Erythritol is a natural sugar substitute. It doesn’t cause any side effects, and it tastes almost the same as sugar but without the calories.
The sweetener erythritol seems too good to be true. However, some question its benefits.
In recent years the consumption of erythritol has increased. So you may become concerned about its contraindications.
This article looks at what erythritol is, what its benefits are, and whether it is safe for health or not.
What is erythritol?
Erythritol is a sweetener belonging to the category of sugar alcohols.
The way these molecules are structured gives them the ability to stimulate sweet taste receptors on the tongue.
Most sugar alcohols are found in small amounts, especially fruits and vegetables.
Erythritol is a close relative of xylitol used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Erythritol is rapidly absorbed from the small intestine, but it is not metabolized and does not provide calories.
Erythritol was first discovered in 1848 by a Scottish chemist named John Stenhouse.
Japan has been using erythritol since the early 1990s in sweets, jellies, jams, chocolate (including the standard candy bar), yogurt, beverages, and as a natural substitute for sugar.
Beneficios del erythritol
Erythritol appears to be quite different from the other sugar alcohols.
For starters, one of the benefits of erythritol, it contains much fewer calories, only 6% of the calories compared to sugar, and 3% more than that of other sugar alcohols such as xylitol.
In addition, xylitol practically does not alter blood sugar levels, allowing it for people with diabetes.
The benefits of erythritol are:
- Low in calories
- its taste is similar to sugar
- few side effects and contraindications
- can help prevent cavities
Contraindications and side effects
Although erythritol does not have serious side effects, eating large amounts can cause digestive upset.
Due to their unique chemical structure, they pass through most of your digestive system to the colon.
In the colon, they are fermented by resident bacteria, which produce gas as a by-product. Consequently, eating large amounts of sugar alcohol can cause bloating and digestive upset.
Possible side effects of erythritol are:
The contraindications of erythritol are:
- people with irritable bowel syndrome
- ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems
- alergias to erythritol
Erythritol vs. stevia vs. xylitol
Erythritol and stevia are two low-calorie sugar substitutes. However, one of the benefits over the first is its taste.
Stevia tends to have a bitter aftertaste. This is because some unidentified components of the plant could not be isolated.
The main difference is that xylitol contains some calories; it is not zero calories like erythritol.
Additionally, xylitol has a negligible impact on blood sugar levels, while erythritol has no effect, making it more suitable for people with diabetes.
Because one of the most common side effects of xylitol is causing diarrhea, mainly when used in large amounts, some people prefer erythritol.
Is erythritol allowed on the ketogenic diet?
Erythritol shouldn’t interfere with your ability to enter ketosis, even by eating large amounts.
If you are doing the keto diet and looking to replace sugar, erythritol is one of the best options.
- Erythritol is a low calorie sugar alcohol.
- Its main benefits are that it does not alter blood glucose levels, is allowed for people with diabetes, and can help you prevent cavities.
- Consuming erythritol is considered safe for most people; it has virtually no long and short-term side effects.
- However, if consumed excessively, it can cause stomach upset. One of its contraindications is for people with irritable bowel.
- Like other polyols, it is low in calories and net carbohydrates, allowing it on the ketogenic diet.