Natural sweeteners

Erythritol Stevia  Xylitol 

This is a list of low GI natural sweeteners used internationally. In red are the most frequently used confectionery sweeteners.

We only sell stevia & erythritol blends, xylitol and plain erythritol, which you can find in our natural sweeteners category

 
Name            Comments
Brazzein         Protein
Curculin         Protein
Erythritol       polyol most often derived from corn, occurs naturally in plants
Glycyrrhizin    the main sweet-tasting compound from liquorice root
Glycerol         E422
Inulin           a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants
Isomalt       E953
Lactitol        E966
Luo han guo aka Monk Fruit, native to China used throughout Asia. Part of the gourd or cucurbitaceae family which includes cucumber, pumpkin, watermelon & squash
Mabinlin     Protein
Maltitol         E965 polyol most often derivede from corn starch, occurs naturally in plants
Malto-oligosaccharide
Mannitol      E421 polyol Found in a wide variety of natural products, including almost all plants.  This allows for direct extraction from natural products, rather than chemical or biological syntheses
Miraculin      a natural sugar substitute, a glycoprotein extracted from the fruit(berry) of Synsepalum dulcificum, native to West Africa
Monatin       Naturally-occurring sweetener isolated from the plant Sclerochiton ilicifolius
Monellin      Protein; the sweetening ingredient in serendipity berries - a tropical dioecious rainforest vine in the family Menispermaceae. It is native throughout most of tropical Africa.
Osladin         naturally occurring sugar isolated from the rhizome of a fern
Pentadin       Protein
Polyglycitol Naturally occurring polyol. It consists of maltitol and sorbitol as well as small amount of other sugars.
Sorbitol        Naturally occurring E420 polyol aka Glucitol found in apples, pears, peaches, & prunes. Has 1/3 of the calories of sugar. 
Stevia*           Rebaudioside A, a steviol glycoside derived from the Stevia herb
Tagatose       a natural sweetener present in fruits, cacao, and dairy products. 92% as sweet as sugar, but with only 38% of the calories
Thaumatin   Protein; E957
Xylitol            E967 (polyol) derived mostly from birch trees or corn

*More about Stevia from an Australian Nutrition Scientist
 

I'm not sure how it began, but there is a misconception about stevia among some lay people and even science writers that requires urgent rectification. I often see stevia, in print and conversation, included among artificial sweeteners. 

If the argument is that stevia is processed, well what sweetener isn't? Unless you're cutting your own sugar cane and dripping it directly into your coffee or onto your cereal, your sucrose is processed. Unless you're removing it from a beehive, your honey is processed. So it goes on and on for all naturally-derived sweeteners. Stevia extracts come from the leaves of the stevia plant. I do not know how else to explain that this is a natural sweetener if the fact that it's a plant doesn't! 

The extraction method is not that dissimilar to that of cane sugar, which firstly uses water but then requires  the addition, and consequent removal, of chemical compounds for clarification and sedimentation (Stevia Shantanu 2018).

It is possible there is 'fear of the unknown' at play here, so to that end I will try to provide some information which may help put stevia into it's proper camp of 'natural sweetener' once and for all. 

Stevia Rebaudiana is part of the Asteraceae family of plants which includes daisies, sunflowers, artichokes and dahlias. Native to South America, it has continuously been used extensively by the native people of Paraguay and Brazil for medicinal as well as sweetening purposes for hundreds of years (that we know of). 

Stevioside and rebaudioside A (Reb A) represent 5–10% and 2–4% weight/weight (dry) of the leaves, with the latter being the sweetest of the two better known compounds.  However, there are several other glycosides such as rebaudiosides B, C, D, E & F, dulcoside A, rubusoside, and steviolbioside (Goyal, Samsher & Goyal 2009)(Ashok, Singh & Dhyani 2011). 

Reb A is used as a sucrose substitute by the food industry, whereas stevioside is said to have therapeutic applications for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, obesity, prevention of cavities, and high blood pressure (Bariocanal et al. 2008)(Das, Dang & Gupta 2009)(Abou-Arab, Abou-Arab & Abu-Salem 2010)(Preethi et al. 2011), though more research is needed. 

Besides steviol glycosides, Stevia Rebaudiana has more than 100 phytochemicals and other compounds including numerous di- and triterpenes,  tannins, steroids, flavonoids, b-carotene, minerals including chromium, cobalt, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc and phosphorus, vitamins including riboflavin and thiamine, as well as caffeic and chlorogenic acids (Bakar et al. 2014). 

As anyone that has ever bought stevia powder knows, extracted Reb A is very fine, so it is often paired with a crystalline 'carrier' in order to resemble table sugar as much as possible. The easier we make substitution, the more likely it is to be adopted. 

The most often utilised carrier is the polyol erythritol, which is another natural sweetener derived from birch trees or corn. A well known supermarket brand is Natvia

By far the biggest complaint about stevia is the after taste. To some it tastes bitter, but I am clearly one of the lucky ones, because even though there is definitely an after taste, it is nothing but pleasant to me.  You will never know until you give it a go, and there are differences in Reb A quality among brands, so you might have to try a few. If you have a sweet tooth and/or struggle to control your blood sugar, stevia is an excellent substitute.  

If you really want to start an argument, just ask people what they think of coriander aka cilantro! I love it, my mother despises it, many say it tastes like soap. Sounds like a good subject for a future article about our tastebuds... 

References: 

Abou-Arab AE, Abou-Arab AA, Abu-Salem MF 2010, 'Physicochemical assessment of natural sweeteners steviosides produced from S. rebaudiana Bertoni plant', African Journal of Food Science, vol. 4, pp. 269–281. 

Ashok KYS, Singh D, Dhyani Ahuj PS 2011, 'A review on the improvement of S. rebaudiana [S. rebaudiana (Bertoni)]', Canadian Journal of Plant Science, vol. 91, pp. 1–27. 

Bakar S, Rahman MMR, Hossain MA, Rashid MA 2014, 'Phytochemical screening and comparative antimicrobial potential of different extracts of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni leaves', Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, vol. 4, pp. 275–280 

Barriocanal L, Palacios M, Benitez G, Benitez S, Jime´nez N, Rojas V 2008, 'Apparent lack of pharmacological effect of steviol glycosides used as sweetener in humans. A pilot study of repeated exposures in some normotensive and hypotensive individuals and in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics', Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology, vol. 51, pp. 37–41. 

Das K, Dang R, Gupta N 2009, 'Comparative antimicrobial potential of different extracts of leaves of S. rebaudiana Bert', International Journal of Natural & Engineering Sciences, vol. 3, pp. 65–68. 

Doherty, WOS, Fellows, CM, Gorjian, S, Senogles, E and Cheung, WH 2003, 'Flocculation and sedimentation of cane sugar juice particles with cationic homo- and copolymers', Journal of Applied Polymer Science, vol.  90, no. 1, pp. 316-325. 

Goyal SK, Samsher, Goyal RK 2009, 'Stevia (S. rebaudiana) a biosweetener: A review', International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 1-10. 

Preethi D, Sridhar TM, Josthna P, Naidu CV 2011, 'Studies on antibacterial activity, phytochemical analysis of S. rebaudiana (Bert.)— An important calorie free biosweetener', Journal of Ecobiotechnology, vol. 3, pp. 5–10. 

Stevia Shantanu 2018, New Extraction Methods, https://www.steviashantanu.com/new-extraction-methods>

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