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Stevia revolutionizes sugar

You know aspartame, the sweetener used by the food industry to replace sugar. In 2009, France authorised stevia from which a natural sweetener is extracted. Without calorie, sweeter than sugar, the stevia revolution is on the way.

Sugar consumption is satisfied with 2 types of sweetening products:

Loading carbohydrates: first, sugar (sucrose) and also polyols (sugar alcohols), isomalts, lacitol and erythritol.

Intense sweeteners, which have no nutritional quality like carbohydrates but whose sweetness is much greater than that of sucrose. Sweeteners can be used in very small quantities. They are very low calorie, but their price is much higher than that of carbohydrates.

Synthetic sweeteners (aspartame, lsucralose, acesulfame K, saccharin, cyclamate) have dominated the world market since the post-war era, but in recent years naturally occurring sweeteners, which for some were traditionally consumed for a long time, are beginning to be used by the agro-food industry.

Stevia, a fake sugar better than sugar?

Stevia, what is it?

Stevia rebaudiana is a shrub that grows in the forests of Paraguay and Brazil and whose dried leaves are used by the Guarani Indians to sweeten their food forever. In South America the ancestors called the Stevia «sweet grass» and putting in medicinal beverages. Stevia thrives in the sun, on rather poor soils, but it does not like soils that are too dry.

The molecules that give them this property are the «Steviols glycosides»*, 200 to 400 times sweeter than the sugar itself! Stevia is a natural, calorie-free sweetening herb

nor carbohydrates. Very small amounts of stevia are enough to bring a sweet flavor to your food.

Stevia long banned in France

Stevia powder, which originates from wild picking and is 100% natural, is nevertheless characterized by the total absence of toxicity and hypoglycemic effect, as shown by repeated experiments from 1931 to 1982. The extract of «Stévia Rébaudioside A» is now authorized in France as a sweetener. It was only with the decree of 7 September 2009 that the use of reobaudioside A* was authorised in France by the health authorities (Affsa and Efsa).

However, to replace sugar, the Japanese have been using it since the 1970s because chemical sweeteners are banned. Stevia has no side effects, is neither mutagenic nor carcinogenic. Stevia is very useful in diabetic diets and hypoglycemic diets.

How much stevia can be consumed?

In 2008, an acceptable daily intake (ADI) was defined (1): the dose is 4 mg/kg body weight.

A person of 60 kg can thus safely consume a dose of 240 mg. per day.

Brussels authorises the use of stevia throughout the EU

The European Commission has just authorised the use of Stevia throughout the European Union.

Following a favourable opinion from the European Food Safety Agency, the committee therefore adopted on 14 November “a regulation authorising its use in various food categories”.

What good is that gonna do?

Well, you will now find stevia extracts instead of aspartame or other sweeteners in your yogurt, cereals, drinks, etc.

This authorization will come into force on December 2, 2011.

Stevia extracts are already very common in products in Asia, South America and the United States, according to the industry, according to AFP.

The nutritional qualities of stevia

Stevia is used for its chemical and nutritional characteristics and in particular its richness of essential nutrients: oligo and macroelements, essential oils, vitamins. Thus stevia finds medicinal, culinary or food uses.

Better yet, steviols have curative qualities against diabetes, hypertension and arteriosclerosis. Stevia is now grown everywhere, in the United States, Japan, Russia …

Did you know that?

Rébaudioside A is a food additive called Rébaudioside 1 that is extracted from stevia: it is a natural sweetener that can replace synthetic sweeteners that are not without health risks.

Steviols glycosides are not fermentable, cannot be digested, so they have almost no caloric power.

Stevia has a bright future in modern food

In June 2008, WHO authorized steroids in human food and launched the massive use of this new natural sweetener by major food processors such as Coca-Cola. Pepsi Cola’s SoBe Life line is “sweet” at baudioside A.

Culture of stevia in France

Stevia is sold as dried, cut and pulverized leaves in the form of white powder or liquid.

The rearguard fight of Aspartame

The conservatism of chemical sweetener producers may explain the French authorities’ caution until 2007. Yet toxicologists and specialists know that aspartame poses health risks. Synthetic sweeteners whose leaders are a subsidiary of Monsanto, Searle, Cargill, and Ajimoto, represent a market of more than $1.5 billion.

The Stevia in the kitchen

What does Stevia taste like?

The Stevia is a bit like liquorice, a slightly different flavour from traditional sweeteners.Stevia is very appreciated in case of diet and for people who cannot consume real sugar.In addition, since the Stevia can be heated up to 200°C, it is easy to use in the kitchen or in pastry.

Sucre Stévia Taken for centuries by the Guarani Indians, the Stévia is used in cooking to sweeten yogurt, teas, fruit salads, and pastries. … Substituting sugar in all circumstances, it has a sweet and sweet flavour with very pleasant plant and licorice stick notes.

Finally, the only small flaw in this new natural sweetener is paradoxically to maintain the taste of sugar. Some nutritionists point out that by deceiving the brain, like all synthetic sweeteners, the Stevia maintains the habit of eating too sweet. Nothing is perfect…

The organoleptic challenge of stevia

Especially since stevia has an aftertaste of licorice that doesn’t really please consumers and that manufacturers can’t eliminate, especially ultra-fresh dairy products. As of 2010, the Danone Group was the first to offer products at the Stévia but with some success: 7% of French households tested them but only a quarter bought them back. Danone finally kept only one of these products.

As a result, in 70% of cases in Europe stevia remains mixed with sugar. ‘There are few total substitutions, especially reformulations of stevia products to reduce sugar content. ‘

That said, the growth prospects are very good for stevia despite the delicate question of taste because currently, on the market, raw materials are more and more expensive. The price gap in favour of stevia remains very large compared to natural sugar and other sweeteners. Industrialists are increasing the number of product launches and demand is increasing by about 50% per year on average. Many markets would like to have such growth!

Written by Consoglobe