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The Development Of Stevia As The "Third Sugar Source In The World" And It's New Opportunities

Views: 10     Author: Golden Horizon (Chengdu) Technology Co., Ltd.     Publish Time: 2020-08-05      Origin: Golden Horizon (Chengdu) Technology Co., Ltd.

As competition in the food and beverage industry intensifies, more and more companies are constantly looking for breakthroughs in improving formulas to meet consumers' increasing health needs. Even the beverage giant Coca-Cola is constantly updating and iterating on the selection of sweeteners, just to tear off the popular "high sugar" label of carbonated drinks.


As a non-calorie natural sweetener extracted from pure plants, stevia has become a healthy and natural choice sought after by major brands, leading food and beverage brands to open new chapters. Before imagining the future of the application of this natural sweetener, let us review the first half of this star ingredient. Here, you can read about the power of a small leaf and its new opportunities in the global health, natural food and beverage consumption storm.1

stevia extract


The Growing Obesity Problem Worldwide

The Opportunity For Natural Sweeteners Rises

In today’s world, obesity is becoming more and more serious. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as a body mass index BMI greater than 30kg/m2. From its statistical data, whether it is male or female, in North America, the Middle East & North Africa, adulthood The incidence of human obesity is particularly serious, and the problem of obesity in Asia is becoming more and more serious, and the degree of deterioration is gradually accelerating.

 natural sweetener

Health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, mood disorders, cancer risk and so on caused by obesity have also become one of the focuses of people's attention. Data from the International Diabetes Federation predicts that by 2045,there will be 629 million people with diabetes worldwide, with a compound annual growth rate of 48%. These increasingly severe health problems have made people's demand for health and natural products more and more urgent, and the consumption of sugar has gradually decreased, and the opportunity for naturalsweeteners has risen.

 Diabetes Map 8th Edition Source International Diabetes Federation

                                                                                                  Diabetes Map 8th Edition | Source: International Diabetes Federation

The World's Third Sugar Source

Approved By All Major Regulatory Agencies

Stevia is derived from the leaf extract of a small perennial shrub Stevia rebaudiana. It contains no sugar and calories, and is known as the "third sugar source in the world". Statistics show that the local Guarani people in South America have used stevia as a medicinal herb or sugar substitute to sweeten beverages for a century. The Swiss Paraguayan botanist Moises Santiago Bertoni (living in Paraguay from 1887 to 1929) was the first to respond. This was recorded. At present, stevia is a sustainable economic crop that is grown on five continents.

The sweet components of stevia are called steviol glycosides, and they have a common steviol backbone (diterpene*-organic compound w/4 isoprene, which is the basis of other biologically active compounds, such as retinol) The number of glucose units and their arrangement on the steviol backbone are different, making each steviol glycoside have a unique taste and sweetness. Among them, Stevioside and Reb A are the most common, and their combined content accounts for 14-18% of the total components of stevia leaves.


Since two French scientists isolated and derived the unique sweetness ingredient-steviol glycosides of FusionExcel's stevia in 1931, it has gradually been approved by major regulatory agencies in various countries around the world, and has been approved for use in more than 100 countries around the world.


From the 1970s to the 1980s, Japan began to use stevia as a sweetener for food and beverages, and then South Korea, China, Malaysia, Latin America and other countries and regions gradually began to use it as a sweetener.


In 2008, high-purity steviol glycosides and Reb A were approved by the US GRAS (General Safety Certification).


In 2008, Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Agency approved the use of steviol glycosides, and expanded its scope in 2010 and 2017 respectively. The steviol glycoside ingredients that can be used today have been approved to expand to all glycosides extracted from stevia.

In 2010, the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, JECFA, designated 9 steviol glycosides (purity ≥95%) to be used in food and beverages, and determined that their daily allowable intake ADI is 0-4 mg/kg Steviol equivalent per day (high-purity stevioside with steviol glycoside content> 95%).


In 2011, the International Codex Alimentarius Commission CODEX adopted steviol glycosides as food additives and published food use standards; the European Food Safety Agency reviewed its safety and approved steviol glycosides to be used as sweeteners in the European Union.


In 2016, Canada issued an announcement stating that a variety of steviol glycosides were approved for use as sweeteners in foods; the Food Council of Health Canada conducted a detailed assessment of its safety and found no safety risks, and approved in 2017 All steviol glycosides derived from stevia are used as sweeteners in a series of foods.


