Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baking with Stevia

I recently started substituting Stevia for sugar in recipes for baked goods and have been surprisingly satisfied. I am not typically a proponent of sugar substitutes, but after reading about its wonders as one of Dr. Gillian McKeith's 12 Super Foods (, I decided to give it a go. She claims it's great for regulating blood sugar levels and keeping sugar cravings at bay. Stevia is different from most calorie-free sugar alternatives in that it is an herb and not a chemical. Furthermore, it has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years, so it's not some kind of new-to-humans trial that people might start dropping dead from tomorrow.
I did some research on it on the Internet and found that while some studies have shown negative effects (birth defects, etc.) on lab rats when administered at high doses, the amount necessary for a batch of baked goods (75g for a batch of 12 muffins) is so negligible in comparison that I'm not worried. Plus, studies have shown that sugar in high doses causes pancreatic cancer so it's by no means a safer alternative (not to mention its many other more obvious effects like type II diabetes, tooth decay, weight gain, etc.).

So why not? At $10 for a 1oz. bottle at Trader Joe's, it's not cheap, but a little goes a long way.