The Difference Between Whole Leaf Stevia and Stevia Extract

Stevia has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years in South America, where it was collected, dried and ground to obtain a fine powder. Whole leaf stevia contains both sweet and non-sweet components, which can give it a licorice-like aftertaste. New technologies have made it possible to extract the naturally sweet components of stevia and minimize the aftertaste, resulting in the type of products we see today on supermarket shelves. Highly refined stevia extracts are different from raw or whole leaf extracts, especially bitter (both cannot be sold as sweeteners).Stevia is the term used to refer to steviol glycosides (highly refined extracts from the leaves of the stevia plant).

Monk fruit is the term used to refer to mogrosides (extracts obtained from the fruit of Luo Han Guo). If you see terms like biologically produced stevia, enzymatically improved stevia, or stevia produced by fermentation, it means that it's a synthetic stevia leaf extract. When you buy stevia sweeteners, you often get a highly refined stevia leaf extract isolated directly from the leaf of the plant. It's important to note that stevia leaf extract isn't the same thing as a real stevia plant or raw stevia, but it's in fact an ingredient used to give sweetness to many stevia-based sweeteners. Extracts of whole and raw stevia leaves are still under review because information from security is inadequate.

So what's the difference between the whole stevia leaf and the stevia you end up putting in your coffee?If you see whole stevia leaves or raw stevia extracts at your local health food store, don't buy them.

Stevia may appear on product labels as stevia leaf extract, stevia extract, steviol glucoside, reb A, reb D, reb M, or stevioside.

Because stevia extracts provide a sweet flavor with minimal volume and weight, sweeteners often require fillers to generally resemble sugar of the table. You can find stevia powder or liquid in grocery stores and health food stores in the aisles of bakery products or health foods. Products that are considered safe have words on their ingredient list, such as stevia extract or Stevia rebaudiana. In the case of stevia, the raw materials (a sugar or more abundant stevia extracts) are bioconverted into synthetic stevia.

Another brand, Starleaf stevia extract, is obtained from a stevia plant, developed using traditional breeding techniques, which contains 20 times more Reb M and D than standard stevia varieties, but also contains synthetic Reb D and M produced by fermenting Reb A.I want you to know that some better-tasting steviol glycosides, such as reb D and M, can also be produced by fermentation without using the stevia plant or without being isolated directly from the stevia leaf. This means that, although almost 99% of the weight comes from fillings, between 70 and 99% of the sweetness comes from stevia extract.

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