How Sweet is Erythritol?
Erythritol is approximately 70 percent as sweet as table sugar
(sucrose). Some manufacturers, however, claim that their erythritol
products are as sweet as sugar.
How is Erythritol Made?
Erythritol is usually made from plant sugars. Sugar is mixed with
water and then fermented with a natural culture into erythritol. It
is then filtered, allowed to crystallize, and then dried. The
finished product is white granules or powder that resembles sugar.
Why Do People Use Erythritol?
Erythritol has almost no calories. In the United States, erythritol
is labeled as having 0.2 calories per gram, which is 95 percent
fewer calories than sugar. In Japan, erythritol is labeled as
having zero calories.
Erythritol has not been found to affect blood sugar or insulin
levels and has a zero glycemic index.
Erthyritol has a clean, sweet taste. I've found that it’s more
similar in taste to sugar than other natural sweeteners such as
stevia (which can be bitter).
In reasonable amounts, erythritol doesn’t cause digestive upset and
diarrhea that other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol are
known to cause. This is because erythritol is a smaller molecule
and 90 percent of erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine and
for the most part excreted unchanged in urine. This quality makes
erythritol unique among the sugar alcohols.
Erythritol isn’t metabolized by oral bacteria, which means that it
doesn’t contribute to tooth decay.
Erythritol was approved for use as a sugar substitute in Japan in
1990. In the United States, it is classified as being Generally
Recognized As Safe (GRAS) since 1997. It was approved in Australia
and New Zealand in 1999.