Dear Lynne,

What exactly is stevia? I know it’s a sweetener, but where does it come from? I’ve heard it is a sweetener far better than artificial ones.

–Mackenzie in Silver Spring

Dear Mackenzie,

There is no question that stevia is really sweet as it tastes 200 times sweeter than sugar with few or no calories. A few grains go a long way.

Advocates claim stevia does not raise insulin levels, but I don’t know if there’s any conclusive science to back that up, so take it with a grain of salt.

This dried leaf of a bushy plant native to Latin America is now grown all over the world. Japan incorporates stevia into many commercial foods. Find it in supermarkets and health food stores.

-Lynne

Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.