Here at CH’I, we hold a core value that natural really is best, which is why we endured a patient wait for a natural alternative to sugar- stevia. Rather than using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, we knew the wonder plant was the healthiest and safest option for our Sugar Free Blend.
What is stevia?
Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia Rebaudiana Plant (alternatively known as ‘candyleaf’) which is native to Paraguay and Brazil. The plant is created into a sweetener by extracting ‘Steviol Glycosides from the leaves and then purifying them to leave us with a sweet flavour.
Why CH’I uses Stevia?
Stevia is one of the only natural AND non-calorific sweeteners where a little goes a very long way. Stevia is super sweet, so we don’t actually need to use very much of it in our Sugar Free Herb Blend. It is perceived by the tongue to be 200-400 times sweeter than regular sugar. It produces little to no calories as it doesn’t get absorbed through the intestines. With no calories, it means that consuming our Sugar Free Blend can be a guilt-free experience, or simply suitable for those monitoring their calorie intake.
When did CH’I first use stevia?
Back in 1988, we had set our eyes on the amazing qualities of stevia and by 1989 had used it to develop our first Sugar Free prototype. However in a time where synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose dominated the sugar free food/drink market, stevia was not yet accepted into mainstream western culture. While stevia was used by people in South America for over 1,500 years to sweeten teas and medicines, it took everyone else a bit longer to see the potential stevia had to offer. We waited patiently for the modern western world to acknowledge and permit the use of stevia in food/drink (2008).
22 years on from our first prototype, we were able to fine tune our Sugar Free Blend and release it to the market in 2011- and the rest is history! While we could have easily opted for a synthetic sweetener before stevia was permitted for use, we always knew it was the optimal choice for us.
How safe is stevia?
Like virtually everything in our food supply, including water, it may be capable of causing harm if consumed in extreme excess, but the most recent information suggested you would need to regularly drink several hundred bottles of CH’I Herbal Sugar Free every day to be approaching an unsafe level! In comparison to other available sweeteners on the market, stevia is considered one of the safest sweeteners available. The NZ and AUS Food Standards Association also state that no public health and safety issues were identified with the use of stevia in food and beverage upon assessment.
‘Aspartame’ is an artificial sweetener that has been the subject of several controversies since its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974. Despite being considered safe by governments worldwide and major health and food safety organizations, potential health risks have been examined and there is ongoing debate over whether the artificial sweetener poses a health threat. We reckon to keep things on the safe side, just stick to the natural stuff!
Stevia is a safe, non-calorific sweetener- and we love it! Although we had to wait patiently while the rest of the Western world realised the potential of the naturally derived sweetener, we think it was well worth the wait.