The backbone of all steviol glycosides is steviol, to which various glycoside (glucose) groups attach to form the variety of sweet compounds in stevia
- Steviol glycosides pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract fully intact.
- Gut bacteria in the colon hydrolyze steviol glycosides into steviol by snipping off their glucose units
- Steviol is then absorbed via the portal vein and primarily metabolized by the liver, forming steviol glucuronide, which is primarily excreted in the urine.
- Research shows that there is no accumulation of stevia (or any component or byproduct of stevia) in the body and that it passes through the body during metabolism
- Energy from fermentation of glucose units (usually assessed as 2 kcal/g) is so low that it is minimal, and so, effectively, stevia can be said to provide zero calories.