Sugar may satisfy your taste buds, but it is harmful to your body and can lead to diabetes and weight gain. This is when the advantages of erythritol come into play. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol with essentially little calories that has long been used as a sugar substitute.
Is erythritol, on the other hand, beneficial to your health? What is the source of it? Is there a risk of side effects? Continue reading to learn the answers!
What Is Erythritol and How Does It Work?
Erythritol is a naturally occurring sweetener that is rising in popularity, particularly in the food business. It’s commonly used as a sweetener in low-calorie foods, candies, and bakery goods.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, also known as a polyol, that is generated when the aldehyde or ketone group in different carbohydrates is hydrolyzed.
Polyols can be found in a variety of foods, including grapes and mushrooms, as well as fermented foods like soy sauce.
Health Benefits of Erythritol
Because it is somewhat sweet, erythritol is commonly employed as an artificial sweetener. It has the same sweetness as sucrose but has fewer calories.
One spoonful of erythritol should suffice if you add one teaspoon of sugar to your tea (volume for volume).
However, if you use sucralose, a synthetic sweetener that is much sweeter, you may only need one-fourth of a teaspoon.
Aside from sugar equivalence, erythritol has the following advantages.
1. Assists With Weight Management
Erythritol aids weight loss and control.
Sucrose hurts weight gain and obesity. If they can’t go sugar-free, most health-conscious folks and those wanting to lose weight reduce their sugar intake and replace it with artificial sweeteners.
The glycemic index of erythritol is zero. It can be added to beverages, muffins, or desserts to help lower blood glucose levels, which can lead to weight gain.
Even though it might induce weight gain in certain people, erythritol is crucial for weight management, especially in obese people.
2. Non-Acidogenic And Gut-Friendly
Because erythritol is a four-carbon molecule, it is easily digested in the intestine. It is also absorbed slowly and virtually completely because of its low glycemic index.
Unlike sucralose, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol, which leave residues in the large intestines, erythritol is absorbed almost entirely.
This is why taking roughly 50 g/kg of erythritol causes reduced acidity and flatulence, whereas taking 20-30 g/kg of other sweeteners causes watery stools, nausea, and diarrhea.
3. Anti-Diabetic Activity
Erythritol does not affect blood glucose or insulin levels, but the same amount of glucose elevates insulin levels quickly within 30 minutes.
It also does not affect the levels of total cholesterol, triacylglycerol, or free fatty acids in the blood.
Erythritol is safe to consume and is a superior choice for diabetic individuals because more than 90% of ingested erythritol is absorbed and eliminated unchanged through urine.
4. Protects teeth from decay (Non-Cariogenic)
Tooth decay is prevented by erythritol (non-cariogenic)
Erythritol inhibits the growth of oral bacteria like Streptococcus, which cause tooth decay by forming a biofilm on your teeth.
The acid produced by your gut is reduced when microbial development is inhibited. This prevents cavities and plaque from forming on the teeth.
In comparison to other natural and synthetic sweeteners like xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and sucralose, erythritol takes the longest to build plaque and is the mildest of them all.
Dentists can use erythritol as a matrix in subgingival air polishing instead of standard root scaling in periodontal therapy because of these qualities.
5. Antioxidant Activity of High Intensity
Erythritol is an excellent free radical scavenger. The sugar alcohol is broken down into erythrose and erythrulose, which are eliminated in the urine.
It can protect your body from cardiovascular damage, hyperglycemia-induced illnesses, and lipid peroxidation by scavenging hydroxyl free radicals particularly.
When erythritol is used instead of other sweeteners, inflammation in organs such as the kidneys, liver, and intestines is reduced.
Constipation, renal failure, hypercholesterolemia, acidity, ulcers, and Crohn’s disease can all be prevented by erythritol, which also protects the organ systems it comes into contact with.
Erythritol, as a sugar substitute, has several amazing qualities. It’s easy to see why it’s become so popular.
