Although it sounds new, erythritol (ear-RITH-ri-tall) has been around as long as grapes, peaches, pears, watermelons, and mushrooms. It is a kind of carbohydrate called sugar alcohol, and people use it as a substitute for sugar.
Erythritol is naturally found in certain foods. It is also made when wine, beer and cheese are fermented.
In addition to its natural form, erythritol has also been an artificial sweetener since 1990. You can find it and other sugar substitutes in stores and online.
It is also sold in bulk to companies that use it to increase or thicken products such as low-calorie and sugar-free foods and beverages. You will often find it mixed with popular sugar substitutes such as Aspartame, Stevia and Truvia to make them sweeter.
Calories. Sugar contains 4 calories per gram, but erythritol has zero calories. This is because your small intestine absorbs it quickly and excretes it through urine within 24 hours . This means that erythritol has no chance to "metabolize"-convert it into energy in your body.
Safety. Although erythritol is one of the newer sugar alcohols on the market—xylitol and mannitol have been around for longer periods—researchers have done a lot of research on animals and humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) approved erythritol in 1999, and the FDA also approved it in 2001.
Diabetics can also. Erythritol has no effect on glucose or insulin levels. If you have diabetes, this makes it a safe sugar substitute. Foods containing erythritol may still contain carbohydrates, calories and fat, so it is important to check the label.
taste. Erythritol tastes very sweet. It is similar to sugar.
appearance. It is white crystalline particles or powder.
How much can I eat? There are no official guidelines on the use of erythritol, but most people can handle 1 gram per kilogram of body weight per day . Therefore, if you weigh 150 pounds, you can tolerate 68 grams of erythritol per day, or more than 13 teaspoons.
How it is used. You can use erythritol like sugar. Stir it into your coffee or tea, sprinkle it on the grapefruit, or roast it with it. Remember, it is a sugar substitute, not real sugar, so the taste or consistency of the food you bake may be different from what you are used to.
side effect. Eating large amounts of sugar alcohol can cause bloating and stomach upset. Some sugar alcohols can cause flatulence and cramps when they reach the colon, or act like a laxative. However, erythritol is usually mostly absorbed before it reaches the colon and is excreted in the urine as it is. Excessive gas and laxative effects are possible, but people usually handle it better than other sugar alcohols, and it has no warning.
Good for your teeth. In most cases, the fine mouth bacteria will break down sugars and starches conventional, and converts them into acid. This will wear away your enamel and cause tooth decay . But the FDA stated that erythritol is good for oral health because it can slow the growth of a type of bacteria and reduce the acid produced by the bacteria.