What the hell is Erythritol
Diabetes and obesity are problems that are becoming are very common among the entire world population. The major culprit behind these disorders is sugar. In order to avoid a greater intake of sugar and to promote good health practices, the development of non-sugar substitutes has increased. One of these non-caloric sugar substitutes is called polyols.
Polyols are a low-calorie sugar replacement that tastes like sugar but with much fewer calories and is used in lots of low-calorie foods that we eat every day. Types of polyols include: erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol.
Here, in this article, we are going to tell you about what erythritol actually is, what are its properties, is it safe to use and how you can use it as an alternative to table sugar.
What erythritol actually is?
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is used as an artificial sweetener and as an alternative to table sugar to avoid excessive sugar and caloric intake.
Although it may be found naturally in food items such as grapes, berries, cheese, and beer, it is also being made artificially by man since 1990.
You can find it in some stores for everyday use in place of table sugar. Moreover, it is also used by food manufacturing companies to prepare sugar-free or reduced-calorie food items.
The World Health Organization approved the use of erythritol for common use as an artificial sweetener in 1999 and The US Food and Drug Administration did the same in 2001.
How is it different from other table sugar and other polyols?
Erythritol is becoming a better choice as compared to table sugar and other sugar alcohols owing to its low caloric content while providing similar levels of sweetness.
Erythritol contains 0 – 0.24 calories per gram which accounts for only 0 – 6% of the calories present in 1 gram of table sugar i.e. 4. It is even better than other sugar alcohols like xylitol which has 2.4 calories per gram.
Furthermore, the low caloric content of erythritol does not take away from its sweetness. It imparts 70% of the same sweetness as table sugar and other sugar alcohols.
Properties of erythritol
The two main properties of erythritol to be noted are its taste and appearance.
Erythritol appears to be a white crystalline powder or granules similar to that of table sugar. It is the crystalline structure that targets and stimulates the taste buds and receptors in your mouth.
The taste of erythritol is similar to table sugar that is sweet.
How much should be taken per day?
Although no official guidelines are available on this matter, however, several research studies have been conducted to find out the safe-to-use amount of the sweetener. A study found that about a gram of the sweetener per kilogram of body weight is safe to use every day.
What are the side effects of erythritol?
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is not broken down in the body and is not absorbed. Hence it does not contribute to weight gain and does not add to the poundage. However, it does not mean that it doesnât come with unpleasant side effects.
The side effects of erythritol include diarrhea and other digestive problems. Like other sugar alcohols, it can also result in cramps, gas and bloating in the stomach.
When taken in excessive quantities erythritol can cause increased water retention in the intestines leading to excessive diarrhea. This can cause dehydration and headache. However, donât be afraid this is a worst-case scenario and a result of excessive usage.
How to use erythritol as an alternative to table sugar?
You can literally just use erythritol in the same way you use table sugar. You can stir in a spoon into your tea or coffee.
You can incorporate into your favorite desserts like custards, mousses and other such delicacies. One thing to be noted is that it may not bring about the same taste as sugar in baked items as it is an artificial sweetener.
Moreover, you can add it to shakes and smoothies to bring that sweet taste yet without the need to worry about the calories.
All in all, erythritol can serve to be an excellent alternative to table sugar to avoid excessive intake of calories and unhealthy sugar. Taking it in moderate amounts can greatly help you in losing those extra pounds and lead you to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
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