What Is Erythritol?

April 5, 2010 in Natural Sweeteners by Webmaster

Erythritol, a type of natural sugar substitute which is about 70% as sweet as sucrose (common table sugar) is an odorless powder with a clean sweet taste that is similar to sucrose. Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling requirements, Essetially non-caloric Erythritol, has a caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram (that’s 95% less than sugar and other carbohydrates); although Japan and some countries label it at zero calories.

How Long Has Erythritol Been Around?

Erythritol has been part of the human diet for thousands of years, as it is naturally found in fruits such as pears, melons, grapes, and mushrooms. Erythritol is added to foods to provide sweetness, as well as enhance their taste and texture. Erythritol is on the FDA’s GRAS List (Generally Recognized As Safe).

Safe for Diabetics

Erythritol does not affect blood sugar; therefore, it is safe for people with diabetes. It can also be useful for those on carbohydrate-restricted diets; and for weight management.

Tooth-friendly – Does Not Cause Tooth Decay

Certified as tooth-friendly, erythritol cannot be metabolized by oral bacteria, and so does not contribute to tooth decay. Interestingly, erythritol exhibits some tendencies to “starve” harmful bacteria.

One of the Differences from Other Polyols?

Erythritol is tolerated much better in the digestive tract than other sugar alcohols or polyols, including xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol to name a few. This is good news for many people who have experienced the pains and unpleasantness of flatulence (gas or bloating), and/or diarrhea. In the body, erythritol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream in the small intestine, and then for the most part is excreted unchanged in the urine within 24 hours. Because erythritol is normally absorbed before it enters the large intestine, it is unlikely to cause the gastric side effects of other sugar alcohols. Therefore, most people will consume erythritol with no side effects.