Last week, on September 15-16, The 9th EUSTAS Stevia Symposium ”Stevia Science: from field to fork” was held at the department of Food and Bioscience at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Gothenburg. The purpose of the two day meeting has been to bring together basic and translational scientists, researchers and industry professionals to stimulate creative interaction and discussions around Stevia. Bayn has hosted EUSTAS, the scientific, non-profit association focusing on stevia, with the goal to connect stevia science to the industry.
”During the symposium we have heard lectures by top international experts in the field, summarizing what is scientifically know from cutting-edge Stevia research. Our aim is to reach and connect with the food and beverage industry to find more applications for Stevia,” said Prof. Jan Geuns, Chairman of EUSTAS.
One of the main challenges discussed during the Symposium was the taste challenge with using stevia in food.
”Stevia plays an important role in sugar reduction because it is the only high intensity sweetener of natural origin allowed in food and beverages within the EU today. For Stevia, there are still both challenges and opportunities to get the ingredient all the way from field to fork. We are happy to have seen so many researchers and academics gather during these two days to share their work and research and to engage in discussions about how this natural ingredient can contribute to a sustainable and healthier society”, Lucy Dahlgren, CEO of Bayn and co-host of the Symposium said.
Sandra Einerhand, PhD, talked about Stevia Product Benefits and Innovation challenges in sugar reduction.
”For the first time ever in history, the obese people outnumber the underweight in the world. Consumers in many countries around the world eat more sugar than is recommended by the WHO, which has major health as well as socio-economic consequences. Especially what you eat in the first 1000 days of your life has lifelong consequences. The epidemic rise in diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease due to the over-consumption of sugar has resulted in an increase of the consumer demand for alternative, natural, high intensity, low-carloie sweeteners as sugar substitutes in the diet.”
Per Bendix Jeppesen, from Aarhus University, Dept of Clinical Medicine presented a recent study where health aspects of replacing high fructose corn syrup with Rebaudioside A, a steviol glucoside from Stevia, were researched:
”Added sugar is believed to play a critical role in the epidemic of welfare diseases and in particular, fructose, has been shown to be directly diabetogenic. The intake of added sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consistently correlates with the increased risk for developing lifestyle diseases. During the study, 48 healthy male Wistar rats where assigned to four groups, and received diets high in fructose, aspartame, HFCS, and Rebaudioside A extracted from Stevia plant. The study showed that the fructose diet led to a significant increase in insulin resistance, and that a diet high in HFCS had a negative physiological impact in this study, while rebaudioside A and aspartame showed no negative effects. HFCS will be released to the European market in 2017.”
Kai Grevsen from Aarhus University, Department of Food Science, talked about an ongoing collaboration with Organic Denmark, organic growers and several industry partners, that are developing a Danish organic grown stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) to be used as a sweeteners in organic food products in the EU.
”Results of the 2nd year cultivation trials of organic stevia under Danish condition still seem promising for the new organic crop. Seven different varieties and clones of stevia selected in 2014 showed again a satisfactory yield of biomass and steviol glycoside content.”
EUSTAS is a scientific, non-profit association whose aim is the promotion and coordination of all activities focusing on research and health in relation to Stevia rebaudiana and related compounds, to show that they are safe for the human consumption. Read more at: eustas.org