Food & Drinks

What Is Erythritol? Get To Know This Sugar Substitute

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What Is Erythritol? Get To Know This Sugar Substitute
Photo © Thomas Kniess - Wikipedia Commons

Perhaps the name doesn't ring a bell, but odds are you've ingested erythritol. For decades, it's been used in diet beverages, sugar-free gum and even mouthwash. Now, this sugar substitute is rising in popularity thanks to low-carb diets.

So what is erythritol exactly? What does it add to taste? Does it have any side effects? Let's take a look:

What Is Erythritol?

Unlike artificial sweeteners, erythritol is made from sugar alcohols that occur naturally in fruits like pears and grapes, and vegetables like corn and mushrooms.

It is vegan, gluten-free and about 70% as sweet as sugar. If it's not available at your local supermarket, erythritol may be purchased online easily.

Pros of Using Erythritol

The main reason for using erythritol is to avoid the carbohydrates in sugar. Erythritol has zero calories, ranks very low on the glycemic index and does not raise triglycerides. Best of all, it is naturally sweet and does not cause tooth decay, according to researchers.

This sugar substitute doesn't have an aftertaste and can be used to sweeten beverages like tea and coffee, as well as in the preparation of baked goods.  

Cons of Using Erythritol

Erythritol is considered safe but may cause stomach upset, gas, bloating or diarrhoea in people with irritable bowel syndrome. Also, it may cause cravings for sweets, and weight gain,  according to registered dietician Nancy Dell, correspondent for WWLP-22News in Massachusetts. 

Is Erythritol Right for You?

As with all foods, moderation is key. This particular study found erythritol to be safe for consumption. In this video, Dell explains the effects of erythritol in the body. Give it a watch to help you make an informed decision:

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