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Stevia (Stevia Rebaudiana)

A small plant that grows in the South-Western part of the U.S.A. and throughout Latin America, where it's called yerba dulce.

The herb is thirty times sweeter than sugar and has negligible calories, and has been widely adopted by the Japanese, who use it in the manufacture of processed foods.

A study conducted at Hiroshima University's School of Dentistry revealed that stevia suppresses the growth of dental bacteria, in contrast to sugar which promotes dental bacteria.

Other studies have shown that it interferes little with blood sugar levels, so making it suitable for both hypoglycaemics and diabetics. Stevia extract is widely available from health food shops, one or two drops being sufficient to sweeten the average drink. Because of its lack of calories it's particularly recommended for overweight people. For more information on nutrition, see 'Nutrition A to Z' by Dr. Michael Sharon

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