Thaumatin is highly water-soluble, stable to heat protein that is isolated from the katemfe fruit. It is also very stable under acidic conditions. The name of this sweetener is derived from the katemfe plant (botanical name – Thaumatococcus danielli) that is found in western Africa.

The first extraction of this sweetener happened in the 1970’s and around six grams can be obtained from 1 kg of fruit.

In 1840, British Army surgeon and botanist W. F. Daniell, during a posting in western Africa, first brought to the attention of the western world the uses of this fruit.

It has been approved as a sweetener (it is listed as being 2000-3000 times sweeter than sugar) in Israel, the European Union (E957), and Japan. In the United States, it is GRAS – generally recognized as safe as a flavoring agent but not as a sweetener.

What is the taste of E957?

It has a sweet taste and a licorice aftertaste. Although very sweet, the sweetener’s taste is different from sugar and it builds very slowly.

Furthermore, it has been found to reduce the bitterness when added at remarkably low levels to Stevia extract, including Rebaudioside A. Moreover, is especially effective in obscuring the strange aftertaste of saccharin (an artificial sweetener discovered in 1879).

Uses

It is commonly used as a sweetener in flavoring palm wine, in cooking, or in making confections for children. More importantly, it is the sweetener of choice when it comes to “diet” sodas, jelly and gummy candies. You can also found it in fruit juices, coffee drinks, yogurts, chewing gum, milk products, desserts, jams, and many other products. In addition, it is used to improve the flavor of sodium and salt-reduced foods.

Side effects of thaumatin

According to some recent studies, the consumption of artificial sweeteners can help with weight loss while other studies show that these compounds can contribute to weight gain. It is also known that artificial sweeteners change the balance of gut microbe. When this happens, it ultimately leads to a higher glycemia and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

As a side note, both the consumption and the availability of artificial sweeteners have been constantly increasing in the United States.

Steviaartificial sweetener

Stevia is native to South America and Central American and has been used for many years in these regions as an alternative to sugar.

Steviol glycosides are produced from the leaves of this plant and are 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Additionally, table sugar has four calories per gram while S. glycoside has 0.2 calories.

Many people use this sweetener to sweeten beverages and desserts. It might be able to provide the sweetness that the people need without having to feel too guilty about how much sugar they consume. It is a very convenient sweetener because it dissolves fast to rapidly sweeten any food.

Side effects of stevia

In the United State, in December of 2008, extract from this plant was finally approved by the FDA for use as a general purpose sweetener. However, FDA has not approved the whole-leaf or crude stevia to be used as a food additive because of the potential adverse effects.

For instance, consumption of this sweetener can lead to sore muscles or a feeling of dizziness and numbness when moving or standing up. Moreover, in preliminary studies, it is linked with cancer because it can be converted into a mutagenic substance. This may lead to cancer by causing mutations in the cells’ DNA.

Steviosides, the main substances in this plant, can irritate your tummy which will lead to decreased appetite and flatulence. Ingesting foods with this sweetener leads to a false sense of fullness because it is “sweet” on the palate, hence your body estimated that is receiving sugar and prepare itself to do so. This might lead to further complications in the long term.

Type 2 diabetes Mellitus is one of the most frequent disorders of the modern time and the high calories intake from fat is largely responsible for this condition. Research shows that this sweetener lowers glycemia, some scientists feel that it limits the body’s ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Some people also develop an allergic reaction to this sweetener and signs and symptoms include – difficulty swallowing, dizziness, hives, wheezing, weakness, shortness of breath, or pale skin. On some very rare occasions, it has been documented that this artificial sweetener can cause anaphylaxis (a severe allergic – sometimes fatal -reaction which needs to be treated immediately), but this is more frequent in individuals who are already experiencing allergies to marigolds, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20370653

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19961353

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376403/