What is Erythritol?
This is a food additive that belongs to a family of sugar alcohols also known as polyols which are sugar substitutes that occur naturally in plants and starches and are formed due to hydroxylation process of the aldehyde or ketone group in various carbohydrates. It is also formed through fermentation from glucose with yeast. It is the first polyol to be industrially manufactured from corn produced through a fermentation process which is led by yeasts that are moniliela pollinis as well as lactic acid bacteria then it is crystallized to 99.5% from the filtered and concentrated broth which has fermented it can also be produced from glycerol and has a shelf life of 2 years
It is a symmetrical molecule which exists in one form and it forms anhydrous crystals with has a moderate sweetness of 60-80 percent of sucrose and can also be mixed with other sugars due to the clear absence of an aftertaste. Has four carbon atoms and contain the smallest molecular weight of all sugar alcohols
The Erythritol was discovered by a Scottish chemist called John Stenhouse in the 1800’s. When ingested it is rapidly absorbed in the small intestines with about 10% of it enters the colon area whilst the 90% is excreted as urine. Because of its absorption rate, it enhances a high digestive tolerance which distinguishes it from other polyols
They are commonly found in baked goods, beverages, and chewing gum and occur naturally in fruits such as watermelon, pear, and grapes. It is very hard for bacteria in the digestive tract to digest and convert to gas because most of it is absorbed into the bloodstream and the rest excreted
It contains 0.2 calories per gram which are based on its unique absorption process which does not involve metabolism and does not promote tooth decay because it is tooth-friendly and is listed as a safe substance by the FDA. It does not spike blood sugar levels suitable for diabetic patients and does not attract moisture and tends not to clump up like fructose or brown sugar do.
Features of Erythritol
Has a low-calorie value compared to other sugars and bulking agent and is tooth friendly and is not metabolized by oral bacteria and is usually used in the manufacturing of sugar-free products. It contains a laxative tolerance compared to standard polyols.
It is an ideal product for diabetic patients because it does not affect the insulin levels or the glucose plasma. It has an attractive and sweet taste and it enhances the sweetening quality of high-quality sweeteners.
Works well together with a variety of sugars and polyols and has a strong cooling effect in the tongue area when ingested and is easier to digest. It adds smoothness and body when added to liquid preparations. Due to is non-hygroscopic it offers stability and flows well and can be carried well in tablets and sachets.
Because of its small molecular weight, it can be absorbed very quickly in the cerebellum and can be able to restrain the fermentation of some glucose by oral bacteria. It contains a fluidity and stability that makes it a great choice to flavor and season meals
It helps in the reduction of oxidative stress because it contains antioxidant properties that help fight radicals that are responsible for the aging process in the body.
It has low water activity and low moisture sensitivity. It is cariogenic and has endothelium protective properties with a non-acidogenicity and increases the malabsorption of fructose.
It is commercially available in a powdered, granular or liquid form in a white crystalline substance and is 70% as sweet as sucrose and does not contain any odor and when it maintains a crystalline form it has a strong cooling effect but when dissolved it does not
Erythritol does not decompose even at 180 degrees Celsius and it does not attract moisture from the air even at a humidity that is in medium ranges because it has very low hygroscopicity and also low viscosity.
It is soluble in water that is of 25 degrees Celsius and that is lower even for sucrose and is slightly soluble in ethanol and not soluble at all in fats. It has a melting point of 253 degrees Celsius and does not caramelize because it does not undergo a browning reaction with amino acids
It is usually produced from wheat or cornstarch that is gluten-free. It can be used in a variety of zero low calorie, low fat, and sugar-free foods from candies, yogurts
Products where Erythritol has Been Used
Erythritol can be used in chewing gum because it has a cooling effect and also its average solubility levels and cooling effects makes chewing gum made with this be able to last longer and provide a great flexibility range and a softer texture.
Chocolate made with Erythritol has 30% fewer calories and can combine well with a mint flavor to make it have a cooling effect as well as form a good mint chocolate.
It can also be used to a sweetener without adding additives in candies like lozenges and hard candies such as sherbet, fondants and fudges and it provides a cool sensation and also helps reduce energy production by 90 %.
Because of its average solubility it can limit its use in the manufacturing of gums but can function very well as graining sugar because it contains low hygroscopicity and in baking, it produces a more compact dough and has a different melting point and produces less color but can improve baking stability and produce a softer end product
Differences between Erythritol and Xylitol
In matters concerning tooth health care, Erythritol is far better than Xylitol. Erythritol does not raise any blood sugar at all but Xylitol raises and makes a small impact.
Erythritol is manufactured through fermentation while Xylitol is extracted from corn cobs of trees. The number of calories found in xylitol is half the amount of calories found in table sugar while Erythritol is calorie free.
Xylitol has the same sweetness as that if table sugar but Erythritol tastes 60-80% less sweet. For baking purposes, Erythritol is more stable in heat compared to Xylitol.
Advantages of Erythritol
It has the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the dental plaque by not promoting tooth decay and being tooth friendly and preventing tooth cavities and help to neutralize acids in the mouth by producing a cool sensation in the mouth region
It can help prevent vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and can be used as a diet sweetener because it has zero calories.
Has a less probability for causing stomach aches compared to other sugar alcohol because it is easier to digest compared to sugar alcohols. Has zero calories and tastes like sugar and can be used in baking because it is stable when in contact with a heat source
It is 100% natural byproduct of fermentation and it is listed and recognized as a safe substance by the Food and Drug Administration. It does not contain carbohydrates and it helps reduce obesity and reduce premature aging because it contains antioxidants.
They tend not to clump and get harder as a natural sugar do and do not attract moisture and can be used as a replacement for sugar. Due to its cariostatic properties, it provides sensorial benefits
Disadvantages of Erythritol
Erythritol has been genetically modified with cornstarch when you consume it in high amounts it may cause infertility, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, changes in the major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
When it is combined with artificial additives such as Aspartame it may cause some side effects such as fatigue, brain tumors, weight gain, fibromyalgia and short-term memory loss.
When consumed in high amounts it may lead to malnutrition and dehydration because it causes diarrhea, gas, cramping, bloating and other gastrointestinal issues.
Erythritol does not get metabolized and it may increase users weight because when you take it you get hungry quickly.
Can cause allergies to consumers because people react differently and it is very difficult to dissolve it in cold liquids like iced tea. It will not melt or caramelized to make candy or caramel and forms white crystals when dried up making it look dirty.
How to Use this Product
You can also use it in your coffee if you are used to taking sugar and it might also come in handy for some savory dishes like stir-fry sauce sweet meat and veggie glazes and barbeque sauces.
An average male adult and female adult respectively weigh 60 kg and 50 kg, the maximum acceptable Erythritol intake in adults would be approximately 40g per day after divided intake may be larger than the above. Due to the lack of reliable data, however, consider 40 g to be the maximum acceptable daily intake in adults.
Pricing of Erythritol
The average price of Erythritol is 5 dollars at Amazon and will vary depending on the guidelines a user may decide will be suitable for them and their needs. It is recommended that one uses the links provided in order to get what they may want.
It is recommended that you be cautious not to overindulge on foods containing Erythritol because most foods that use sugar alcohols as sweeteners still contain fat and calories and always remember that when choosing food with sugar alternatives read the label, and compare the nutritional value of each to determine which is the best choice for you.
Sol Ruiz heads our Research Digest department. He graduated from the New York University where he obtained his Master’s Degree in Public Health.