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Newsletter Sugar Substitutes
Newsletter Dec. 11/01 - Susan Van Dueck
Sugar Substitutes: Stevia and Chicolin.

Stevia

Facts About Stevia

Stevia rebaudiana bertoni (Stevia) is a member of the Compositae family. The Stevia plant is native to eastern Paraguay (the Amambay Mountain Range) and the adjacent Parana Estate of Brazil. Stevia was first discovered by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay long before Columbus arrived in the New World. Stevia has been consumed since ancient times to sweeten Yerba Mate tea (Ilex paraguayensis).

The amount of Stevioside in the leaf varies with climate, soil conditions, and time of harvest. The sweetness of Stevia leaf can also be increased through selection of improved varieties of Stevia plants. Stevia can range from 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar.

People have consumed Stevia for centuries with no known side effects. Individuals who cannot tolerate sugar or other sweeteners can use Stevia leaf or Stevia extract. Studies suggest that Stevia has a regulating effect on the pancreas and could help stabilize blood sugar levels in the body, therefore making Stevia wise for people with diabetes, hypoglycemia, and Candidacies. Traditionally Stevia is indicated as a cardiotonic, anti-gas, and for obesity. Stevia is also used to reduce acidity (heart burn), hypertension, and to lower uric acid levels. Research suggests that Stevia will fight bacteria in the mouth. Stevia is considered an effective medicine to help in the maintenance of a "perfect health balance." The sweetening power of white Stevia extract is estimated to be 300 times that of sugar. One pound of Stevia has the sweetening power of 300 pounds of sugar. Both leaf and extract may be used in cooking.

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Stevia Conversion Chart

Sugar Stevia leaf/powder Stevia Extract 
1 tsp 1/8 tsp Dust on spoon
1 Tbsp 3/8 tsp Pinch
Cup 1 tsp A Pinch
Cup 1 Tbsp 1/8 tsp
1 Cup 2 Tbsp tsp

Cooking with Stevia does require a learning curve, but since the advantages of reducing sugar in your diet (as well as eliminating your consumption of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners) are so important, it's well worth the effort.

The most important thing to remember is not to use too much,  which can result in excessive sweetness and an aftertaste.  Always start with the exact amount called for in a recipe, or even a little less, then taste before you add any more. 

Stevia is delicious in almost any recipe using fruit or dairy products, but does present a bit of a challenge when used for baking, since it lacks sugar's abilities to add texture, help soften batter, caramelize, enhance the browning process, and feed the fermentation of yeast.  On the other hand, one of the excellent facets of Stevia is that high temperatures do not affect its sweetening properties.

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FAQ

Q. How many calories are in Stevia?
A. Virtually none. And the refined Stevia extracts are considered to be non-caloric.

Q. Will Stevia raise my blood sugar levels?
A. Not at all.

Q. Can I use Stevia if I am diabetic?
A. Diabetes is a medical condition that should be monitored and treated by a qualified physician or health care practitioner. Stevia can be part of a healthy diet for anyone, including those with blood sugar problems, since it does not raise blood sugar levels. Always ask your doctor when changing your diet. If they do say no to Stevia, ask them politely for the current research to support their opinion.

Q. Will Stevia harm my teeth?
A. Two tests conducted by Purdue University's Dental Science Research Group have concluded that stevioside is both fluoride compatible and "significantly" inhibits the development of plaque, thus Stevia may actually help to prevent cavities.

Recipes

Baking With Stevia: Recipes for the Sweet Leaf - by Rita DePuydt
A 90 page cook book by Rita DePuydt. This cook book uses Stevia to enhance very small amounts of natural sweeteners. Comb lay-flat binding, 5.5" x 8.5" recipe book. Great recipes.

Stevia Sweet Recipes: Sugar-Free-Naturally - by Jeffrey Goettemoeller
More than 100 sweet, delicious recipes from the Goettemoeller family. Now giving up sugar does not have to mean giving up your favorite dessert - nor do you have to compromise sweetness or taste.

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Lemonade

Yield: 10  8-ounce servings

  • 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Stevia liquid concentrate
  • ice cubes
  • lemon for garnish
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher and stir until well blended.
  2. Pour into ice-filled 10-ounce glasses, garnish with lemon slices, and serve.

If you aren't going to drink this all in the same day, I recommend adding the Stevia just prior to drinking.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

YIELD: About 4 dozen

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon white Stevia powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1  1/4 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.*
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder, and set aside.
  3. Place the egg, Stevia, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl, and beat well with a wooden spoon or an electric hand-held mixer.  Slowly add the butter, continuing to beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well with a wooden spoon after each addition.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop heaping teaspoons of batter on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

*Instead of greasing a cookie sheet, you can cover it with parchment paper, which makes for quick and easy cleanup.

If your kids like these cookies, you might want to try switching to carob chips. If this goes over well, then try adding some nuts and cutting down the amount of chips. Do this slowly or they will catch on to your tactics!

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Chicolin

Chicolin is a food substance derived from the whole tubers of the
Chicory plant. Inulin, its major component (87% of the total powder
weight), is a soluble fibre found in numerous roots in various amounts
such as Dahlia Flower Tubers, Chicory Roots, Dandelion Roots, Burdock
Roots, Jerusalem Artichokes, Asparagus and Onions. Chicolin contains 87%
Inulin and 6% naturally occurring root sugars, giving it a mildly sweet,
pleasant tasting cotton candy flavour.

With the Chicolin from Bioquest, I recommend mixing one package of their Stevia with one package of their Chicolin.

Here are some locations where you can buy Bioquest Chicolin and Stevia:

Genesis Nutrition
264 E. Broadway
Vancouver, B.C.
Phone: 604-879-2800

Genesis Nutrition
1040 Davie St.
Vancouver, B.C.
Phone: 604-608-0318

Genesis Nutrition
6620 #3 Road
Richmond, B.C.
Phone: 604-276-0020

Surrey Natural Foods
Surrey, B.C.
Phone: 604-588-3828

Nutrition House
Guildford Town Centre
Surrey, B.C.
Phone: 604-582-5504

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Recipe

Crunchy Banana Muffins

1 c. overripe bananas (mashed)
1 egg
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup organic barley flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 tbsp. Chicolin/Stevia mix (see above)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon

  1. In bowl mix bananas with butter. Add egg & vanilla. Whisk flours together, add wheat germ, coconut, Chicolin/Stevia mixture, vanilla and water.
  2. Mix dry ingredients with wet (don't over mix, just moisten is better).
  3. Top muffins before cooking with cinnamon & sugar mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 20 min.

Makes 8 medium sized muffins. ENJOY!

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