A DUMBARTON entrepreneur is leading the fight against sugar after her father lost his life to complications with type 2 diabetes.

Sarah Jane Duffy, of Quarry Knowe in Castlehill, uses the Phoenix Community Centre to manufacture her Stevia Liquid, a liquid sweetener made from purified Scottish water and stevia, which is a natural extract derived from the leaves of the stevia plant and is native to Paraguay.

The resulting concoction can be used as a natural alternative to sugar.

The Sweet Solutions owner told the Reporter: “I initially set up the business with my friend Claire. She has since stepped back from the business due to personal commitments, but her contribution to the company is still very much appreciated to this day.

“Our vision was to help people cut back on their sugar intake and hopefully live a little bit healthier.

“This passion had come from years of watching my father suffer from all the complications that come with type 2 diabetes.”

According to Scottish Government statistics, every year 17,000 people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Scotland and an estimated 500,000 people in Scotland are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Around 90 per cent of all adults in the UK with diabetes have type 2, where the body does not produce enough insulin.

In the much less common type 1, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.

Sarah continued: “After my dad had passed away I found out that stevia extract had been passed for use within the EU, and that is when Claire and I took the decision to start the business.

“Our vision was to bring stevia in liquid form to the UK for its ease of use, affordable price and helping people cut down on their sugar consumption, diabetics being at the forefront of that vision.

“We approached Business Gateway in West Dunbartonshire for help. They were great and supported us from the onset, sending us in the direction of the right people to get us moving.

“This led to a £500 start up grant from West Dunbartonshire Council and a £5,000 grant from the government to get our own recipe of stevia liquid tested at Caledonian University, eventually ending up with a product with over a year’s shelf life.”

Stevia can also be used in food as well as in your cuppa, and recipes can be found on the Sweet Solutions website.