A Closer Look at the Stevia Leaf

Grown for its naturally sweet leaves, stevia is the ideal option for natural-origin sweetness and sugar reduction. Over the years, our company has innovated ways of expanding stevia’s versatility to help customers address a variety of demands and challenges.

The stevia plant’s leaves contain naturally sweet molecules called steviol glycosides, which can be 200-350 times sweeter than sugar. In fact, the sweetness of three leaves can replace about 25% of the calories in a can of soda.

Stevia Benefits:

  • Natural
  • No calories
  • Low glycemic index, safe for diabetics
  • Tooth friendly
  • Non GMO

Formulation Facts:

  • High solubility, ideal for diverse food applications
  • Heat stable, suitable for cooking
  • pH stable
  • Excellent shelf life
  • Photo stable

There are many steviol glycosides naturally present in the stevia leaf and each has its own unique attributes, tastes profile and sweetness level. In fact, PureCircle has discovered more than 30 steviol glycosides occuring naturally within the leaf and more are being discovered each day. However, 11 steviol glycosides are typically focused on due to regulatory approvals worldwide. Generally, Rebaudioside A (Reb A) and Stevioside are the major glycosides found in stevia leaves based on dry weight, with glycosides like Rebaudioside D (Reb D) in much lower concentrations in the plant.


Steviol glycosides make up about 12% of the leaf. High purity leaf extract is what is approved for use in food and beverages around the world. This is defined as 95% or greater Total Steviol Glycoside content of the extract.

Molecular Structure

All steviol glycosides contain a common steviol backbone. R1 and R2 chains (mainly glucose) are attached to the steviol backbone in various configurations to form the wide variety of sweet compounds found naturally in the stevia leaf. Each of these structures influences taste and performance attributes. Leverage our stevia experts to apply this knowledge to your next formulation.

The Power of Glycoside Combinations

Our research has shown that combining the different glycoside profiles provides synergistic effects. Due to differing taste profiles and performance attributes, the final solutions enhance sensory attributes and behave more like sugar. This impacts the upfront sweetness and reduces linger and bitter aftertaste.