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How wholesome is in actual fact the stevia sweetener?

Are you able to think about a sugar that’s truly wholesome and never containing any energy? That’s what they are saying stevia is, a wholesome different to sucrose or different synthetic sweeteners reminiscent of saccharin. However is it as wholesome and non-artificial because it has been reported to be within the media? Discover on this weblog publish all the things it’s good to perceive stevia!

Stevia rebaudiana is a small perennial rising as much as 65−80 cm tall, with sessile, oppositely organized leaves. Totally different species of Stevia include a number of potential sweetening compounds, with S. rebaudiana being the sweetest of all. This plant was first delivered to the eye of the remainder of the world by the botanist Moises Santiago Bertoni in 1887, who discovered of its properties from the Paraguayan Indians. The chemical characterization of the pure constituents of the plant often called steviol glycosides, that are chargeable for its distinct candy style, was not recognized till 1931 when stevioside, a main steviol glycoside, was first remoted from stevia leaves.

Moises Santiago Bertoni
Botanist Moises Santiago Bertoni. Picture credit score: Alchetron.

However how these famend plant-based glycosides obtained into our dishes? In line with literature, Japan was the primary nation to commercialize and use crude, unpurified extracts of S. rebaudiana within the Seventies on a big scale. Its use finally unfold to a number of international locations in Asia and Latin America. However when stevia made it into the US as a dietary complement in well being meals shops, it was reported to have a liquorice flavour with a candy or bitter aftertaste, limiting their widespread industrial improvement. This was because of the presence of important oils, tannins, and flavonoids within the crude extracts. In consequence, the meals trade made efforts to purify extracts and chemically characterize steviol glycosides.

After the isolation of stevioside, a number of different steviol glycosides, reminiscent of rebaudiosides (Reb) A, B, C, D, and E and dulcoside A, have been recognized and remoted from stevia leaves. Typically, essentially the most ample steviol glycosides in stevia leaves are stevioside (4–13%), Reb A (2–4%), and Reb C (1–2%).

Steviol glycosides
Chemical construction of some steviol glycosides. Picture credit score: ResearchGate.

At current, high-purity steviol glycosides are accepted as sweeteners by all main regulatory authorities throughout the globe, and >150 international locations have accepted or adopted its use in meals and drinks. Reb A was the primary industrial steviol glycoside launched within the market.

However are our guts truly able to degrading these highly-purified stevia compounds? It appears they’re! The absorption, metabolism, and excretion of steviol glycosides have been extensively reviewed by a number of scientific authorities and consultants, together with the European Meals Security Authority (EFSA). Steviol glycosides are undigested within the higher gastrointestinal tract. They’re hydrolyzed or degraded solely after they come into contact with microbiota within the colon that cleave the glycosidic linkages, eradicating the sugar moieties, forsaking the steviol spine that’s absorbed systemically, glucuronidated within the liver, and excreted through urine in people.


The protection of steviol glycosides from quite a few toxicological, organic, and medical research has been reviewed in a number of publications, and actually, all main international scientific and regulatory our bodies have decided high-purity steviol glycosides to be secure for consumption by

Steviol glycoside metabolism in humans
Steviol glycoside metabolism in people. Picture credit score: The Journal of Diet (see references beneath).

the overall inhabitants.

It’s well-known that a number of international and country-level authoritative dietary pointers suggest a discount in added-sugar consumption because of the rising prevalence of obese, weight problems, and diabetes around the globe. These pointers embrace suggestions to maintain added-sugar consumption to <10% of complete calorie consumption, and as little as 5% for added well being advantages. Consequently, the alternative of caloric sweeteners in meals and drinks with high-purity stevia leaf extract sweeteners (i.e., steviol glycosides) is a helpful and cost-effective device in lowering added sugar consumption.



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