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La Nouba Chocolate Marshmallows, 60g
Chocolate Marshmallows produced by Belgian manufacturer La Nouba, sweetened with a mixture of sweeteners instead of sugar
It-No:    7223
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GBP:    £1.99

 
Blanxart White Chocolate with Raspberries, 100g Bar
Blanxart White Chocolate with Raspberries, sweetened with Maltitol instead of sugar.
It-No:    8392
Price:    3.95€ (3.95€/100g)
GBP:    £3.50

 
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was it illegal to sell stevia as a food before December 2011?
What is the difference between "stevioside" and "rebaudioside"?
Why are stevia products marked with percentages?
Are there maximum daily intake amounts for stevia products?
How does the extraction of steviolglycosides work?
Why isn't Daforto Stevia Plus suitable for the production of beverages?
Why was it illegal to sell stevia as a food before December 2011?

Until december 2011, stevia was affected by the so-called "novel food regulation" which meant that stevia was not allowed to be advertised and sold as a food within the borders of the European Union. The "novel food regulation" came into effect in 1997, and says that all food products that have had no "significant history of consumption" before 1997 are not allowed to be sold until they pass an approval procedure. The question whether stevia was "consumed significantly" before 1997 or not was the subject of several lawsuits which took years to settle. Permissions were rarely granted and only in individual cases.

In order to receive permission to sell stevia as a foodstuff, the approval procedure dictated by the "novel food regulation" had to be carried out succesfully. To attain that permission, a product needs to be tested and found to have no significant averse affects on human health. Experiences from other countries and/or studies from abroad are irrelevant for that process. In April 2010, the European Food Safety Authority (an agency of the European Union which works as a consultant for questions on the risk of food products) decided that stevia products are harmless as long as they aren't taken in excessive amounts. In July 2011, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain came to the same conclusion. Consequently, the European Commission decided in November 2011 to allow the use of steviolglycosides in the food sector starting December 2011.
Molecular structure of stevioside
What is the difference between "stevioside" and "rebaudioside"?

The sweetness of the stevia leaves is caused by eight glycosides contained within the leaves. These glycosides are stevioside, rebaudioside A, C, D, E and F, steviolbioside and dulcoside A. Stevioside is the most abundant of these components; the leaves of some cultures contain up to 18 percent stevioside. Since stevioside can generate a sweetness that exceeds that of saccharose by a factor of 400, it is the main cause for the sweetness of the stevia leaves.

Stevioside, the rebaudiosides A and C as well as dulcoside A are known as the four most important steviol glycosides. Rebaudioside A has the best sensory attributes among them: it is the sweetest one and appears to be the least bitter ingredient. If the stevia products contain nearly pure rebaudioside A or stevioside, no bitter flavour is noticeable.
Why are stevia products marked with percentages?

Reliable suppliers of stevia products show the exact purity of the sweetness-generating ingredient(s) (steviol glycosides) in their stevia extracts. This purity is noted as percentages.

Stevia products can taste both sweet and bitter at the same time - while the first effect is desired, the second one understandably is not. The general rule is: the lesser the purity, the lesser the sweetness and the larger the bitter effect. Products with a smaller purity are cheaper, but there is no practical use for them.

If stevia products are offered without a specification of the purity of the steviol glycosides, it is not possible to anticipate how they taste, and it may be wasted money to buy them.
Are there maximum daily intake amounts for stevia products?

For every food additive, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) determine a so-called "ADI value" (Acceptable Daily Intake). The ADI value quantifies the maximum amount of a food additive that can be consumed by a person without concern on a daily basis. It is calculated based on a lifelong consumption of the specific food additive.

For stevia, an ADI value of 4 milligrams of "steviol equivalents" per kilograms of body weight per day was determined. A "steviol equivalent" is not the same as a steviolglycoside. Instead, steviolglycosides can be converted into "steviol equivalents". To do so, a conversion factor has to be used. For stevioside, the conversion factor is 0.40. Therefore, 10 mg of stevioside per kilograms of body weight per day equals the ADI value of "steviol equivalents" (4 : 0.4 = 10). For rebaudioside A, the factor is 0.33, so 12 mg of rebaudioside A per kilograms of body weight per day equals the ADI value (4 : 0.33 = ca. 12).

Too complicated? To make things much simpler, the below is a conversion table of Daforto stevia products including the parameters of EFSA and JECFA:

 Child (30kg)Adult (60kg)
Gold0.36g (as sweet as 175g of sugar)0.73g (349g of sugar)
Basic0.31g (78g of sugar)0.63g (156g of sugar)
Plus9g (90g of sugar)18g (180g of sugar)
Easy36g (72g of sugar)72g (144g of sugar)
Liquid59 drops (59g of sugar)118 dr. (118g of sugar)
Tablets17 tablets (51g of sugar)34 tabs (102g of sugar)
How does the extraction of steviolglycosides work?

The extraction process of steviolglycosides from the leaves of the stevia plant is comprised of two main phases. Phase one includes water extraction of the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni plant, and a preliminary purification of the extract by employing an ion exchange chromatography. In the second phase, the recrystallisation of the steviolglycosides occurs. To make a long story short: the stevia leaves become dissolved and filtered, then the glycosides become crystallised.
Why isn't Daforto Stevia Plus suitable for the production of beverages?

Daforto Stevia Plus contains "Erythritol". Erythritol is a so-called "sugar alcohol". Despite the name, that term describes a group of materials which aren't neither sugar nor alcohol, even though they have some chemical similarities to both. Erythritol is found naturally in some fruits (water melons, pears and grapes), mushrooms, fermented foods (soy sauce, rice wine and beer), and cheese. It is very similar to sugar regarding the consistency and taste, but it contains no calories. The disadvantage of erythritol in comparison to stevia is its low level of sweetness (it is only half as sweet as sugar). On the other hand, erythritol and stevia can balance out their opposite disadvantages: stevia can make erythritol really sweet, and erythritol gives the missing volume to stevia, so the problem of dosification can be solved. Erythritol was allowed to be sold as a food additive within the borders of the European Union in 2008 (as "E 968").

For sugar alcohols, the European Union demands two notifications on their labels. The first note is "excessive consumption can have a laxative effect". This side effect applies to erythritol much more rarely than it applies to all the other sugar alcohols though. Secondly, it has to be noted that sugar alcohols are "not suitable for the production of beverages". People often drink excessive amounts of beverages even when not thirsty, in contrast to excessive overeating, which is much rarer. This label is in place to avoid potentially unhealthy intake levels. Again, the side effect applies to erythritol more rarely than it does to the other sugar alcohols, but the EU regulation has to be followed.
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