Sweetness beyond labelling


¿How are labeling regulations evoving?

Several regulations are ruling our way out of an excessive consumption of sugar. The Nutri Score in France, UK and other European countries, the traffic light labeling of nutrients, and more recently the black signal regulations in Chile, Israel, Peru and Mexico, are making more and less successful efforts to communicate to consumers the nutritional quality of foods, and ultimately improving their behaviors. While some labeling regulations, like the Nutriscore, qualify foods in five categories resulting from their nutrition quality, other systems like the ecuatorian traffic light qualifies critical nutrients, like salts, sugar, calories and saturated fats in four categories (green, white, yellow and red). This seems to be a simple and educative method to let consumers choice.  Countries which have implemented black seals, like Chile, Israel or Peru, point into the nutrient density of the food, comparing at a 100g portion every food and setting challenging threshold to keep a product out of the black seal, especially when it comes to sugar. Any product having more sugar than plain milk receives the black seal. The upside of these regulation approach is the fact that there are no portion tricks to make a “bad product” look “good”. However, it is difficult to compare at the same weight a yoghurt, which you eat in 200 g portion, to butter, which you eat in 5 to 10 g portions.  Also, both approaches fail when comparing sugars which have a completely different metabolic fate. Therefore, a non- dairy milk equivalent sweetened with fructose or glucose based carbohydrates, would be rated the same than milk, which combination of sugars (glucose and galactose) is far better in terms of glycemic index and overall metabolic fate of the sugars it contains. Recently approved and published law in Mexico specifically created seals to dissuade consumers for using high levels of sugar, anything about 10% of the calories of the product supplied by sugar. However, just as products with medium /high levels of sugar will be sold with a Stop black seal “High in Sugars”, if you decide to replace any amount of sugar with a high intensity sweetener, even those which can provide synergies and benefits, such as stevia, you will need to write “Contains sweeteners, not recommended for kids”. Any reasonable person reading this will understand that from a marketing point of view, a product high in sugars will have higher chances to be accepted by a customer to a product with a reduced amount of sugar but containing sweeteners and showing a terrible note inviting children to stay away from the product. Therefore, the law is suggesting all and every food manufacturers to keep or replace back sugar into their foods, probably the opposite effect to that one first considered when designing the law.


So: What do we propose?

We consider that the problem is really about three key elements: Setting our metabolism back to the clockwork set up for which it was designed, and out of what is called the metabolic syndrome, and supporting this with reasonable physical activity.  In parallel, educate public and law makers in the needed differentiations among sugars, high intensity sweeteners and fats.


Better Labeling

A simple distinction in those sugar our body can process, turn into sugar or store properly, like glucose, and other which our body will have further difficulties to process, will deplete our phosphate cell reservoirs, and will ultimately increase our fat storage could make a world of differences. The same concept applies to the proper differentiation of fats. Highly oxidative oils should be properly differentiated and receive the right warning messages when compared when healthy fats like cocoa, olive oil and others, such as MCT oil.  This distinction could really stimulate producers to re formulate foods properly and society cash out the benefits of this reformulation.


Better Eating habits

When it comes to habits, this means, to consciously reduce the consumption of inflammatory foods or poor nutrients, like fructose or oxidative fats. This will allow our cell metabolism to go back to high mitochondrial energy and let our reservoirs of nutrients grow, together with cleaning up our nutrient signaling systems and ultimately allowing our metabolic machinery to re balance. The good news is that probably a pain less reduction in the consumption of sugars, the avoidance of artificial sweeteners and the right profile of fat consumption, can fix this enormous dis-balance produced by life style and could allow us to take our body back to a self regulated homeostatic state. Getting a diet where you get ideally below 50 g of sugar a day, and ideally 25 g, is not difficult at all. We can not only have a delicious diet below 50 g of sugar, but we can re balance your metabolism and have the sweet reward we deserve a few times a day, enriching our prebiotic feed and avoiding any damaging metabolic signals to our sweet and GLUT  receptors.


Better Body moving Habits

Finally, our last change relates to our physical habits.  Have you thought of muscle and fat as real organs of our body? Even 15 to 30 minutes of exercise a day can completely change the way your body deals with nutrition. A single cell does not make a change, but building muscle tissues is a full new opportunity to our bodies. It is like receiving a “brand new organ” capable of producing more energy (we can increase dramatically the capacity of our cells to produce more energy, through mitochondrial synthesis), store more glucose and react better to metabolic changes. Together, many cells of any kind can fully make a metabolic difference. The more muscle we have, the higher capacity we have to be more energetic, store glycogen and have glucose buffer capacity, as well as an overall wellbeing. The other way around happens with glucose craving, inflammatory fat cells. The more we have, they will behave like an inflammatory organ inside our bodies. And three weeks of a different habit can fully change the way this landscape looks like and feels, for one side or the other.



SWT: A Passion for Circular Economy

What would you do if you knew that the stevia plant provides 35X the sweetness that cane sugar delivers per hectare? And that the fully water process used to purify the stevia extracts allows water to be recycled with the same technology of sea desalinization, and to fractionate without the use of chemicals, not only the sweetness but also the noblest antioxidants that nature can deliver.

When your products are sweetened with SWT, it's not just a sweetness of excellence. It is about the efficient use of land, water and taking advantage of every property and opportunity that the cultivation of this spectacular plant allows us to provide you. Because it is not about an ingredient. We sweeten the story behind your products.

