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Stevia, a solution to reduce sugar consumption?

Stevia, a solution to reduce sugar consumption?

The stevia is a plant of South America used for a very long time by the inhabitants of this continent as natural sweetener. His sweetening power is from 200 to 300 times superior in that of the sugar for a calorie no value.

The French Agency of sanitary safety of food (AFSSA) expressed its favorable opinion in 2009 to provide to use the stevia in France as alternative food complement in the sugar.The European Authority of food safety (EFSA) also expressed a positive opinion in 2010. The stevia does he represent a real alternative to the sugar? What are his benefactions for the health? Are there dangers to consume of stevia?

What is the stevia?

The stevia is a plant of the family of Asteraceae as tarragon, thistle, dandelion, gerbera, etc. He appears in the form of a small shrub. It is his sheets which are used in the food to replace the sugar, have been dried and reduced powder. The sweetener extracts of stevia contains glycosides of stéviol, presents naturally in the plant. The components of these glycosides (in particular the stévioside and the rébaudioside A) give the flavor sweetened in this sweetener. The sweet sensation freed by the stevia is different from that of saccharose, that is some sugar which we find on the market. She is indeed later and more persistent with a bitter aftertaste of licorice not always appreciated.

We find the stevia in two main forms in trade:

Powder: once dried and crushed, the sheets of stevia are transformed powder. The sweetening power of this powder is 10-15 times upper to that of the sugar

In extract normalized of stevia: it is a soluble white powder in the compound water of at least 90 % of stéviosides, consisted in the sweet flavor, naturally present in the sheet of stevia. His sweetening power is of 300 times upper to the sugar.

The components of stevia have the advantage not to be transformed when they are warmed. So, the stevia can be used as sweetener in ready-made meal or cake stores. In France, its use as food sweetener is authorized in the elaboration of sweet soft drinks.

Europe defined, as for her, the categories of food groups for which the use of stevia is authorized: the flavored soft drinks, the beers, the ice creams, the preparations with vegetables and with fruits, jams, chocolates, sweets, chewing gum, cereal to have breakfast, the desserts, the sauces, the food complements and the sweeteners of table.

An alternative to help reduce sugar consumption

One of the biggest advantages of stevia is that it has no calorie value, unlike sugar. This natural product is therefore a good alternative to sugar itself but also to synthetic sweeteners for people who are on a diet or who wish to reduce their sugar intake for health reasons, without depriving yourself of sweet food.

Given the high sweetness of stevia compared to sugar, the quantities consumed are automatically lower and, without being scientifically proven, This decrease in sugar consumption can help fight certain diseases such as diabetes. Choosing stevia as a sweetener increases glucose tolerance and lowers blood levels.

Stevia also has the advantage of containing many trace elements and vitamins. Its potassium content, for example, helps regulate blood pressure.

Similarly, replacing sugar with stevia tends to limit tooth decay since its consumption is more limited, but also because stevia inhibits the growth of bacteria.

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.

However, stevia consumption must remain measured.

If stevia is a plant and therefore a natural product, the same is not true of the processes that lead to the final product, which can be chemical. In addition, agents intended to increase its volume and food additives, not always natural, are added to stevia. In the end, doubts can be expressed about its 100% natural side. In other words, as with other sweeteners, caution should be exercised with respect to the consumption of stevia, since the total safety of these products is not proven.

On the other hand, people with allergies to plants in the Asteraceae family should use stevia with caution. Pregnant and nursing women are also advised not to use stevia as a sweetener.

Publication: Senior Magazine