Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that has been approved for use in the United States and throughout the world. Erythritol is more natural than the myriad of artificial sweeteners that are currently on the market and has little to no effect on blood sugar; which means great things for diabetics. The sugar alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream but quickly excreted in urine. There is virtually no calories, carbohydrates or glycemic index but is more natural than artificial sweeteners that have long been peddled to diabetics and those with sugar sensitivities.
Erythritol can be used just about any way you would think to use sugar. It can be put in coffee or drinks to sweeten the beverage and can also be used in baking and food preparation. It comes in two forms; granulated and powdered. The granulated form looks very similar to traditional sugar however there have been reports that Erythritol remains grainy in this form unless dissolved in water. The powdered version thus is considered more useful for baking and other applications.
Erythritol is especially useful in baking. While it cannot mimic the exact effects of sugar it comes closer to producing a true “sugar” taste than any other product on the market. The powdered version is especially useful for cakes, brownies and even frostings that usually require a large quantity of confectioner’s sugar.
While in normal doses Erythritol doesn’t have any side effects there are some reported side effects when large quantities are ingested. When 50g or more are eaten nauseous and upset stomach may occur, however the likelihood of using that much of this sweetener is slim to none. The side effects are similar to the side effects reported for other sweeteners.
Stores in the United States, for some reason, have yet to pick up the product perhaps due to concerns about competition between erythritol and other artificial sweeteners. While Erythritol is a great substitute for sugar it is hard to find in stores, but can be easily obtained online in both powdered and granulated forms.