I need a probiotic yoghurt for my gut issues, so I make my own lactose-free probiotic goat yoghurt (fermented for 24 hours, I tolerate goat dairy better). The problem with lactose-free goat yoghurt is that it's very bitter (more so than cow lactose-free yoghurt), so I need a sweetener in it (just chopped fruits don't do the trick). So what's healthier? A tablespoon of stevia, or raw & unfiltered, undiluted, organic local honey?
In my lowly opinion, honey wins hands down.
It's not very processed, affects the body differently than sugar, has been shown to be helpful with allergies and if you buy local, supports local farmers.
And I'm one of the people that can't stand the taste of Stevia, honey is delicioussss.
Here's an article By Chris Masterjohn on honey and fructose: http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/10/high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-sweet.html
It's a great read.
I can't handle honey at all, but have no problem with stevia. Stevia supposedly doesn't impact blood sugar at all, it's an herb that's been used in South America for a long time...but I've heard from some people on PH that they don't handle stevia well...if I could handle honey, I'd choose it over stevia because it's local, tastes great, and people have been using it for millennia...experiment and see what works for your body!
I make 24h yogurt as well it is very tart and benefits from sweetener. For those who don't like the taste of stevia, Kal brand liquid stevia tastes much better. Also, fresh leaves for steeping tea. I Never use the powder. I sometimes use local honey and add a drop of stevia to bring the level of sweetness up. This tastes really good.
Honey's got antibiotic properties. Maybe it doesn't affect the bacteria in yogurt in the proportions you're mixing, but I suspect it's counterproductive to what you're looking to do. I'd experiment with Stevia and other options.
It's definitely a balance between general health issues and your individual tolerances.
For example, stevia makes me sick and when I said so on a thread here others reported the same difficulty. Some people react more strongly to honey than others.
Personally, I do well on honey so I slip a little in my coffee. I don't use it in significant quantities though.
How much would you need to use in a serving of yogurt?
I don't know what package your stevia comes in, but normally it is very highly concentrated and so a tablespoon of stevia should sweeten easily a gallon of any dairy product, like equivalent to 1-2 cups to sugar.
If somehow your stevia was processed to be at a 1:1 replacement ratio with sugar, then its probably diluted with dextrose, which is also a carbohydrate, which will contribute many calories.
Whatever liquid but unsweetened dairy I consume at about 1 cups worth, I place 4-5 drops of liquid stevia (thats the form I buy it). That should give you an idea of how concentrated it is. Any more than that and it will be overpoweringly bitter rather than sweet.
Honey on the other hand has a large fructose component to it, so beware of how you use it.