Our story is the story of a passion to promote a model of cultivation and a circular economy, which generates jobs and dreams of life from the field to a yoghurt or a glass of milk. With the musical passion of the Deep South of the United States, once dedicated to Tobacco and now to our sweet story, through the colors of Mexico to the beauty of the Patagonia in Chile.

This is SWT Stevia.

The Origin of Sweetness

SWT completes more than five years of collaborations with Wageningen Food Innovation. Through different projects we advance each day in the exciting world of sweetness. Bringing SWT's capabilities in the development of sweetening systems together with Wageningen's extensive knowledge in receptor technology, biochemical and functional implications of sweetness in metabolism and in cellular tissues, our collaboration has allowed us to unravel the phenomenology of sweetness and design new sweetening systems which pursue the quality and healthiness of sweetness.

We remain curious and humble to learn every day, and ensure healthy sweetening systems are not restricted only by labeling laws, but by the need to understand the bases of healthy sweetness and deliver them in those products that sweeten the lives of children in different parts of the world. Knowledge that is based on science.

Day after day, our clients benefit from bold and in-depth research, facilitated by CORFO-Chile High Technology.

Stevia helps in the fight against Diabetes

A recent study (2017) published by Nature found that steviol and steviol glycosides help in the control of Type II diabetes mellitus through the regulation of the TRPM5 mechanism. The study determined that the sweet compounds of the stevia plant act in the regulation of the complex mechanism existing in pancreas cells which regulate the release of insulin. The interesting thing is that the activity of stevia on this mechanism occurs only in the presence of high levels of glucose in the blood and not when glucose levels are low or normal. Although there is abundant literature on the potentially beneficial effects of stevia  related to the control of Type II Diabetes Mellitus, this is the first study that demonstrates the positive and beneficial effect of stevia natural glycosides on the mechanism of insulin production.

When are we really talking about stevia?

The annual meeting of CODEX held in February of this year (2018) settled the directives  for labeling those sweeteners identical to those produced by the stevia plant but synthesized through genetically modified yeasts (GMO). In particular CODEX determined that those extracts produced by fermentation or modified enzymatically should be identified with different INS ( E ) numbers  different from those produced by the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni plant. While an overall category INS  (E)960 will group all steviol glycosides INS  (E)960a  will be used for stevia plant synthesized glycosides with INS (E)960c for GMO yeast synthesized glycosides and further categories should be defined for enzymatically produced glycosides (whenever applications by manufacturers are submitted) which are not directly extracted from the plant. 

Juan Carlos Fischer the President of the American Federation of Stevia celebrated this news“We think this is excellent news for the benefit of the producers of stevia extracts and their crops, as it is a matter of common sense. Would it be conceivable to name a product as milk when there are no cows involved (dairy organizations are aggressively opposed to any hint, and even to the marketing on nearby shelves of these products) or tequila without agave or wine that does not come from grapes? Just as consumers and producers of these products do not accept misleading marketing, we believe it’s not conceivable to speak of Stevia, to make use of stevia leaves pictures or to suggest this name when the origins differ from the plant”. This has nothing to do with product quality or safety which is out of doubt but it has to do with consumer expectations on the natural origin of stevia.

La Stevia contra la Diabetes

Pruebas Científicas sobre los beneficios de la Stevia en la diabetes.

Un estudio recientemente (2017) publicado por la revista Nature determinó que el steviol y los glicósidos de steviol ayudan en el control de la diabetes mellitus Tipo II a través de la regulación del mecanismo TRPM5. El estudio determinó que los compuestos dulces de la planta de la stevia actúan en la regulación del complejo mecanismo existente en células del páncreas que regula la liberación de la insulina. Lo interesante es que la actividad de la stevia sobre este mecanismo se produce solamente en presencia de altos niveles de glucosa en la sangre y no cuando los niveles de glucosa son bajos o normales. Si bien existe abundante bibliografía sobre los posibles efectos benéficos de la stevia en ayudar al control de la Diabetes Mellitus Tipo II, este es el primer estudio que demuestra el efecto positivo y benéfico de los endulzantes de stevia en el mecanismo de producción de la insulina.


Link a la nota

Stevia o no Stevia

CODEX se pronuncia sobre la rotulación de endulzantes idénticos a los producidos por la planta de stevia, en términos de información al consumidor.

La reunión anual del CODEX, sostenida en Febrero del presente año, zanjó las directivas para rotular aquellos endulzantes idénticos a los producidos por la planta de la stevia, pero sintetizados a través de levaduras modificadas genéticamente. En particular, el CODEX determinó que aquellos extractos producidos por fermentación, o modificados enzimáticamente, deberán ser identificados con números INS diferentes a aquellos producidos por la planta Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni. Juan Carlos Fischer, Presidente de la Federación Americana de la Stevia, celebró esta noticia:

Nos parece una excelente noticia en beneficio de los productores de extractos de stevia y sus cultivos. Es un tema de sentido común. ¿Sería concebible denominar a un producto como leche, cuando no hay vacas involucradas (las organizaciones lácteas se oponen agresivamente a cualquier atisbo, e incluso a la comercialización en anaqueles cercanos de estos productos), de tequila sin agave o de vino que no provenga de uvas?. Al igual como consumidores y productores de este tipo de productos no aceptan publicidad o comercialización engañosa al respecto, creemos inconcebible hablar de Stevia o insinuar esta denominación cuando los orígenes difieren de la planta.