteners used today. As such, people will naturally compare it to similar products to decide which one is the best for them. If you’re unsure of how stevia stacks up to other offerings, the following comparisons may help shed light on the matter:

  • Stevia Versus Sugar

    Stevia is undoubtedly a better choice than sugar because aside from sweetening your foods, it has various potential benefits to your health. On the other hand, refined sugar, which is found in many products today, can endanger your health because excess consumption can lead to obesity and diabetes.3

  • Stevia Versus Truvia

    Truvia is one of America’s most popular alternative sweeteners. It is mainly derived from the stevia plant, but it also contains other ingredients that may ultimately compromise your health. Worst of all, it has no steviosides, which are the compounds linked to stevia’s health benefits. You’re better off using certified organic stevia extract instead.4

  • Stevia Versus Splenda

    Similar to Truvia, Splenda may actually be harmful to your health. Research has found that sucralose, a key ingredient in Splenda, has been linked to altered glucose and insulin levels in humans, as well as possibly playing a role in certain cancers.5

  • Stevia Versus Xylitol

    Xylitol is a sweetener derived from sugar alcohol (polyalcohol), which is a hybrid of a sugar and an alcohol molecule. Naturally, this makes xylitol a refined product, which means it doesn’t contain any vitamins, minerals or other beneficial nutrients.

    Furthermore, side effects have been reported, such as gas, bloating and diarrhea.6 Stevia, on the other hand, is a better option because it is naturally sweet and does not possess side effects.

  • Stevia Versus Raw Honey

    Compared to other sweeteners mentioned in this list, raw honey may actually be beneficial to your health. Research has found that it has antimicrobial properties that may help prevent infections, as well as antioxidants that can help fight free radicals throughout your system.

    Is raw honey better than stevia? The answer depends on your needs. If you’re just sweetening your food, stevia will do. However, if you need more nutrients because you’re dealing with inflammation, raw honey may help.

Potential Health Benefits of Stevia

Stevia has been extensively studied, and experts have found that it may benefit your health in various ways:7

Help Manage Diabetes

The glycosides of stevia are broken down and absorbed by the bacteria in the colon instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream. This helps prevent blood sugar spikes, which may benefit diabetics. 

Promote Healthy Weight

Stevia is a zero-calorie food, which can help with weight management in the long run. In other words, replacing sugar with stevia can lower your caloric consumption.

Help Regulate Blood Pressure

The various glycosides in stevia can help relax blood vessels, as well as increase urination to help eliminate excess sodium from the body. In turn, these actions may protect your heart by maintaining blood pressure.

Promote Oral Health

Stevia has been found to have antimicrobial properties. This can help maintain a healthy mouth by reducing your risk of cavities and gingivitis.

Help Maintain Healthy Skin

Topical application of stevia may help with skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis by prohibiting the spread of bacteria.

Help Keep Bones Strong

According to animal one study, stevia may help promote healthy bones. Researchers discovered that chickens who ate animal feed mixed with stevia had a lower ratio of broken eggs compared to chickens who consumed normal animal feed only.8

How to Use Stevia in Different Ways

Stevia is mainly used as a natural sweetener in foods that traditionally use sugar. This allows people to minimize the risks of developing diabetes-related problems caused by having high blood sugar levels. If you’re inexperienced with stevia, here are two ways you can make use of this plant:9,10

  • Add it to beverages such as lemonade and tea
  • Sweeten marinades and sauces, such as barbeque sauce

Furthermore, stevia may be used topically. Applying whole leaf stevia extract as a facial mask may help promote tightening of the skin, as well as reducing the instances of blemishes and acne. Adding stevia concentrate to shampoo may boost luster in your hair and rejuvenate your scalp.

