Erythritol, What Is It?
Many of my clients are looking to find the magical solution to eating less sugar, but still enjoying what they eat. Being on a sugar kick is one of the hardest things to....well...kick. For some of us this happens periodically throughout a year, maybe around the holidays, but for many it's an every day struggle.
There might actually be an easy transition for our friends who struggle to kick the sugar out their diet and it's called Erythirtol. What? Yeah, I have to admit I needed to do my research recently on this new popular sweetener. I started seeing it appear on a lot of labels and seeing it described as "sugar alcohol." It doesn't take a super genious to wonder "Is that something I should be putting in my body?" Surgar and alcohol aren't exactly synonomous with health.
I finally pulled the trigger on doing some research Memorial Day weekend with my girl friend while we lounged along the Jersey Shore (Seaside, in case you were wondering).
Here's what you need to know:
1) Is it Safe?
So far studies say yes, but mostly animal tests have been done. Even with large doses no serious side effects have been shown (1).
2). Is it zero calories?
6% of the calories of sugar and 70% of the sweetness. That's a pretty good deal, in fact, the best deal you're going to find (especially if you don't enjoy the taste of stevia).
3) How is it made?
I'm not a chemist, but I've read that it's formed when a type of yeast ferments glucose from corn or wheat starch.
4) How is it digested?
Actually, several other sugar alchols can cause bloating, but erythritol get's absorbed mostly in the blood stream and whatever is left over excreted out through urine (2, 3).
5) Does it effect insulin levels or other bio markers?
There is no change in blood sugar or insulin levels. It does not effect cholesterol, triglycerides or other biomarkers either (4).
Overall, it looks like a safe bet, but of course there is always more research that can be done. Best advice is to listen to your body. When you eat something containing erythitol see how you feel. How is your energy, sleep, mood, digestion, etc?
For questions please reach out!
Eric is an advocate of mental healthy, especially for children. He's part of the initiative at Physiology First, a Non-Profit online University focusing on reeducating the youth all around the world.