‘Its principle ingredient is Reb A, the sweetest compound of the stevia plant,’ says Dr Nokwanda Makunga, president of the South African Association of Botanists. Reb A is not absorbed into the body and is easily processed, leaving no residue in the blood.
‘The extract can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, making it ideal as part of a kilojoule-restricted diet, helping to reduce sugar intake. Stevia doesn’t affect blood-sugar levels, contains antibacterial and antifungal properties and has been shown to have a regulatory effect on insulin metabolism,’ adds Makunga. Look out for the stevia-containing Canderel Green and Huletts EquiSweet.