What Is Erythritol and Where Can You Find It?
Erythritol can be found in beverages (as a sugar substitute)
- Candies and chocolates
- Excipients for pharmaceuticals that are most commonly used
- Chewing gums
- Granules powder
- Formulations for solids and liquids
How Erythritol Is Made?
Fruits and vegetables contain erythritol. However, because these natural sources only contain trace levels of erythritol, extraction from them is not possible.
Biotechnology opened up the option of generating erythritol in the 1950s. The first evidence of erythritol synthesis was found in yeasts and yeast-like fungi.
A strain (perhaps belonging to the genus Torula) was found to be capable of converting 35–40% of used glucose to erythritol. Fermentation can also be used to manufacture erythritol by some lactic acid bacteria and filamentous fungi.
Currently, yeast Moniliella pollinia or Trichosporonoides megachliensis are used to ferment corn or wheat starch. To obtain erythritol crystals, the fermented mixture is heated and dried.
Erythritol is a sugar alternative that is as sweet as sugar, is made from yeasts and bacteria, and contains no chemical ingredients.
Negative Effects of Erythritol
When used in meals, erythritol is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) and is well absorbed by the small intestine. However, research has discovered some horrifying negative effects of consuming erythritol regularly.
Some of these negative effects are given below
1. Diuretic Action (Increases Urination)
When you consume large amounts of erythritol over a lengthy period, your urine volume and frequency will increase.
Electrolyte depletion is also caused by erythritol. When you consume a lot of it, your urine contains more calcium, citrate, sodium, potassium, N-acetylglucosaminidase, and total protein.
Erythritol is dangerous because it can produce an electrolyte imbalance, which can cause weakness, dizziness, and dehydration.
2. Nausea, bloating, and diarrhea
Bloating, diarrhea, and nausea can all be relieved by erythritol.
Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, have a terrible reputation for causing digestive problems. Because your body does not absorb them completely, they tend to stay in your system for a long time.
Bloating is caused by the fermentation of erythritol intermediates in the large intestine. Nausea, flatulence (gas), and diarrhea are all possible side effects.
3. it may be carcinogenic.
Most sugar replacements, such as mannitol, sorbitol, steviol, and xylitol, have been related to cancer and irreversible mutations.
However, unlike other sugar alcohols, erythritol does not always cause cancer, according to new studies. Erythritol did not cause DNA damage or chromosomal abnormalities in rats when given to them.
But more in-depth research is needed in this regard.
Not everything that is sugar-free is beneficial to your health.
Most of us wind up with greater problems by taking random artificial sweeteners under the pretext of reducing our sugar and calorie intake.
Sucralose and aspartame are artificial sugar alternatives that can help you avoid sucrose but not diabetes, acidity, or cardiovascular disease.
Choosing sugar alcohols that are natural, plant-based, or microbe-based will keep such issues at bay. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol with low-calorie content and a low glycemic index.
Erythritol can be used in the same amounts as table sugar in cakes, muffins, pastries, pies, tarts, sweets, drinks, and beverages.
Erythritol has various advantages. It’s becoming increasingly popular as a sugar alternative. Erythritol is anti-diabetic, helps with weight loss and management, and protects teeth from decay. It is nonacidogenic and gut-friendly. As a powerful antioxidant, it can even defend against the detrimental effects of free radicals. Erythritol is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Toothpaste, syrup, granulated powders, lozenges, and tabletop sweeteners all include it. Overdosing on erythritol, on the other hand, can cause nausea, diarrhea, and bloating. It also has the potential to be diuretic and carcinogenic. As a result, caution is urged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is stevia preferable to erythritol?
Stevia is a sugar substitute made from plants, whereas erythritol is made commercially from yeast and starch.
Because erythritol is heat-stable, it has more applications than stevia, which can break down into undesired compounds.
Because it comes from a plant, stevia might trigger allergic responses. If you have a choice, choose erythritol over stevia. But, first, consult your doctor.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not to be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.