O, sweet stevia | SunStar

THE great issue in relation to food sweetening today is that table sugar (technically, sucrose) as food sweetener is facing growing resistance around the world due to its high caloric content.

Currently popular artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, high fructose syrup and others, had been associated with adverse health effects.

Stevia rebaudiana delivers a new hope for bottled beverage drinkers. It provides a good source of natural high-potency sweetness minus the high caloric content. Its sweetness comes from its contents of sweet-tasting steviol glycosides.

The stevia plant family, particularly the leaf extract, had been used in South America for hundreds of years. Of all species in the family, Stevia rebaudiana is the sweetest. It is also used as sweetener in Japan, Brazil and Paraguay where it was being used to control diabetes and obesity.

Rebaudioside M, a minor component of stevia, also has low bitterness, low astringency and low lingering bitter aftertaste compared to other steviol glycosides, such as Rebaudioside A. The bitter aftertaste is evidently caused by sesquiterpene lactones, stevioside and Rebaudioside A. However, Rebaudioside A is the sweetest and most stable of the rebaudiosides. Rebaudioside D is also as sweet as Rebaudioside A.

Above all else, Stevia is 100 percent natural compound, 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar, heat stable up to 198 degrees Centigrade and non-fermentable.

Beyond the sweetness, stevia contains 0.97 mg iron per gram Stevia powder and 1.47 mg calcium per gram. It contains 15.2 fiber, 11.2 percent protein, 1.78 percent potassium and 1.9 percent fat. It also contains micro levels of aluminium, manganese, phosphorus, chromium, selenium, cobalt, silicon, sodium, tin, iron and magnesium in addition to 82.3 percent water content.

It is good news to me because it allows me the confidence of the new formulation of my favorite carbonated drink without reservations on high caloric intake and the dangers associated…

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