Stevia is an herb native to South America. The leaf of the stevia plant contains compounds that give it sweetness. It’s not actually stevia itself that has approval for use as a sugar substitute but rather only certain highly refined stevia preparations that contain rebaudioside A — an important distinction to be aware of when you’re looking at stevia products. With its steviol glycoside extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.