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What is Stevioside? Exploring its Benefits and Uses

Stevioside is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana), native to South America. As a glycoside, it is responsible for the intense sweetness of the plant, being approximately 300 times sweeter than sucrose. This zero-calorie sweetener has gained popularity among diabetics, those with phenylketonuria, and individuals trying to lose weight by minimizing sugar intake.

The extraction and purification of stevioside involve a series of steps to isolate it from the stevia leaves. Alongside stevioside, other steviol glycosides such as rebaudioside A, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar, are also present in the plant. Stevioside and other steviol glycosides have been extensively studied for their potential health benefits, side effects, and safety, as well as their impact on blood sugar levels and diabetes management.

Key Takeaways

  • Stevioside is a natural, zero-calorie sweetener extracted from the stevia plant
  • The compound is approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar, making it popular among diabetics and weight watchers
  • Research has focused on its health benefits, safety, and potential applications in various products.

Stevioside Basics

Stevioside is a type of glycoside, which is derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. The plant, native to South America, is well-known for its sweet-tasting leaves that are used as an alternative to sugar. Stevioside, along with rebaudioside A, are the main sweetening compounds found in the leaves of the stevia plant.

Stevioside has a sweetness that is approximately 300 times stronger than sucrose, making it a popular choice for those who are seeking a natural, low-calorie alternative to sugar. It is often used as a sweetener for diabetics, phenylketonuria patients, and individuals looking to lose weight by reducing sugar in their diet.

The extraction of stevioside from the stevia plant involves a process that typically includes drying and crushing the leaves, followed by the use of a solvent to separate the glycosides from the plant material. After purification and crystallization, the resulting extract contains both stevioside and rebaudioside A in varying amounts, depending on the methods used.

The use of stevioside and other steviol glycosides as sweeteners has been increasingly gaining acceptance across the globe. They are often added to a wide range of food products, including beverages, confectionery, and baked goods, providing a healthier option for those looking to reduce their sugar intake without sacrificing taste.

In conclusion, stevioside is a natural, potent sweetener extracted from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, used as an alternative to sugar in various products. Its strong sweetness and low-calorie characteristics make it a popular choice for diabetics and others looking to maintain a healthy diet while still enjoying sweet flavors.

Discovery and History

Stevioside is a glycoside derived from the stevia plant, which can be used as a sweetener. It is one of the main sweetening compounds, along with rebaudioside A, found in the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana. This plant originates from South America, specifically in the regions of Paraguay and Brazil.

The discovery of stevioside can be traced back to 1931 when French chemists M. Bridel and R. Lavielle isolated the compound and named it after the plant’s genus. The sweet taste of Stevia rebaudiana leaves is attributed to the presence of steviol glycosides, which are the chemical compounds responsible for its sweetness.

Stevia rebaudiana has a long history of use among indigenous communities in South America. They have been consuming these naturally sweet leaves for centuries, referring to the plant as “sweet herb” or “honey leaf.” It has been traditionally used to sweeten beverages like tea and mate or to chew on as a sweet treat.

In recent years, stevioside and other steviol glycosides have gained popularity as low-calorie, natural sweeteners. This makes them a popular choice for diabetics, phenylketonurea patients, and individuals looking to lose weight by avoiding sugar in their diet.

Extraction and Purification

Stevioside is a natural sweetener obtained from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant. The extraction and purification processes play a crucial role in obtaining a high-quality, pure, and safe product for consumption.

Initially, the extraction process starts with the Stevia leaves, which are dried and then ground into a fine powder. The ground Stevia leaves are then subjected to a water-based extraction method. Hot water extraction is popular for its simplicity and effectiveness and yields a high amount of stevioside, specifically rebaudioside-A.

Furthermore, other extraction methods, such as the use of alcohol or ethanol, can be employed to extract stevioside from the leaves. Microwave-assisted extraction is also an alternative, providing time-saving results with an almost similar yield to that of hot water extraction.

After the extraction, the next step is the purification process, which removes impurities and any unwanted components from the extract. Typically, ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF) membrane techniques are used to achieve a high purity level of stevioside. After the purification process, we obtain a white powder with a stevioside content of around 9.05 g per 100 g.

