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One thing we’re all aware of in many products these days is the use of various synthetic or natural sweeteners, because no one likes just ordinary sugar anymore.

The downside to most of these sweeteners, even the natural ones, is that they can be harsh on our gut, and cause unwanted gastrointestinal issues, and may even alter the balance of bacteria found in our gut.

This is why Designer Physique uses Thaumatin as a natural sweetener, because not only is it possibly the lowest-calorie sweetener on the market, but it’s also extremely safe and gentle on the gut.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the benefits of Thaumatin, including why it tastes so great, and the extremely low safety profile that makes it perfect for someone looking to avoid some unwanted natural sweeteners, such as Stevia.

What is Thaumatin?

Thaumatin is a compound extracted from the Katemfe fruit (Thaumatococcus daniellii), which is found in Western Africa.

It’s actually estimated that Thaumatin is 2,000 times more sweetener than regular table sugar, which is why the calorie profile is also absolutely rock bottom because we don’t need a lot of it.

What’s even better, Thaumatin is also known as a flavour modifier, meaning it has the ability to mask unwanted after-tastes (Joseph et al., 2019), which allows for a better tasting plant protein powder or whey protein supplement.

Thaumatin practically allows us to deliver amazing tasting protein powder that is naturally sweetened, yields the lowest amount of calories, and still remains nutrient-dense and highly digestible.


Thaumatin is Extremely Safe

Of course, when we mention Thaumatin, people tend to scratch their heads, which in return questions the safety profile of this too-good-to-believe low-calorie natural sweetener.

Of course, we write a lot about the safety profile of Thaumatin in this article, although we want to re-iterate it further.

Thaumatin is actually listed in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants, alongside our beloved natural sweeteners Xylitol, and Stevia.

That being said though, the WHO doesn’t mention the potential of Xylitol (or other sugar alcohols) to cause some level of gastric disturbance or laxative effect (Lenhart & Cheycorr, 2017)

Thaumatin, on the other hand, has no documented effects on gut irritation, allergenic effects, or no potential to be toxic in any way, according to the research available by the WHO (World Health Organisation – Thaumatin, 1998). 

 

Thaumatin on the Gut

Given that there isn’t much at all documented on Thaumatin’s allergenic effects on the gastrointestinal system, it’s no surprise that it’s extremely gentle on the gut.

According to a study that assessed for irritation in humans, 25 volunteers chewed five 5.3g gum sticks per day containing Thaumatin, across a period of 28 days. The study went on to conclude no visible signs of irritation in oral mucosa, or any allergic responses at all (McLeod et al., 1981). Our oral mucosa is tightly related to our gut mucosa, so when we have signs of irritation in the mouth, it can also translate to unwanted gastrointestinal issues.

Of course, in this case, this data tells us that Thaumatin is extremely gentle on the gut.

On top of this low allergy profile, Thaumatin is shown to contain readily digestible proteins, meaning our gut has no issue digesting this low-calorie natural sweetener either (Edwards, 1981).

This digestibility profile means Thaumatin is completely inactivated when taken orally, which essentially means that on top of it making it easier to digest, it poses little to no harm to our body.

This is a reason why we love our range of plant protein powders, because whether you’re buying a pea protein or sprouted brown rice protein powder from Designer Physique, you can be sure the digestibility is high, and the allergy profile is extremely low!

Learn more about some of the 5 amazing benefits of pea protein powder here, or discover the nutrient-dense profile of our sprouted brown rice protein here!

The Takeaway

If you haven’t been convinced in the past that Thaumatin is one of the lowest calorie, extremely safe natural sweeteners on the market, hopefully now you have been.

Thaumatin provides an almost net-zero calorie yield per serve, and has the most promising documentation on its potential to be extremely gentle on our gut.

This is pretty much why Designer Physique include Thaumatin in almost all of our whey protein and plant protein powders, because not only does it keep calories down, but also enhances texture and taste profile.

This also makes our protein powders perfect for anyone struggling with gut issues, intolerances or restrictive diets, because, just like Thaumatin, we select ingredients that work best for practically everyone. 

Have you used one of our protein powders, and noticed a difference in taste, flavour and texture? What did you think? Let us know by leaving a comment!

 

References

  • Edwards, D.G. (1981). Talin (Thaumatin): Nitrogen digestibility in the rat. Unpublished report No. B.128 from RHM Research Ltd., High Wycombe, England. Submitted to WHO by Tate & Lyle PLC.
  • Joseph, J. A., Akkermans, S., Nimmegeers, P., & Van Impe, J. F. (2019). Bioproduction of the recombinant sweet protein Thaumatin: Current state of the art and perspectives. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00695
  • Lenhart, A., & Cheycorr, W. D. (2017). A systematic review of the effects of Polyols on gastrointestinal health and irritable bowel syndrome. Advances in Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.117.015560
  • MacLeod, G.L., Eaton, K.K., Daniel, J.W., Snodin, D.J., Higginbotham, J.D., & Waite, D. (1981). Assessment of oral sensitisation and irritation when formulated in peppermint chewing gum. Unpublished report submitted to WHO by Tate & Lyle PLC.
  • Scientific opinion on the safety and efficacy of thaumatin for all animal species. (2011). EFSA Journal, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2354

World Health Organisation – Thaumatin. (1998). 605. Thaumatin (WHO food additives series 20). INCHEM. https://inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v20je15.htm

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