Sunday, 29 July 2007

Stevia in Japan

Stevia based sweeteners have a history of about four decades in Japan. However, its main uses were limited to pickles and seasonings because of the licorice like aftertaste of stevioside. Unsurprisingly, major effords have been undertaken to decrease the ratio of stevioside to rebaudioside a, which is neatly reflected in the product line of dic (tyo:4631):

The Hoten variety was registered in 1987 and gave rise to the now standard grade Chrysanta® product that contains 60% rebaudioside. The Seiten variety from 1990 is used in manufacturing of the high grade product containing 80% rebaudioside. And the Shuten variety from 2001 made possible the highest grade product containing more than 90% rebaudioside.

Sweet, innit? One should have in mind, though, that fairly recent research by Dyrskog et al. have shown that, in contrast to stevioside, rebaudioside does not improve glycemic control or blood pressure…