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Erythritol sources, health risks

Tuesday, October 03, 2017 by

Foods that have “sugar-free” or “no sugar added” labeled on their packaging usually still contain sugar alcohols such as erythritol, but unlike sugar, they are sweet while at the same time have almost zero calories. Erythritol-sweetened foods have fewer calories than foods that have been sweetened by sugar, thereby reducing the negative effects to your waistline, not adding to your blood sugar levels, and not contributing to tooth decay.

Erythritol is generally considered as safe (GRAS) by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has the “acceptable daily intake (ADI) not specified” status meted on it by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

It has also been granted approval by countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, and the nations in the European Union.

In fact, in a Japanese study that was titled “Serum glucose and insulin levels and erythritol balance after oral administration of erythritol in healthy subjects” and was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1994, scientists concluded that “Erythritol did not increase serum levels of glucose or insulin.”

However, there is a caveat to sugar alcohols containing less sugar – nutritionists say they don’t provide much in the way of satiation, therefore inducing one to eat more, defeating the purpose of eating foods that have lower calories.

For his part, Food Additives DataBook author Jim Smith, said: “Because sugar alcohols pass through the body largely undigested, you won’t experience the same satiating signals as you would with food sweetened conventionally.”

Erythritol is 70 percent as sweet as sucrose. In crystalline form, as what is its form in chocolates, it has a strong, cooling effect in the mouth, but when it is in liquid form, like in soft drinks, the cooling effect is removed.

Erythritol can take liquid, granulated, and powdered forms, like most sugar alcohols such as xylitol, lactitol, maltitol, and sorbitol. It needs no digesting and is quickly absorbed into the small intestine, undergoes poor metabolism, has no known major benefits for the body, and leaves the body through the urine having undergone no chemical synthesis whatsoever.

Harmful effects that can be caused by erythritol

Medical literature has yet to be clear on erythritol’s effects on a fetus, so pregnant women are advised not to ingest erythritol so as to stay on the safe side.

Since erythritol is not a FODMAP – which are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that include fructans, fructose (when in excess of glucose), galactooligosaccharides (GOS), lactose, and polyols (mannitol, sorbitol) -it can be harmful for people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

Body systems harmed by erythritol

Erythritol is bad for the digestive system. Too much intake (over 50 grams) can cause diarrhea and stomachache in some people.

Where to learn more


Erythritol is bad for the digestive system.

Erythritol has been granted approval by countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, and the nations in the European Union.

Erythritol is 70 percent as sweet as sucrose.

Sources include:


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