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Stevia is a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana, native to Brazil and Paraguay. The active compounds range from 30 to 150 times the sweetness of sugar, so only a small amount is needed to add sweetening. Stevia contains zero calories. In the United States, high-purity Stevia is recognized as safe by the FDA, and in Japan it has been widely used as a sweetener for decades.