A Sweetness Miracle

Why Stevia is the most sustainable source of natural sweetness nature can provide.

When compared with sugar cane, a stevia crop can produce 25 times the sweetness, and therefore use less land to produce more sweetness and produce more wealth to growers, than sugar cane or any other sweet crop. In a world of growing population, sustainability becomes critical. In a few Years, how much fertile land is devoted to a specific purpose in our culture, will be highly debated. In this context, energy coming for sugar has less and less value in our nutritional consciousness. So how does stevia perform this miracle? Let us tell you a story.

Several sources of sweetness can be found in nature. Historically, sweetness has been extracted from sugar cane and sugar beet, as saccharose and more recently from corn as High Fructose Corn Syrup. Aside from these well known crops, there are also other sources of natural, high intensity sweetness, which nature produces mainly as large molecules, called proteins, or other sweet molecules called glycosides.

Proteins have very high sweetness, but a sweetness which slowly increases after you taste it, and can last for several minutes.This is somehow deviated from our current expectations on the sweet taste. On the other hand, glycosides provide a sweetness which is more similar to sugar.

And where can these sweet compounds be found?

Proteins can be found in rare African fruits, such as Thaumatin, Brazzein or Monelin. On the other hand, glycosides are more abundant, and can be found in the Stevia Plant, in the Monk Fruit Shrub and in the Licorice Root. From these plants, while the sweet compounds are all over the leaves of stevia, they can be found in reduced quantities in the fruits from the Monk Fruit shrub, which is quite similar to cantaloups, and also reduced quantities in licorice roots.

The wonder of Stevia

So why is stevia so special, because while the Monk Fruit shrub with fruits has a low yield (less than 2% on weight of the fruits) and very specific conditions to grow (some specific landscapes in China), the stevia plant produces high quantities of sweetness (15% on its dry weight), with molecules which are 200 times as sweet as sugar. At the same time, it grows from the tropic to extreme weathers such as Canada or Argentina and China. When comparing the yield of stevia, with sugar cane and corn syrup, and its sweetness, the miracle of 25 times the sweetness is what can be obtained with stevia. So, when choosing natural stevia, you are selecting the most efficient and sustainable source of sweetness nature can give.