What does erythritol powder have that regular sugar doesn’t? Well to start, erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a type of carbohydrate that people often use as a sugar substitute. Erythritol is naturally occurring and you’ve most likely ingested erythritol before if you’ve ever eaten fruits like grapes, melons or pears or any other type of food derived from fermentation. It can also be found in wine, beer and cheese when they are allowed to ferment.
Besides the naturally occurring form, erythritol has also been man-made for use as an artificial sweetener since 1990 (x). It is often found combined with other popular artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or stevia to help make food and beverages taste sweeter without the negative effects of table sugar.
First, a little history about erythritol. The substance was first formally discovered in 1848 by John Stenhouse, a Scottish chemist. By 1950, researchers discovered erythritol in blackstrap molasses, a type of molasses created by fermented yeast. In the 1990s, people in Japan began to use it commercially as a sugar substitute.
Erythritol is a popular substitute because experts consider it a relatively healthy and safe alternative to sugar. It contains zero calories per gram, whereas regular sugar contains about four calories per gram. Over the admittedly short period that erythritol has been on the market, researchers have conducted several studies on the effect the sweetener may have on animals and humans.
What is Erythritol?
To put it simply, erythritol is a type of carbohydrate that acts as a sugar substitute in cases where people may not want to use table sugar for a variety of health reasons, such as weight management, for example. Specifically, erythritol is a sugar alcohol, which means that its molecular structure is a hybrid of sugar and alcohol molecules.
What are Sugar Alcohols?
Sugar alcohols are basically a group of sweet carbohydrates. Despite their name, sugar alcohols do not contain ethanol, which is the specific substance in alcoholic drinks that can cause intoxication. Some sugar alcohols are found naturally in fruits and vegetables, but most of them are processed from other sugars. Sugar alcohols have a similar molecular structure to sugar, which causes it to activate receptors on the tongue that recognize sweet tastes, which is what makes them such a common substitute to table sugar (x).
There are a number of other common types of sugar alcohols including:
One of the reasons these substitutes are so common is because most of them do not cause a noticeable effect on a patient’s blood sugar levels. However, there is a notable exception—maltitol, which has a glycemic index of 36 (x). But this is still much lower than that of table sugar and refined carbohydrates. These carbohydrates don’t break down very quickly in the body, which allows most of the substance to be excreted through urine before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
What is Erythritol Made from?
Erythritol can come from a few different sources. It is found naturally in some fruits and vegetables such as pears, grapes and melons. Erythritol is also present when fermentation occurs, such as in beer, wine or cheese. However, commercially, erythritol is most commonly made out of corn. It is derived by fermenting a simple sugar in corn called dextrose (x).
What is Erythritol Used for?
Erythritol is most commonly used as a sugar substitute, either by itself or in combination with other artificial sweeteners. Experts may recommend it to patients with certain health conditions or to those who simply prefer to avoid table sugar. The main benefits include:
Erythritol may provide a lot of advantages over regular sugar and researchers consider it to be relatively safe, but you should still speak with a physician to determine if it is healthy and safe for you as an individual.
Blood Sugar Control
One major benefit of using erythritol as opposed to sugar is for patients who have problems with blood sugar control who may need to monitor the glycemic index of their food. But how exactly does erythritol affect blood sugar?
How is Erythritol Processed in the Body?
Before we dive into its benefits, it’s important to understand how the body processes erythritol. The human body lacks the enzymes required to properly break down the majority of the erythritol it consumes. That means the body does not metabolize most of it after consumption. Instead, it is excreted in the urine unprocessed and the blood sugar remains unchanged (x). While this usually occurs without issues or complications, it is still best for the patient to consult a physician to properly manage their health.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index is a system that ranks carbohydrates from 0 to 100 based on how much they raise blood sugar levels. If a food has a high glycemic index, the body digests, absorbs and metabolizes it, which causes large fluctuations in blood sugar. If a food has a low glycemic index, on the other hand, it creates smaller fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin. These values can play a role in a patient’s risk for diabetes and heart disease (x). According to research, erythritol has a very low glycemic index, which means it should not cause blood sugar spikes like regular sugar can (x).
