About Stevia

ABOUT STEVIA

What is Stevia?

Stevia is a natural sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the stevia plant, which is native to South America. The stevia plant is a small shrub that has been used as a source of natural sweetness for hundreds of years.

Stevia leaves naturally contain sweet compounds called steviol glycosides. Most glycosides are 200-450 times sweeter than sugar, heat-stable, pH-stable, and not fermentable.

The human body does not metabolize the steviol glycosides, therefore it contains zero calories. Stevia is not only 100% safe, it has a number of health benefits. A number of medical studies confirm that replacing sugar with stevia can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels over time and that it may be safely consumed by people with diabetes as well.

As the sweetness of stevia is 200-450 times that of sugar, it may also save food and beverage manufacturers somewhere between 40 – 70% in cost.

HOWTIAN’s stevia is sourced from carefully managed plantations, which allows us to guarantee consistency and uniformity in the quality of our extracts.

about stevia

The History of Stevia

The plant stevia rebaudiana was first discovered by the indigenous people of Paraguay, who used the plant’s leaves to sweeten drinks. They called it Ka’a he’ê, which means ‘honey grass’.

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1800s

Origins

  • People begin using stevia throughout South America, including Argentina and Brazil.
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1931

First Extract

  • Two French chemists successfully extract the sweet taste from the stevia plant.
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1977

Stevia in Japan

  • In response to growing concerns about artificial sweeteners, Japan begins using stevia as a natural alternative in food and drink products. Japanese scientists start to identify and isolate the specific sweet compounds — the steviol glycosides.
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    1980s
    • Introduction to China

      • A stevia variety which contains a high concentration of rebaudiosides is first introduced to farmers in China.

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    2008

    U.S. FDA Approval

    • The U.S. FDA approves stevia extract, with minimum 95% total steviol glycosides, as a food additive that can safely be used in foods and drinks.
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      2012

      Europe Approval

      • Stevia extract is approved in Europe, as an available additive (sweetener) for foods and drinks.
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        today

        Stevia Worldwide

        • Stevia goes global. The plant is grown on four continents, with more than 85% of the global volume grown and extracted in China. Stevia is approved in almost 70 countries around the world. It is a popular choice for high-intensity sweeteners of natural origin.

          ABOUT STEVIA

          Regulatory Approvals of Stevia

          Regulatory Agencies That Have Approved Stevia:

          Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA, or French Agency for Food Safety)
          Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
          European Commission Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
          Health Canada Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
          U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

          Map of Regulatory Approvals of Stevia

          ABOUT STEVIA

          How is stevia extracted through a natural process?

          Stevia is a subtropical plant, which requires warm temperatures, sufficient rain, and lots of sunshine. It is a non-GMO crop. As the plant is very intensely sweet, it requires significantly less water, land, and energy to produce the same amount of sweetness compared to other well-known sweeteners. In optimal conditions, stevia may be harvested multiple times per year.

          Farming and drying the leaves

          Harvested stevia leaves are sun-dried to reach optimal conditions for natural extraction while retaining sweetness.

          Steeping in water

          The first step of the natural extraction process, pulling steviol glycosides from the leaves, is done by steeping dried stevia leaves into water.

          Primary purification

          In the next stage, water and alcohol are used to separate the steviol glycosides from other leaf components and any other potential impurities.

          Secondary Purification

          Once again, in the natural extraction process, water and alcohol are used to purify the different types of steviol glycosides from the primary extracts.

          Finished Product

          The end-product is dried, which forms a white or off-white fine powder.

          Secondary Purification

          Once again, in the natural extraction process, water and alcohol are used to purify the different types of steviol glycosides from the primary extracts.

          Finished Product

          The end-product is dried, which forms a white or off-white fine powder.

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