In summary, the extraction and purification of stevioside from Stevia leaves involve various methods such as hot water, alcohol, or microwave-assisted extractions, followed by advanced filtration techniques to achieve high-purity stevioside. The resultant white powder is a safe and natural sweetener used in numerous food and beverage products.



Stevioside is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is approximately 300 times sweeter than sucrose, making it a popular low-calorie alternative for diabetics, phenylketonurea patients, and individuals trying to lose weight.


Stevioside is soluble in water and ethanol, which makes it suitable for dissolving in a variety of liquid-based products, such as beverages and some food items.


In its pure form, stevioside is a white, crystalline powder. This appearance allows it to be easily incorporated into a range of products as a sugar substitute, without altering their visual appearance.


Stevioside is a glycoside, which is a compound derived from a sugar molecule and another functional molecule. In the case of stevioside, the functional molecule is steviol, and the sugar molecules are glucose molecules. Stevioside is one of several steviol glycosides found in the stevia plant, along with rebaudioside A, steviolbioside, and isosteviol.

The molecular structure of stevioside can be represented as C38H60O18, and its melting point is around 196-198°C. Due to the glycosidic bonds connecting the glucose and steviol molecules, the molecule is stable at high temperatures and remains sweet; however, it can break down into its components when exposed to specific enzymes or acidic conditions.

Other Steviol Glycosides

Steviol glycosides are a group of natural sweeteners extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. While stevioside is the most well-known and one of the major glycosides present in the leaves, there are several other steviol glycosides that contribute to the plant’s sweetness profile.

Rebaudioside A, often abbreviated as Reb A, is another key steviol glycoside. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar and has a more palatable taste compared to stevioside, which can be bitter. Reb A contains only glucose as its monosaccharide moieties, with a total of four glucose molecules in its structure.

Rebaudioside B is another steviol glycoside, and unlike Reb A, it has a bitter aftertaste reminiscent of licorice. Due to its less desirable taste, it is not as widely used when formulating sweetener products.

Dulcoside A and Rubusoside are two additional steviol glycosides found in the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana. Although they are present in smaller concentrations compared to Stevioside and Rebaudioside A, they still play a role in the overall sweetness profile of the plant.

In summary, there are several other steviol glycosides, such as Rebaudioside A, Rebaudioside B, Dulcoside A, and Rubusoside, that contribute to the taste and sweetness of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. These glycosides help make stevia a popular and effective natural sweetener for various food and beverage applications.

Health Benefits

Stevioside is a natural sweetener derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which has been used for centuries to sweeten beverages and make tea. This plant-based sweetener offers a range of health benefits, making it a popular choice for those seeking a healthier alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners.

One of the primary benefits of Stevioside is its low-calorie and zero-calorie nature, making it an ideal choice for individuals with diabetes or those on a weight loss journey. Since it does not affect blood sugar levels, Stevioside can help people with diabetes manage their condition more effectively. The natural sweetener doesn’t spike blood sugar levels, thereby promoting better glycemic control.

Stevioside has also been associated with lowering blood pressure. Several studies have indicated that regular consumption of Stevioside can have a positive impact on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, which is beneficial for individuals with hypertension. This makes it a valuable addition to a heart-healthy diet, in conjunction with other lifestyle changes.

Moreover, Stevioside can play a role in addressing the issue of obesity. As a zero-calorie sweetener, it allows those trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight to still enjoy sweet-tasting foods without consuming excess calories. This can help to prevent weight gain and contribute to a healthier, more balanced diet.

In summary, Stevioside provides various health benefits as a natural sweetener, such as aiding in diabetes management, lowering blood pressure, and assisting in weight management efforts. Its low-calorie and zero-calorie properties make it a versatile and attractive option for those seeking a healthier alternative to sugar and other artificial sweeteners.

Side Effects and Safety

Stevioside, a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, is considered to be safe for consumption. However, it may cause certain side effects in some individuals. It is important to be aware of these effects and maintain a balanced intake.

