Studies reporting stevia’s photo-stability in beverages, Splenda’s effect on gut bacteria, and seaweed’s potential as a salt replacer, dominated September’s headlines.
Coca-Cola shows stevia’s photo-stability
A study by scientists at Coca-Cola, published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, reported that Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni)-derived sweetener rebaudioside A does not degrade in beverages on exposure to light.
“A very carefully controlled study was performed using validated analytical methods where all analytes present at significant levels (greater than 0.5 per cent) were known or identified and where all analytes greater than 0.1 per cent were quantified with primary reference standards,” wrote Coca-Cola’s John Clos, Grant DuBois, and Indra Prakash.
“With this study, we have demonstrated that rebaudioside A, as well as stevioside, is stable to sunlight exposure.”
Clos, DuBois, and Prakash formulated cola and lemon-lime beverages sweetened with rebaudioside A or stevioside or no sweetener.
Samples were exposed to sunlight (3,000 langleys) or protected from sunlight (control sample). At the end of the exposure period, a detailed analysis of the beverages was undertaken. Levels of rebaudioside A and stevioside in the light-exposed were within 3 to 7 per cent and 1 to 7 per cent of the control samples, respectively.
To read FoodNavigator.com’s in-depth reporting of the study, please click here .
Researchers from Duke University reported that Splenda and its key component sucralose may suppress beneficial bacteria in the gut, and cause weight gain.
According to findings published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, a 12-week feeding study with the sweetener also affected the expression of certain enzymes known to interfere with the absorption of nutrients and pharmaceuticals.
McNeil Nutritionals, the company behind Splenda, was quick to dismiss the study and draw attention to a number of other studies supporting the safety of the sweetener. The company questioned the methodology and the conclusions drawn by the researchers. Emphasis was also placed on the involvement of the Sugar Association as partial sponsor of the study.
A fact sheet from the company dismissed the study as “unreliable and reach[ing] unsupported conclusions”.
The company also claims the study “contravenes basic methodological standards for scientific research. It also ignores established FDA standards for Good Laboratory Practices.”
In correspondences with FoodNavigator.com, both the researchers and the Editor-in-Chief of the journal defended the methodology of the study.
To read our full account, please click here .
To read the reaction, please click here .
Seaweed as salt replacer
UK scientists, along with a joint Anglo-Norwegian venture, Seagreens, have reported that seaweed granules to replace salt (sodium chloride) in processed food.
Preliminry results from researchers at Sheffield Hallam University indicated that the granules may hold the key to reducing salt in foods without affecting the shelf life and taste of the product.
Dr Andrew Fairclough, who is leading the project at SHU, told FoodNavigator.com: “This will change the food industry, undoubtedly.”
Dr Fairclough told this website that the research was still in a relatively early stage, but a lot of investigation has already been carried out to prove the safety of the granules in terms of microbial load, and levels of organic pollutants and heavy metals.
To read our full report, please click here .