Erythritol: Uses, Health Benefits, And Its Side Effects

erythritol

What do you understand by the term “Erythritol”?

Erythritol is a type of carbohydrate known as sugar alcohol where individuals use it as a sugar substitute. Most food producers use these different sugar alcohols which include sorbitol, xylitol, and maltitol. Also, sugar alcohols are found naturally in small amounts, especially in vegetables and fruits. These different sugar alcohols act as low-calorie sweeteners in low-sugar or sugar-free products.

Also, erythritol can be obtained from the fermentation of beer, wine, and cheese. This man-made sweetener can be mixed with common sugar substitutes like stevia, aspartame, and Truvia to enable them to become sweeter.

erythritol

The nutritional content of Erythritol

Erythritol contains much fewer calories which include the following:

  • Table sugar: 4 cal/g
  • Erythritol: 0.24 cal/g
  • Xylitol: 2.4 cal/g

However, with its 6 percent of the calories of sugar, it still has 70 percent of the sweetness.     

Erythritol in its natural form doesn’t bring about any side effects and tastes almost exactly like sugar; excluding the calories.

Its calories: Erythritol has mainly 0 cal/g compared to 4 cal/g sugar contains. This is because our small intestine absorbs it rapidly and gets rid of it as urine taking about 24 hours. That’s to say there is a zero chance of erythritol to metabolize (change into energy in our body).

How do erythritol taste?

It’s usually sweet and tastes similar to table sugar.

What is the color of erythritol?

It looks like a white crystal powder or granules.

What is the daily recommended intake of this sugar alcohol?

Although there are no recommended guidelines on the amount of erythritol an individual can consume as consuming 1 gram is optimal for most individuals per kilogram of body weight daily. An individual weighing 150 pounds can accommodate more than 13 spoonfuls or 68 grams of erythritol per day.

Its usage

This sugar alcohol can be used the same way as table sugar. It can be incorporated into your tea or coffee, bake with it or sprinkled a little on your grapefruit. Never expect its baked foods to taste just like foods baked with a normal sugar since it’s just a sugar substitute.

Health benefits of consuming erythritol

The following are the surprising health benefits of consuming this sugar alcohol:

Lowers the risk of developing heart disease

Research involving diabetic rats show how this sugar alcohol acts as an antioxidant, possibly reducing blood vessel damage due to high blood sugar levels.

Another research involving 24 adults with type 2 diabetes deduced that consuming 36 grams of erythritol daily for a month improved the function of their blood vessels, significantly lowering their chance of having heart disease.

A similar study associated high blood erythritol levels to fat gain in young adults. However, more researches are required before any claims can be made about the health importance of these findings.   

Suitable for oral health

According to the FDA, consuming erythritol enhances oral health as it reduces the growth of certain bacteria and decreases the acid being produced by that bacteria. Here, bacteria in your mouth metabolize regular starches and sugars and change them into acid. This can cause wearing of your enamel and paving ways to dental cavities.

It doesn’t alter insulin or glucose levels

Since this sugar alcohol doesn’t raise your blood sugar or insulin levels, it has become a sugar substitute for diabetic patients. This led to the WHO (World Health Organization) approving it in 1999, and the FDA doing likewise in 2001.

Also, when healthy individuals are given this sugar alcohol, it doesn’t alter their cholesterol levels, triglycerides or several biomarkers. Erythritol is also an excellent alternative to sugar for obese people or people with metabolic syndrome issues.

It is advisable to check labels before consumption as foods that contain erythritol may still contain calories, carbohydrates, and fat.

Read Also: What Do You Know About High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?    

What are the side effects of consuming erythritol?

Usually, about 90 percent of the erythritol we consumed tends to be absorbed into our bloodstream. The remaining 10 percent goes undigested into our colon. Although most sugar alcohols are not resistant to fermentation by colon bacteria, unlike erythritol.

A study shows how 50 grams of erythritol in a single dose tends to increase nausea and rumbling of the stomach. But if you are consuming large amounts of this sugar alcohol at a time, it’s unlikely to cause stomach rumbling. Also, have in mind that erythritol sensitivity varies amongst individuals.

Feeding researches providing up to 0.45 grams per pound usually about 1 g/kg of body weight deduce that it’s very well tolerated.

Is it safe for consumption erythritol?

Yes, erythritol is safe for consumption.

Several studies on its toxicity and effects on the metabolism have been carried out on animals.

Irrespective of consuming large amounts of this sugar alcohol for so long, no severe side effects have been reported.

The uniqueness of the chemical structure of these sugar alcohols makes your body unable to break them down, and they remain unchanged through most of your digestive system, or until they reach the colon. This gives rise to digestive issues.

They can be fermented by the resident bacteria in the colon, giving rise to gas as its side product.

Also, consuming large amounts of sugar alcohols may bring about digestive upset and bloat. This makes them belong to a category of fiber regarded as FODMAPs.

However, erythritol differs from other sugar alcohols as it gets absorbed into the bloodstream before it approaches the colon.

It’s being transported in the blood for a while until it is eventually excreted unaltered in the urine. About 90 percent of erythritol is gotten rid in this manner.

Despite erythritol does not have any severe side effects, consuming high amounts may bring about stomach rumbling.

Summary

Also, some health-conscious individuals may opt to sweeten their food with honey or stevia. Have in mind that honey contains fructose and calories, and many individuals do not like the aftertaste of stevia.

Erythritol still remains the best food sweetener amongst honey, stevia, and other sugar alcohols. Note: Never consume any sugar alcohol without first consulting your doctor or dietician to know if it’s suitable for your health. If you notice any strange feelings after taking any sugar alcohols, quickly consult your doctor for optimal support.

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