Erythritol is a pleasant tasting natural sweetener. This ketogenic diet ingredient has been widely used since this sugar alcohol is 60-80% as sweet as table sugar, but has 0 calories, and has a very low glycemic index, perfect for those are closely monitoring their blood sugar levels. Like any other sugar substitute, it has its pros and cons.
Benefits of Using Erythritol
Aside from it being calorie free and that it doesn’t spike blood sugar, Erythritol also doesn’t cause tooth decay. The harmful bacteria in our mouth that consumes sugar simply ignores Erythritol, so the oral bacteria don’t multiply and grow, hence, does not cause cavities.
For Keto diet or low carb eaters, this sugar alcohol has been gaining popularity because it doesn’t use any fillers which add up to the carb count. Other granulated sweeteners use maltodextrin, which contains carbs, so it beats the purpose of using a sugar substitute especially in cooking and baking.
Erythritol, when used moderately, doesn’t cause digestive problems. Only about 10% actually reach the gut or the colon, and most of it is passed through urine. And because most of it is quickly absorbed by the body through the small intestine, it does not normally cause the laxative effects that some individuals experience after consumption of other sugar alcohols, such as xylitol and maltitol. Consuming large quantities- let’s say over 50 grams may result in stomach rumbling, diarrhea, headaches, or even nausea.
Downsides of Using Erythritol
Some people who are into the Ketogenic diet reported a cooling effect or a cooling sensation in the mouth after consuming Erythritol. It doesn’t have a “minty” taste, just the feel, some like it, others can tolerate it against the bitter aftertaste of some sugar substitute. For some who find it bothersome, they combine Erythritol with Stevia, as these two sugar alternatives seem to compliment each other. Erythritol cuts the slight bitterness of Stevia, and Stevia reduces the cooling effect of Erythritol which can be felt if used in large quantities.
Some people also reported having hunger pangs or not feeling satiety when using Erythritol. According to Jim Smith, author of the “Food Additives DataBook”, When you eat food, your brain registers that you’ve eaten and signals your body to release hormones that decrease your appetite. Because sugar alcohols pass through the body largely undigested, you won’t experience the same satiating signals as you would with food sweetened conventionally.
But then again, we have different bodies, and our bodies react differently, whatever food, drinks, ingredients, medication, or any other stuff we consume. So we recommend that you still check the label, observe how your body reacts, be cautious, and never overindulge. Moderation still is the key.