Since 2017, organizations around the world have introduced new regulations on stevioside, including JECFA approval of all steviol glycoside specifications from the stevia plant, including all mixtures of steviol glycosides; China's National Health and Family Planning Commission approved the expansion of the use of steviol glycosides.

A brief review of the history of stevia's "being rectified", although the journey has been bumpy, but also worthy of pride.


Progress And Change Of Science And Technology

"Unchanged" Steviol Glycosides

The stevioside that we mentioned above has been continuously approved for use with two very important prerequisites:

(1) the naturalness of stevia is derived from the extraction of natural plants;

(2) the purity of 95% The above stevia is the prerequisite for obtaining approval.


However, the process of obtaining the desired purity of steviol glycoside powder greater than or equal to 95% involves a standard extraction process, similar to the extraction of sucrose from sugar cane. It is this purification process that makes some people question the "naturalness" of high-purity stevia.


▎During The Production Process, Steviol Glycosides Have Not Changed

A recent study in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology explored through experiments whether the original plant-derived steviol glycosides were affected by the typical commercial extraction and purification process of producing high-purity stevioside sweeteners, or were changed by this process.

The results confirmed that the three batches of high-purity powder and the steviol glycosides from the leaves found in the extract have the same molecular arrangement pattern, which indicates that no significant changes occurred in the large-scale commercial extraction and purification process of steviol glycosides. Modification or chemical reaction, under the traditional purification process conditions, steviol glycosides are very stable.


▎During Metabolism, Stevia Will Not Deposit Or Accumulate In Human Organs 

Different government departments or health agencies have already announced or confirmed the safety of stevioside itself, so people may still have a question. What happens after stevia is ingested through food and beverages? How will it react?


In fact, after entering the human body, stevioside is not digested or absorbed, but directly enters the colon, where colonic bacteria remove glucose from the side chain of glycosides, and steviol glycosides are continuously fermented and broken down into the steviol skeleton; stevia Alcohol is converted into steviol glucuronide by the liver, enters the blood, then flows through the kidneys, and is excreted in the urine. The heat impact is minimal. During this process, no stevioside (or any component or by-product of stevioside) will accumulate in the body.

In addition, many microbial, metabolic studies and animal experiments have confirmed the safety of steviol glycosides. In vitro microbial metabolism studies have shown that the metabolic results of all steviol glycosides in the gastrointestinal tract are the same; in vivo metabolism data show that experimental mice and humans have the same metabolic results of steviol glycosides. Therefore, under normal consumption levels, high-purity steviol glycosides used in food and beverages have no known adverse effects.


A New Chapter In a Healthy Lifestyle

Concern about obesity and the pursuit of high-quality life, consumers nowadays pay more and more attention to personal health, and the energy compensation of stevia and its positive role in weight management have opened up more markets. A new chapter.


The latest systematic review and meta-analysis in the International Journal of Obesity show that short-term and long-term intervention studies have shown that using low-calorie sweet LCS instead of sugar and water in children and adults can make energy intake and body weight statistically Significantly reduced.


As for eating foods containing stevioside, due to the relatively low energy intake, does it make the appetite widen and eat more calorie foods? There are also many experimental studies that have conducted in-depth explorations on this issue. A study in Appetite magazine showed that after pre-ingesting low-calorie foods, the food intake immediately following compensation is lower, and stevia leaf extract can help healthy individuals and diabetics control calories, carbohydrates and Sugar intake.


The latest stevia research shows that it is safe and suitable for diabetics without adverse effects; when used as a sweetener to replace calories and carbohydrates in food/beverages, it can help lower blood sugar. When the consumption of high-calorie foods is reduced through the consumption of stevia, the total energy intake is also reduced, and there is no excessive consumption. Just like the results observed from other zero/low-calorie sweeteners, one can expect that low-calorie foods and stevia beverages can also have long-term moderate effects on energy intake, body weight, BMI, and waist circumference. Over time, people would expect to see this effect translate into weight loss or weight maintenance.


So far, with the support of the global sugar reduction policy and the promotion of the national health trend, we have reason to believe that as part of a healthy lifestyle, the natural sweetener stevia can become a sharp tool for food and beverage brands to seize this market opportunity, and will Usher in a new future.


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