What is Erythritol?
Erythritol is natural sugar alcohol such as xylitol and sorbitol. It occurs naturally in small amounts, especially in some fermented foods such as fruits, wine, and soy sauce. Erythritol is usually made from starch, such as corn, by fermentation.
Originally discovered by Scottish chemist John Steinhaus in 1990, erythritol was widely used in Japan in the 1990s and is often used as a sugar substitute for confectionery and soft drinks.
In Finland, erythritol has only begun to gain popularity in recent years.
In composition and taste, erythritol corresponds almost to real sugar, but it is not metabolized in the body and thus contains little energy.
It is estimated that erythritol contains only about 6% of the energy of sugar, but still contains 60-70% of its sweetness.
Energy amounts of sugars in comparison
- Household sugar: 4 kcal / g
- Xylitol 2.4 kcal / g
- Erytritoli 0.24 kcal /g
Erythritol is suitable for those who follow a ketogenic diet
Almost calorie-free erythritol is a suitable sugar substitute when it comes to a ketogenic diet. Among carp, this product is known as carp sugar.
Erythritol does not raise blood sugar or insulin because the body does not have the enzymes needed to break down erythritol.
In practice, erythritol is absorbed into the bloodstream and then excreted intact with the urine. It also has no effect on cholesterol, triglycerides, or other blood levels in a basic healthy person.
In other words, erythritol is an excellent alternative not only for those who follow a ketogenic diet but also for diabetics or others with metabolic diseases.
Is erythritol a healthy sweetener?
Erythritol would require significantly more research data, but in light of current data, it can be said to be safe for humans in moderate use (less than 50g / day).
Erythritol may be a useful aid to some in reducing sugar consumption, but some studies suggest that it does not actually reduce cravings for sweets.
Like other sugar alcohols, erythritol can also cause stomachs upset such as swelling and diarrhea.
Studies provide an indication of the health benefits of erythritol
Some studies also suggest that erythritol might be a healthy sweetener in small amounts.
Based on small studies, a daily dose of 36 grams of erythritol improved vascular function in type 2 diabetics, thus potentially reducing their risk of heart disease.
In 2019, Iltalehti also reported that erythritol was effective in preventing tooth decay, without irritating the stomach like xylitol.
On the other hand, one study combined high consumption with obesity in young adults.
However, little research is available on erythritol, so no conclusions should be drawn from the above findings.
Erythritol side effects
The stomach or body does not digest erythritol, so it passes through the body almost intact, just like dietary fiber. This results in the most common side effects, which are e.g. abdominal growl, swelling, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and in some also a headache.
The most common side effect of erythritol is diarrhea, to which children, in particular, are susceptible. In general, however, diarrhea occurs less than with xylitol.
Side effects occur especially at high doses and are more likely if erythritol is consumed in combination with fructose.
Some studies show that 50 grams or more a day is more likely to cause nausea.
To minimize the side effects of erythritol, it is important that you use it only in moderation. Studies show that the body tolerates erythritol without the side effects of about a gram per kilogram of body weight.
Erythritol vs stevia
Stevia is an all-natural herbal plant from South America that has been used as a sweetener by locals for over a thousand years.
Is Erythritol A Better Sweetener Than Stevia? Not at least according to nutritionists who prefer natural stevia leaf extract.
Studies show that stevia appears to have some health-promoting effects, such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Stevia also does not contain calories or raise blood sugar.
However, due to its composition, Stevia is not as suitable for baking as erythritol.
Otherwise, stevia is definitely a healthier choice than erythritol. However, make sure you buy high-quality and clean stevia without additives.
The composition and sweetness of erythritol are almost like that of real sugar, which makes it a good sugar substitute, for example in low-carbohydrate baking.
Erythritol in particular has a place in the carp’s kitchen, as many keto recipes contain erythritol instead of sugar.
Compared to other artificial sweeteners, erythritol is particularly suitable for baking with chocolate, for example, low-carb confectionery or cakes.
Erythritol can also be a good substitute for regular prescription sugar, but in this case, erythritol can be dosed at 1.25 times the amount of sugar to get the sweetness to the desired level.
In baking, however, it is worth remembering that erythritol has a slightly mint-like, cooling effect in the mouth, and the results are not exactly the same as when using sugar. For example, some report that the aftertaste of erythritol is quite dilute.
Where can I buy erythritol cheaply?
In grocery stores like Prisma, S-market, and K-City market, erythritol is often pricey and sales packages are small. however, for low use, it may not be worth worrying about the price per kilo.
In grocery stores, erythritol may also be marketed under the brand names carp sugar or keto sugar.
Erythritol is significantly cheaper at online stores
If you use erythritol on a daily basis, for example for baking, you should definitely order larger packs online, as in grocery stores the packs are small and the prices per kilo are expensive.
Erythritol in a nutshell
Usually, erythritol produced by fermentation from corn is an almost calorie-free sugar alcohol found in small amounts naturally in fruits such as grapes.
The body is only able to break it down partially, but it still stimulates the tongue’s senses, almost 70% as much as traditional sugar.
- Almost calorie-free and carbohydrate-free
- Does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels
- Excreted almost unused with urine
- Easy to use as a sugar substitute in ketorecaps
- May prevent cavities
- More stomach friendly than other sugar alcohols
- Not the same mouthfeel as sugar, slightly cooling effect
- Used in large quantities causes swelling and diarrhea
- Not enough research data