Thaumatin - The Sweetest Thing

 

Pure cane sugar or sucrose is the standard of sweeteners for taste and uses in food and beverage. Sucrose provides the taste that people expect in a sweetener. No one is allergic to sucrose. Even diabetics, who are sensitive to sucrose, may eat reasonable amounts.

However, all sugars have two problems, they cause tooth decay and carry a high caloric price tag. Sugar use over a long period also may induce serious medical conditions, diabetes.

Some people choose non-sugar/artificial sweeteners to avoid the ill effects of sugar. Unfortunately, it's now common knowledge that artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Sucralose are bad news and cause detrimental effects to a person’s health. According to some recent studies, compounds found in artificial sweeteners can actually contribute to weight gain. 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.

Luckily for us, there is an alternative and a very natural one at that: Thaumatin.


WHAT IS THAUMATIN?

Thaumatin comes from the Katemfe plant (Thaumatococcus Daniellii) which is native to Sudan and Western Africa. The Katemfe fruit contains 1-3 black seeds surrounded by a gel and capped with a membranous sac, the aril, which contains the 'sweet protein' Thaumatin.

Split katemfe fruit showing arils.Thaumatin is extracted from the arils of the Katemfe fruit.

 


THAUMATIN IS A COMPLETELY NATURAL SWEETENER

The first industrial extraction of this sweetener happened in the 1970’s. Thaumatin is isolated from the Katemfe fruit by water extraction and purified by selective ultrafiltration - a process that is 100% natural. Around six grams of Thaumatin can be obtained from 1kg of fruit.


THAUMATIN DOESN'T IMPACT BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS

Blood sugar spikes are caused by carbohydrates (starch and sugar in food) with a high glycemic index. Being a protein (207-amino acid chain), Thaumatin won’t cause any spike or even rise of your blood sugar level. It has a zero glycemic index, thus it is very suitable for diabetics.


THAUMATIN IS LOW-CALORIE

Most sugars carry about 4 calories per gram and will quickly increase your daily calorie intake. Thaumatin also has the same energetic values but it is an astonishing 2,000 sweeter than regular sugar, even 7 times sweeter than Stevia, making it the most potent natural sweetener. As a result, the amount of Thaumatin necessary to sweeten our protein powder (or any other food) is so marginal than it has an insignificant calorie contribution.


THAUMATIN BLENDS IN VERY WELL

Thaumatin's flavour is somewhat different from sugar. The slight licorice aftertaste is barely perceptible given the quantity used. Thaumatin also works very well as a flavour enhancer. When used in very tiny amounts it seems to bring out the flavours in food, perfect to help make the organic freeze-dried fruit powders we use in our blend more flavoursome. Thaumatin protein is highly water soluble and is heat-stable, which make it very suitable for cooking and for processed foods.

Whole Katemfe fruits on a Thaumatococcus Daniellii leaf.Katemfe fruits have been used as a sweetener by Western Africa natives for centuries.

 


THAUMATIN WON"T HARM YOUR TEETH

Worried about your pearly whites? Thaumatin is OK for your teeth! Like Stevia, Thaumatin is not a fermentable sugar, hence the bacteria that is present in the teeth or gums can’t produce the acid that harms your teeth and create decay.


THAUMATIN IS 100% SAFE

Thaumatin has been shown to have no adverse effects when consumed by humans. It actually has been used for centuries by natives of that geographical area to sweeten food. Only tiny amounts are ingested and the body is able to metabolize like like any other protein.

There are no known concerns around Thaumatin. Only tiny amounts are ingested and the body is able to metabolize it like any other protein.

Thaumatin has a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) approval in the USA and is an approved sweetener in Europe (reference E957).

Fun fact: only humans and primates are able to taste the sweetness of Thaumatin.

 

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