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Natural low-calorie high-potency sweeteners from Stevia

Identification

Key words Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, sweetener, sugar replacer, low-calorie, steviol glycoside, stevioside, rebaudioside A
Latest version 2012/06/29
Completed by KU Leuven LFT

How does it work?

Primary objective low-calorie sweetening
Working principle Extracts of the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. contain at least 8 sweet-tasting compounds, rebaudioside A and steivioside being the major ones. These compounds are up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose, and have no nutritional value, thus can be used as low-calorie sugar replacers.
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Additional effects Many pharmacological effects have been attributed to stevioside (or its pre-absorption metabolite steviol) and rebaudioside A (as for instance reviewed in (1)), although not all effects have been confirmed and mechanistic studies still need to be performed:
  • Antihyperglycemic effects: lowering of glucose absorption, lowering of glucose synthesis, stimulation of insulin secretion and increased insulin sensitivity
  • Antihypertension effects, without the risk of developing hypotension in healthy humans
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects
  • Antidiarrheal effects
  • Satiety effect is similar to sucrose-containing meals, despite the lower calorie intake. This is for instance also the case for another artificial sweetener, aspartame (2)
  • Decrease in dental plaque formation (3)

These sweet tasting compounds are in addition non-fermentative.

Negative effects include a post-bitter taste and unpleasant and undesirable aftertaste. This can be diminished by enzymatic modification (transglycosylation). In addition, removal of impurities can also improve some undesirable characteristics.

Important process parameters As a solid, stevioside is stable up to 140°C. In solution and above pH 2 it is stable for 2 h at 80°C (4). Both stevioside and rebaudioside have a relatively high photostability (5). Stevioside seems to be less thermostable (heating at 80°C) in carbonated drinks than rebaudioside A (6)
Important product parameters Complete purification of stevia leaf extracts to obtain pure glycosides is not necessary for it to become a commercially acceptable sweetener; however it can reduce the bitter taste.

What can it be used for?

Products sweetened beverages, coffee sweetener, chocolate, sweet food products for diabetics
Operations Food operations that do not include heating for a very long time in the wet state.
Solutions for short comings Natural sweetener for diabetics

What can it NOT be used for?

Products No specific restricted products.
Operations Food operations that include heating for a very long time in the wet state.
Other limitations along with sweetness, stevioside possess some bitterness and undesirable aftertaste
Risks or hazards The European Food Safety Authority’s scientific Panel on additives, the ANS Panel, has assessed the safety of steviol glycosides, sweeteners extracted from plant leaves, and established an Acceptable Daily Intake for their safe use (7).

Toxicological testing showed that the substances are not genotoxic, nor carcinogenic, or linked to any adverse effects on the reproductive human system or for the developing child. The Panel set an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 4 mg per kg body weight per day for steviol glycosides, a level consistent with that already established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). The Panel points out, however, that this ADI could be exceeded by both adults and children if these sweeteners are used at the maximum levels proposed by applicants.

Implementation

Maturity Stevioside and extracts of Stevia rebaudiana leaves are commercially available in many countries, including Japan and several South American countries as a sweetener for a variety of foods and beverages (14).
Modularity /Implementation Stevioside replaces sugar or other sweeteners.

Either Stevia extract or purified stevioside or rebaudioside A can be applied. For purification of stevioside, a multi-stage membrane process has been suggested (8).

Consumer aspects In the US, consumer acceptance of Stevia is comparable to that of established artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (9).

Some consumers concerns about taste and after-taste have been mentioned.

Legal aspects Recently (November 11th, 2011), the European Commission allowed the application of steviol glycosides, extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant, as sweetener at appropriate maximum use levels. (7).

Before, France (10) allowed the use of highly pure rebaudioside A and Switzerland (11) issued individual approvals of the use of stevioside as a food additive.

A German study under 33 producers of non-alcoholic beverages has shown that although 57% is aware of the existence of sweeteners from Stevia, only 9% has tested their application. In this group however, 97% wanted to implement them as soon as there is European legal acceptance (12).

Based on its review of information and data submitted by industry, FDA has concluded there is no basis to object to the use of certain refined Stevia preparations in food. These refined Stevia preparations may be lawfully marketed and added to food products sold in the United States of America (13).

Environmental aspects Steviol glycosides are natural products, however many extraction methods include the toxic organic solvent methanol.

Further Information

Institutes KU Leuven Biophys, EUSTAS, DIfE
Companies Granular, Anagalide
References 1. Chatsudthipong et al (2009) Stevioside and related compounds: therapeutic benefits beyond sweetness. Pharmacol Ther. 2009 121(1):41-54

2. Anton et al. (2010) Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite, 55, 37-43.

3. Blauth de Slavutzky (2010) Stevia and sucrose effect on plaque formation. J. Verbr. Lebensm. (2010) 5:213–216

4. Kroyer, (2010) Stevioside and Stevia-sweetener in food: application,stability and interaction with food ingredients J. Verbr. Lebensm. (2010) 5:225–229

5. Clos et al (2008) Photostability of Rebaudioside A and Stevioside in Beverages. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2008, 56, 8507–8513 6. Wölwer-Rieck et al. (2010) Investigations on the Stability of Stevioside and Rebaudioside A in Soft Drinks. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2010, 58, 12216–12220

7. COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1131/2011 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:295:0205:0211:EN:PDF

8. Vanneste et al (2011) Application of tailor-made membranes in a multi-stage process for the purification of sweeteners from Stevia rebaudiana. Journal of Food Engineering 103 (2011) 285–293

9. NPD (2010) Consumer Acceptance of Stevia in U.S. is On Par with Established Artificial Sweeteners, Reports NPD http://www.npd.com/press/releases/press_100719a.html

10. AFFSA (2008) http://www.anses.fr/Documents/AAAT2008sa0108EN.pdf

11. Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (2008)
http://www.bag.admin.ch/themen/lebensmittel/04861/04972/index.html?lang=en

12. Hansen (2010) Künftiger Einsatz von Steviolglykosiden: Ergebnisse einer Umfrage in der deutschen Getränkeindustrie J. Verbr. Lebensm. (2010) 5:237–239 – in German

13. FDA http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm194320.htm

14. Lemus-Mondaca, R., Vega-Gálvez, A., Zura-Bravo, L., Ah-Hen, K. (2012) Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, source of a high-potency natural sweetener: A comprehensive review on the biochemical, nutritional and functional aspects. Food Chemistry, 132, 1121-1132.

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Created by LiesbethV on 5 December 2011, at 14:27