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Erythritol – What You Need To Know

While it may sound intimidating, this no-impact sweetener is anything but scary. Being a sugar alcohol, it doesn’t effect blood sugar levels and is actually good for oral health!

Finding a substitute for sugar can be overwhelming given the amount of products available. It’s hard to know which ones are actually better for your health while offering a pleasant taste. You’ve probably heard of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame; many believe they’re a better alternative because they’ve been touted to provide weight-loss. However, studies have shown that’s not the case and being artificial, they aren’t the best option for health. That’s where natural sweeteners and sugar alcohols come in. Low-impact (has a low impact on blood sugar levels) and no-impact (has no impact on blood sugar levels) offerings make these natural alternatives a better choice and many come with extra nutrients and health benefits given their natural origins. Sugar alcohols such as erythritol can also offer benefits for oral health. Read on to learn more.

What is Erythritol?

Erythritol, pronounced Ah-REETH-ra-tall, is a type of compound called a sugar alcohol or polyol, and belongs in the same class as xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol sweeteners. Most sugar alcohols act as no-impact sweeteners, meaning they do not impact your blood sugar. Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar and has 95% fewer calories. Erythritol can be purchased on its own and can be found in some sugar-free or low-sugar products, including some natural toothpaste and dental care products. Yes, you heard that correctly, a sugar format that’s actually GOOD for your dental health.

How is Erythritol Made?

Erythritol is usually made from corn, where it first gets converted into sugar and is then fermented by yeasts to become erythritol. When shopping for erythritol, look for a quality product made from non-GMO corn.

What Does Erythritol Taste Like?

Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar and has a clean, sweet taste and unlike artificial sweeteners, has no bitter aftertaste.

Erythritol and Digestion

Sugar alcohols have a unique chemical structure that makes them virtually impossible to digest. Sugar alcohols pass through your digestive tract until they reach your colon where they get fermented by bacteria which produces gas. This is why consuming large amounts (over 50 grams) of sugar alcohols could cause bloating and gas. Erythritol belongs to a class of fibre called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols), which means that it could cause digestive symptoms for some people with a sensitivity to this class of fibre. However, erythritol is easier on the digestive system than other sugar alcohols like sorbitol or mannitol. Some studies suggest that more erythritol is absorbed into your bloodstream before reaching your colon, causing it to provide less of a digestive impact. However, if you do suffer from digestive issues and this is concerning for you, you may be better to select a natural sweetener that has a low glycemic index ranking.

Erythritol and Blood Sugar

As humans, we do not have the enzymes to break down erythritol so it is absorbed into the bloodstream and is then excreted in the urine. Erythritol does not impact blood sugar and insulin levels, making it a great alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. It is worth pointing out that artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame and acesulfame potassium don’t necessarily help with weight loss and could cause allergic symptoms such as hives.

Erythritol and Dental Health

By now, it is generally accepted that excessive sugar consumption is bad for our health, including our dental health by contributing to cavities and tooth decay. Harmful bacteria in the mouth use sugar for energy and release acids that are harmful to tooth enamel. Because they are not sugars, sugar alcohols can be found in dental health products and there is some evidence to suggest that erythritol and xylitol can slow the growth of bacteria.

How to Use Erythritol

Erythritol is sold in granular form, so it is easy to sprinkle on fruit, add to coffee or tea and can be used in baking just like sugar would. You may sometimes see erythritol combined with monk fruit, another whole food sweetener, to more closely resemble the taste and texture of table sugar.

Can I Use Erythritol When Pregnant?

Erythritol is generally regarded as safe and can be used during pregnancy; however, it’s always best to speak with your health care practitioner first.

Shopping For Erythritol

Check out Now Foods Erythritol  – it comes in a granule format that’s derived from non-GMO corn. This zero calorie natural sweetener is low in glycemic impact and great for reduced calorie and sugar-free recipes for those watching their blood sugar or those just wanting to avoid the adverse effects of sugar and artificial sweeteners. It is clean and sweet tasting and can be used just like sugar.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.

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Red Note: 30 September 2022

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