What is Erythritol?Erythritol is a naturally-derived sugar substitute that looks and tastes very much like sugar, yet has almost no calories. It comes in granulated and powdered forms.
Erythritol has been used in Japan since 1990 in candies, chocolate, yogurt, fillings, jellies, jams, beverages, and as a sugar substitute.
Erythritol is classified as a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols, also called polyols, are sugar substitutes that are either extracted from plants or manufactured from starches. Some of the more common sugar alcohol sweeteners are sorbitol and xylitol.
Sugar alcohols also occur naturally in plants. Erythritol is found naturally in small amounts in grapes, melons, mushrooms, and fermented foods such as wine, beer, cheese, and soy sauce.
How Sweet is Erythritol?Erythritol is approximately 70 percent as sweet as table sugar (sucrose). Some manufacturers, however, claim that their erythritol products are as sweet as sugar.
How is Erythritol Made?Erythritol is usually made from plant sugars. Sugar is mixed with water and then fermented with a natural culture into erythritol. It is then filtered, allowed to crystallize, and then dried. The finished product is white granules or powder that resembles sugar.
Why Do People Use Erythritol?
What are the Side Effects?Excessive consumption of erythritol (over 80 grams per day) may result in digestive upset, diarrhea, and bloating.
What are the Downsides of Erythritol?
- Erythritol has a cooling effect on the mouth, unlike sugar.
- Erythritol isn’t as sweet as sugar. It is approximately 70 percent as sweet.
- Erythritol doesn’t dissolve as easily as sugar.
- Erythritol causes side effects such as diarrhea, headache, and stomachache in lower amounts in some people
- Erythritol still isn’t easy to find. Currently it is available online and in some health food stores and groceries.
Cargill. "Erythritol." 2006. Cargill. 12 July 2007 <http://www.cargillsweetness.com/index.php?id=858>.