Diabetes is a condition actually characterized by high blood sugar levels. The body uses this sugar for energy with the help of a hormone called insulin, which transfers the sugar from the blood to the body’s cells. But in cases of diabetes, the patient’s body either does not make enough insulin or does not use it efficiently, causing glucose to accumulate in the blood (x).
Because foods with high glycemic index may increase the risk for diabetes, erythritol may be a potential alternative to sugar. Researchers have studied its effects on patients with diabetes. One study concluded that erythritol does not interfere with glucose levels in the blood, suggesting that it may be safe for diabetic patients (x).
While artificial sugars may be potentially beneficial for patients who have diabetes, it is still important for diabetic patients to regularly check their own blood sugar levels and to communicate with their doctors in order to correctly manage the condition.
In the case of regular table sugar, oral bacteria break down those sugars and starches and then turn them into acids. These acids then work to wear down your enamel, which can cause cavities (x). The FDA has approved erythritol for its potential benefits on oral health. Instead of being broken down into acids by oral bacteria, erythritol actually inhibits the growth of oral bacteria and slows down the acid production, potentially preventing cavities and other dental problems.
Is Erythritol Keto?
Most sugar alcohols would not necessarily be considered ketogenic. Instead, experts would count them as regular carbohydrates and recommend that keto diet participants keep them to a minimum. However, erythritol may be the exception to this rule. Erythritol is metabolized in a different way than most sugar alcohols. It is fully absorbed by the small intestine and then excreted through urine unchanged. This means that it does not affect blood glucose levels at all. Though it may be negligible, most other sugar alcohols still have some effect on blood glucose levels. Research suggests that erythritol may be keto friendly as it has zero net carbs and zero net calories when counting foods for the keto diet (x).
Dosage for Erythritol Supplements
You can use erythritol in just the same way as regular sugar. Simply distribute it into your food or stir it into your coffee or other beverages. However, artificial sweeteners may have a discernibly different taste compared to regular sugar, so foods that you make with it may taste a bit different.
The recommended dosage for erythritol powder is 4,000 mg up to five times a day, unless a physician recommends a different dosage. Always consult with a doctor before adding erythritol or any other supplement to your diet.
Erythritol vs. Other Sugar Alcohols
You may be wondering, what is the difference between taking erythritol and other sugar alcohols as sugar alternatives? Is one type of sugar alcohol better or more healthy than others? What about taste? Let’s take a look.
What is the Difference between Erythritol & Xylitol?
The main differences between these two have to do with taste and glycemic index rating. Xylitol is considered to be just as sweet as regular table sugar, while erythritol is a little less sweet. The flip side of this is that erythritol is lower on the glycemic scale compared to xylitol. Erythritol has a value of 1, while xylitol has a value of 12 (x).
What is the Difference between Erythritol & Stevia?
We can contrast this by comparing erythritol to another sugar alcohol, stevia. Stevia is a sugar substitute made out of a substance found in the stevia plant (x). This substance is much sweeter than table sugar. By comparison, erythritol is only about 60 to 80% as sweet as regular table sugar (x).
Consult with a doctor before trying any of these sugar substitutes.
Is Erythritol Safe?
Erythritol is safe in the amounts found in natural food sources like fruits. Even though they may be beneficial, erythritol supplements are not without side effects and potential consequences, specifically in abnormally high doses. To avoid side effects, it’s best to consult a doctor before using erythritol as a dietary supplement. A physician will be able to provide insight on dosage and safety. In high doses, erythritol may cause nausea (x).
Where to Buy Erythritol Powder
You can purchase erythritol at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other food and supplement brands to make their products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying erythritol for its potential to help control blood sugar, manage diabetes and possibly prevent dental problems like cavities and tooth decay? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
Though it may seem new, erythritol has been around for ages and people have been consuming it in its natural forms for decades. However, only recently have we been able to produce it ourselves for commercial use. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, meaning the body does not break it down after consumption and it does not have an impact on blood sugar levels. Erythritol and other sugar alcohols can be a very helpful tool as an alternative to regular sugar, especially for patients with diabetes and anyone else who may need to monitor their blood sugar levels.
It is generally safe to consume in natural food sources and as dietary supplements in normal doses. If consumed in excess, erythritol may cause mild side effects like nausea. However, even though it may be beneficial, it’s best to consult with a physician to determine if erythritol is a healthy choice for you before adding it into your diet.
**Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.