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Erythritol is a sugar substitute that doesn't affect blood sugar. What to know.

Story by Daryl Austin, USA TODAY



When it comes to beverages, sweeter is often thought to be better. Whether it's with soda, smoothies or coffee, people work to ensure their favorite beverage is more palatable and enjoyable by balancing out any bitter taste with sweet additives. 

Sugar in the form of fructose, sucrose, sucralose, dextrose, honey, corn syrup or as a grain or cube remains the most popular way to sweeten a drink, but there exist a host of artificial options on the other side as well. Among them is erythritol − one of the most common artificial sweeteners available, according to the Cleveland Clinic

What is erythritol?

Erythritol is a popular sugar substitute that's used in various foods and beverages and is available in both powder and liquid form. Along with maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol, erythritol is known as a sugar alcohol − a type of carbohydrate that has a similar chemical structure to sugar. Despite their name, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol.  

Erythritol naturally occurs in some fruits and fermented foods, "but the erythritol used as a sugar substitute is typically produced synthetically through a process that involves fermenting glucose derived from sources like wheat or corn starch," explains Jen Messer, a nutrition consultant and registered dietitian at Jen Messer NutritionErythritol also occurs naturally in our bodies as part of normal metabolism, "but at levels much lower than the doses of erythritol synthesized commercially and used in packaged foods," says John DiBaise, MD, a physician in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Is erythritol good or bad for you?

In addition to being an effective sweetener, erythritol is also sometimes marketed as a weight loss tool, though DiBaise says such marketing efforts may be overstated or misleading in some cases. Still, the organic compound does have some potential advantages over its sugar counterpart. 

Messer says such benefits include that erythritol has a negligible effect on blood sugar and insulin levels which makes it suitable for people with diabetes and those managing their blood sugar. It also doesn't promote tooth decay because oral bacteria cannot metabolize it effectively. Erythritol also retains its sweetness and stability at high temperatures, which makes it one of the best sugar alcohols to use for baking and cooking. And it is very low in calories compared to regular sugar. "It contains about 0.2 calories per gram, which is approximately 5% of the calories found in an equivalent amount of sugar," Messer explains. This can be helpful for individuals managing their body weight and seeking to reduce their caloric intake.

Is erythritol safer than sugar?

Because of such advantages, it would be easy to assume that erythritol is better than sugar, but the experts say that may not be so. For one thing, erythritol is only about "60-70% as sweet as sugar," says Messer. And while it's considered safe to consume, erythritol can cause numerous negative side effects. 

Frequent consumption of the compound can lead to digestive problems "such as bloating, gas and diarrhea - though it varies for every individual," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and author of "Finally Full, Finally Slim." She adds that depending on one's sensitivity to sugar alcohols, "high consumption can also cause severe nausea, which can cause your body to become dehydrated.

Because of these and other potential health complications, Young says she is "not a fan" of the sweetener for everyone, especially for those gastrointestinal issues. DiBaise echoes similar advice, even in users more broadly. "Caution and moderation should be given when consuming foods containing erythritol," he says. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Erythritol is a sugar substitute that doesn't affect blood sugar. What to know.


Article Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/erythritol-is-a-sugar-substitute-that-doesn-t-affect-blood-sugar-what-to-know/ar-AA1gjHTV

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5 hours ago, Bob said:

Frequent consumption of the compound can lead to digestive problems "such as bloating, gas and diarrhea

This I can believe. Years ago, it may have been when it first came out, but it probably was when I first discovered it, xylitol was something that I was amazed with. It was used in chewing gum (and I knew I had chewed gum before) so I knew it didn't affect me adversely. I just knew this was the answer to the world's problems. If I used this instead of sugar, everything I sweetened would be healthier. No more tooth decay. No more fear of diabetes.

I ordered a 50-pound bag right off the bat. I justified ordering so much as it would get used eventually anyway, just like buying laundry soap in bulk. When I was a kid and Kool-Aid was the coolest thing, I would put in 2 1/2 cups of sugar for a 2-quart pitcher. My dreams of all the stuff I could make using xylitol danced in my head.

The bag finally arrived, and I was anxious to make some Kool-Aid to drink like I used to. I put my 2.5 cups in for the 2-quart pitcher. It tasted so good! I had more than one glass because I knew it wasn't hurting me like sugar could. I started dreaming of all the baked goods I could make without penalty...

Later that day, I was experiencing some abdominal activity. Something was brewing and I had my fears. It developed into an extended period of diarrhea. When it finally subsided, I had an eerie feeling what might have caused it. I looked up xylitol and read about it (yeah, yeah, I know. I should have read about it first). If I remember right, it said something to the effect that it could cause diarrhea if you use too much at once.

Now I have a suitable nickname for it: colin blow.

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26 minutes ago, Steven2023 said:

The bag finally arrived, and I was anxious to make some Kool-Aid to drink like I used to. I put my 2.5 cups in for the 2-quart pitcher... Later that day, I was experiencing some abdominal activity. Something was brewing and I had my fears.

You probably burst into the bathroom like this.... :lol1:  

man prevails GIF


I've had my fair share of volcanic gut activity due to sugar alcohols too, lol. Most recently I made some of "Dr. Kiltz's Carnivore Icre Cream" but I wanted to sweeten it up a bit. I used erythritol.

... too much erythritol, lol.

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I don’t know much about it but I suppose if you just can’t give up sweet things then that just might be the ticket.
Personally, I just don’t touch anything sweet. I just don’t want it in my life.
Even if doesn’t affect the body it still affects the mind. In some people it could act as a trigger causing them to crave carby foods.
I believe that that is the downfall of many people on keto and carnivore because they just aren’t willing to give up that sweet tooth so they never lose those urges to fuel that insulin spike. Eventually they cave in. That’s what my problem was with Adkins because it allowed me to keep eating the non caloric sweeteners so I was always being tempted.
This is what I love about the simplicity of the carnivore lifestyle. I don’t have to restrict anything, I just eliminate it. Simple, done, gone, out of my life. No temptations.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I wholeheartedly agree with you @Geezy

I put a little sweetener in my morning tea, although I could probably omit this if I wanted and still drink it. I also still drink diet soda, although I have switched from Diet Coke to Zevia because the Zevia is much cleaner, or "less bad" as Dr. Berry would say 🙂

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