A zero-calorie sweetener derived from the leaves of its namesake plant, stevia may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar. It’s very popular due to the fact that it is considered all-natural and is calorie-free, but despite it being natural, the Food and Drug Administration didn’t approve stevia to be used as a sweetener until 2008. Overseas, the European Union banned the use of stevia as a sweetener until the end of 2011 due to concerns about it being pro-carcinogenic. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so you’ll need to adjust how much you use to reach your desired sweetness.
Best used: “Since stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, a little goes a very long way in beverages and baked goods,” Kadey says. Follow the manufacturer’s directions when using it in place of sugar in recipes.