Sugar substitute producer bullish on PH market

Published May 23, 2021, 7:30 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Glorious, the country’s first Stevia company, has expressed optimism on its future growth in the country as more people turn to healthier alternatives, especially during this pandemic.

According to agribusiness finance giant Rabobank, Stevia’s sales are expected to hit $700 million worldwide in the next few years with sales of stevia products posting significant growth.

Consumers in the Philippines can now get their calorie-free sugar needs from natural alternatives.

Before, Stevia was restricted to the health food market without any FDA approval. Now, Stevia is already widely used as a natural substitute for artificial sweeteners in many products.

“Stevia has been touted as a safe and healthy sugar substitute with proven health benefits. It can sweeten foods, and it has several health benefits, including decreased calorie intake, lower blood sugar levels, and less risk of cavities,” said Maura De Leon, the woman behind Glorious, the country’s first stevia grower and manufacturer.

While it has zero calories, Stevia is 200 times sweeter than refined sugar and does not affect blood sugar. It is a popular option for people looking to lose weight but who want to reduce their sugar intake.

Stevia is an herb that has been grown in tropical climates for centuries. It is a small bushy plant that belongs to the sunflower family and grows in Paraguay and Brazil, but it can be quickly grown elsewhere. For centuries, the people of Paraguay add them to their foods as sweeteners, and countries like Korea, Brazil, China, Japan, and South America, have long used stevia.

Stevia products such as teas, juices, healthy coffees, chocolate beverages and natural sweeteners, manufactured by Glorious, are approved safe by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) evenfor people who have diabetes.

“Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so you don’t have to add much.It’s good to note that the Philippines is also catching up on the use of this natural sweetener in various food preparations,” added De Leon.

Stevia is a natural sweetener taken from the leaves of a bushy shrub. The Stevia plant or (Stevia rebaudiana) has 150 species known to have originated from North and South America. Currently, it is produced by lots of countries, with China as the number one exporter of stevia products, and can be purchased at garden centers for home growing.

People who have diabetes can benefit from Stevia. Choosing pure stevia extract can help maintain normal blood sugar levels and should be used in moderation.Stevia can also help cut down added sugar consumption, which can be beneficial for children. High sugar intake in children could lead to heart disease due to reconstructing triglyceride and cholesterol levels, contributing to children’s weight gain. Substituting added sugar for stevia can minimize these risks. At the same time, moderate consumption of foods with stevia and other sweeteners can prevent adverse side effects and promote overall health.

 
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