Its Side Effects Are Practically Non-Existent

While stevia may be sweet, it won’t pose any danger to your health. In Japan, stevia products have been consumed for decades and there are no reported side effects. Dr. Daniel Mowrey, an expert in herbal medicine who extensively studied the plant, reports that:

“Few substances have ever yielded such consistently negative results in toxicity trials as have stevia. Almost every toxicity test imaginable has been performed on stevia extract (concentrate) or stevioside at one time or another. The results are always negative. No abnormalities in weight change, food intake, cell or membrane characteristics, enzyme and substrate utilization, or chromosome characteristics. No cancer, no birth defects, no acute and no chronic untoward effects. Nothing.”

Stevia Recipe: Dr. Mercola’s Macadamia Nut Fudge

If you haven’t used stevia before, I encourage you to try my own Macadamia Nut Fudge recipe, which is not only sweet, but contains a generous serving of healthy fats to help boost your well-being:

Macadamia Nut Fudge


300 grams of cocoa butter

200 grams of Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil

200 grams of raw, organic pastured butter

300 grams of macadamia nuts

8 full droppers of stevia

1 teaspoon Dr. Mercola’s organic vanilla extract


  1. Mix the butters and oils under low heat for three to five minutes.
  2. Once the mixture cools, add the stevia drops and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the fudge into 8-ounce wide ball jars.
  4. Spread the nuts evenly across all jars.
  5. Refrigerate until the fudge reaches the desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts About Stevia

A single serving of stevia is 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It also contains unique glycosides, such as:11

  • Stevioside
  • Steviobioside
  • Rebaudiosides A, C, D, E and F
  • Dulcoside A

Aside from these compounds, stevia has very little carbohydrates, as shown in the table below:

Stevia Leaf

Serving Size: 1 gram
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories from Fat    
Total Fat 0 g  
Saturated Fat 0 g  
Trans Fat 0 g  
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 0 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 1 g  
Dietary Fiber 0 g  
Sugar 0 g  
Protein 0 g  
Vitamin A 0 IU  
Calcium 0 mg  

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Stevia Is a Viable Alternative to Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners, but Use It Moderately

Substituting sugar with stevia can help improve the nutritional profile of your favorite food and beverages, allowing you to enjoy them regularly without causing health problems. However, for those who have problems with insulin resistance, I suggest that you avoid all forms of sweeteners including stevia, as they can decrease your sensitivity to insulin and put you at risk of obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, try to limit your sugar consumption to 25 grams or less per day from all sources, including fruits.

To help curb sweet cravings, I strongly recommend drinking organic black coffee or consuming fermented vegetables. Fermented foods in particular not only helps reduce the desire to eat something sweet due to their sour flavor, but also contains probiotics and fiber that may help promote better health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stevia

Q: Is stevia safe?

A: Stevia is considered safe to use as it is largely free of side effects.12

Q: Is stevia bad for you?

A:  Research has shown that long-term consumption of stevia doesn’t pose any threat to your health.13 However, those who have issues with insulin resistance must avoid any form of sweetener altogether, as well as limit sugar intake from all sources, including fruits, to 25 grams per day or less.

Q: Is stevia good for you?

A: Evidence has shown that stevia may be helpful for managing diabetes, promoting healthy weight, lowering the risk of pancreatic cancer and maintaining blood pressure.14

Q: Is stevia healthy?

A: Stevia is considered a “no-calorie” food, which means a single serving contains less than 5 grams of carbohydrates. This may be helpful for people who are controlling their blood sugar levels, while still being able to consume sweet foods.15

Q: What is liquid stevia?

A: Liquid stevia is a type of product derived from the stevia plant, and is usually added to foods via a dropper. Other forms include powder or the natural (leaf) version.16

Q: Does stevia cause weight gain?

A: No. On the contrary, stevia may help promote weight loss, since it’s a no-calorie food. Using it in place of sugar can help reduce your caloric intake, which may help with weight management in the long run.17

Q: Is stevia an artificial sweetener?

A: No, stevia is a natural sweetener because the flavor comes directly from the plant. Artificial sweeteners are made using sugar substitutes, such as acesulfame potassium.18

Q: What is stevia leaf extract?

A: This term refers to products that have stevia as an ingredient.19