One common complaint about Stevioside is its bitter taste and aftertaste. Some may find the taste unappealing, which can limit its use as a sugar substitute. Although the taste varies between individuals, it is essential to consider personal preferences before adding Stevioside to foods or beverages.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of certain high-purity Steviol glycosides, including Stevioside, as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). It implies that these sweeteners are deemed safe for consumption by experts based on available scientific evidence. However, whole-leaf Stevia and crude extracts have not been approved by the FDA due to insufficient safety data.

Some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects after consuming Stevioside, such as nausea and bloating. While these symptoms are generally mild and transient, it is recommended to monitor your body’s response to determine if Stevioside is a suitable sugar alternative for you.

Stevioside also possesses diuretic properties, meaning it can increase the production of urine. In moderate amounts, this effect is unlikely to cause any problems. However, excessive consumption may lead to increased urination, which can potentially cause dehydration or electrolyte imbalances.

In conclusion, Stevioside is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderation. It is important to be aware of potential side effects and consider individual taste preferences when incorporating this natural sweetener into your diet.

Impact on Blood Sugar and Diabetes

Stevioside is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, and it has gained attention for its potential role in managing blood sugar and diabetes. Consuming stevioside may have a positive impact on blood glucose levels, which is especially relevant for people with diabetes who need to monitor and control their blood sugar levels carefully.

In a study published in “Planta Medica,” stevioside was found to lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance in diabetic rats. This suggests that stevioside could potentially help in regulating blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes, promoting better glucose metabolism and reducing the risk of complications.

Randomized controlled trials have also been conducted to analyze the impact of stevioside on blood sugar levels in humans. In one such study, the consumption of stevia-sweetened tea was compared to sucralose-sweetened tea in type 2 diabetic patients. The results showed that stevia had no significant effects on blood glucose, HbA1C, insulin, or lipid levels, meaning that it could be a suitable alternative to sucralose for diabetics without affecting their blood sugar or insulin levels negatively.

It is important to note that while the research suggests potential benefits of stevioside for blood sugar control, further studies are necessary to establish its long-term safety and effectiveness. Nonetheless, stevioside could offer a promising alternative for those looking to manage their diabetes with a natural, non-nutritive sweetener that has minimal impact on their blood glucose levels.

Applications and Uses

Stevioside is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. As part of the diterpene glycoside family, it boasts a sweet taste that is 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). Due to its non-caloric and non-toxic properties, Stevioside has been popularly used as an alternative to artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame-K, as well as traditional sugar sources like cane sugar.

In the food industry, Stevioside is commonly used as a food additive to enhance sweetness in various products without significantly increasing calorie content. It is often incorporated in the manufacturing of chewing gum, ice cream, yogurt, and other similar goods. The non-fermentable feature of Stevioside also makes it a suitable sweetening ingredient in beverages, including carbonated drinks.

Dietary supplements and natural products frequently contain Stevioside as it provides a sweet taste without contributing to overall caloric intake. This makes it an appealing option for diabetics, phenylketonuria patients, and people looking to reduce their sugar intake or lose weight. Additionally, Stevioside is thermally stable, which allows it to be used in an extensive range of products.

However, it is worth mentioning that some individuals may perceive a slight bitterness in Stevioside, although this is not a common issue. Overall, the growing interest in natural sweeteners has positioned Stevioside as a viable and desirable alternative to conventional sweeteners, notably in various applications across the food, beverage, and supplement industries.

Function in Chewing Gums and Other Products

Stevioside is a natural non-caloric sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is typically used as a sugar substitute in various products, ranging from food and beverages to medicines, owing to its intense sweetness and potential health benefits. One area where stevioside is commonly utilized is in the formulation of chewing gums.

Chewing gums often contain artificial sweeteners to provide a pleasant taste without the added calories of sugar. Stevioside presents a natural alternative to these synthetic sweeteners, making it an attractive option for health-conscious consumers. Moreover, stevioside demonstrates a favorable solubility profile, allowing it to be easily incorporated into chewing gum formulations without significantly altering the product’s texture or appearance.

