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  1. Ashwell, Margaret OBE, PhD, FAfN


Stevia is a plant native to South America that has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years. Today, zero-calorie stevia, as high-purity stevia leaf extract, is being used globally to reduce energy and added sugar content in foods and beverages. This article introduces stevia, explaining its sustainable production, metabolism in the body, safety assessment, and use in foods and drinks to assist with energy reduction. The article also summarizes current thinking of the evidence for the role of nonnutritive sweeteners in energy reduction. Overall, stevia shows promise as a new tool to help achieve weight management goals.