Gymnemic acids are glycosides isolated from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre (Asclepiadaceae). Gymnemic acids like ziziphin and hodulcine are anti-sweet compounds, or sweetness inhibitors. After chewing the leaves, solutions sweetened with sucrose taste like water.
More than 20 homologues of gymnemic acid are found in the leaves. Gymnemic acid 1 has the highest anti-sweet properties. It suppresses the sweetness of most of the sweeteners including intense artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and natural sweeteners such as thaumatin, a sweet protein. The anti-sweet activity is reversible, but sweetness recovery on the tongue can take more than 10 minutes.
- AD kinghorn and CM Compadre. Less common high-potency sweeteners. In Alternative Sweeteners: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, L O'Brien Nabors,Ed., New York, 1991. ISBN 0-8247-8475-8
- Kurihara, Y. 1992. Characteristics of antisweet substances, sweet proteins, and sweetness-inducing proteins. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 32:231-252.
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