In addition to chewing gums, stevioside is used in a variety of other products, such as:

  • Beverages: Soft drinks, juices, and flavored waters can benefit from the inclusion of stevioside as a low-calorie sweetener.
  • Baked goods: Stevioside can be used in recipes for cakes, cookies, and other baked treats, reducing the overall sugar content while maintaining the desired sweetness.
  • Dietary supplements: Some weight loss supplements and meal replacement products contain stevioside as a means of controlling the overall caloric content.

As a natural sweetener, stevioside has the potential to promote better body weight management by replacing high-calorie sugars in various food products. For individuals looking to maintain or reduce their body weight, products containing stevioside offer a guilt-free alternative to enjoy sweet treats without the associated caloric intake. Furthermore, the use of stevioside may help mitigate some of the negative health effects associated with excessive sugar consumption, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.

In summary, stevioside serves as a versatile and valuable ingredient in a range of products, including chewing gums. Its properties as a natural, non-caloric sweetener with favorable solubility make it an ideal sugar substitute for those seeking healthier alternatives without compromising taste.

Biochemical Applications and Research

Stevioside is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. It is a diterpene glycoside and is found to be about 300 times sweeter than sucrose, making it a sought-after ingredient for low-calorie dietary replacement, especially for diabetics and individuals looking to lose weight.

Research on stevioside has delved into a variety of topics, including its biochemical applications and modifier enzymes. One notable enzyme, β-glucosidase, plays a crucial role in the breakdown of stevioside. When it specifically acts on stevioside, it releases the sophorosyl moiety, which in turn forms steviolmonoside—a compound with transglycosylation properties. The action of β-glucosidase on stevioside can be exploited for various industrial applications.

Stevioside and other related molecules have been extensively researched for potential use in (β1-3)-glucan production, such as curdlan. Curdlan is a water-insoluble (β1-3)-glucan produced by Streptomyces sp. W19-1 and other microorganisms. Biochemical research has shown success in transferring Glc residues to the C-13 and C-19 sites of steviol glycosides using the actinomycete strain K-128. These findings can pave the way for potential advanced applications in the production of (β1-3)-glucan and other related molecules.

In another study, scientists have observed the terminal Glc residue in β-sophorosyl disaccharide via Glc(β1-6)-elongation. The fungus Gibberella fujikuroi ATCC12616 has demonstrated potential for the production of oligosaccharides that can be further examined for other potential applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

In conclusion, stevioside has various biochemical applications that are continually being researched and explored. Its interaction with enzymes such as β-glucosidase and its potential usage in the production of (β1-3)-glucans, as well as its involvement in oligosaccharide production, demonstrate the significance of stevioside in the field of biochemistry. The ongoing research in these areas is likely to yield new insights and developments for its potential uses in various industries.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is stevioside extracted from stevia leaves?

Stevioside is extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, a plant native to South America. The leaves are first soaked in hot water, and then the aqueous extract is passed through an adsorption resin to trap and concentrate the component steviol glycosides, which include stevioside and rebaudioside A.

What are the health benefits of stevioside?

Stevioside is a natural sweetener that does not increase blood sugar levels, making it a suitable option for people with diabetes. Additionally, it has low-calorie content, which can support weight management and healthy diets.

Can stevioside be used in skincare products?

There is limited information about the use of stevioside in skincare products. However, some studies suggest that stevia extracts may have potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could be beneficial in skincare formulations. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the safety and efficacy of stevioside in skincare.

What is the E number of stevioside?

The European food additive number for stevioside is E960. This number is used to identify it as a permitted sweetener in food products within the European Union.

How does stevioside compare to other sweeteners?

Stevioside is a high-intensity sweetener, which means it is considerably sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). Unlike artificial sweeteners like aspartame, stevioside is a natural extract derived from the stevia plant. It does not contribute to increased blood sugar levels, making it a more suitable option for people with diabetes or those looking to reduce their caloric intake.

Are there any side effects of using stevioside?

Stevioside is generally considered safe for consumption. Long-term studies on human volunteers have demonstrated that blood biochemical parameters were not altered by the consumption of stevioside over a period of one year. However, as with any food ingredient, individual sensitivities or allergies may occur, and it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about using stevioside or stevia in your diet.