Erythritol is one of the best sweeteners out there that is purely natural and has no calories at all and it’s gaining in popularity by the day. On top of that it seems like it is much better then Aspartame which has been controversial to say the least. Erythritol is actually a Sugar Alcohol, much like xylitol that is similar artificial sweetener.
A lot of people, when it comes to choosing their sweetener, lean towards erythritol because of its ability to lower the amounts of sugar and calories in their food or drinks. It’s not unheard of to find it as compound in low-sugar, Carb-Free and sugar-free foods, although there are some downsides that you need to take into consideration; truth be told, if it’s consumed in large quantities it’s known to incite nausea and Stomach turbulence.
Our body doesn’t have to potential to break down the erythritol and this is the main reason why it doesn’t supply the consumer with sugar or extra calories. So, in short it enters your body but never gets assimilated.
The question, if erythritol is the safe, go-to natural sweetener to replace Sugar remains but in case it’s derived from GMO cornstarch, then it’s not safe at all. It’s absolutely not our suggestion because there are a much better and healthier sweeteners available on the market. On the other hand if it’s a non-GMO erythritol then I would agree that it’s a smarter choice than a bunch of other artificial sweeteners if you’re on low-carb food regiments (like keto diets) nevertheless I’m still convinced there are better sweeteners then erythritol.
Erythritol gets absorbed quickly in the small intestine but it’s hardly assimilated and it’s improbable that it has similar health advantages like other natural sweeteners like monk fruit and raw honey. Just because erythritol doesn’t contain any calories and seems to not increase or decrease Blood Sugar, it doesn’t have to be good for your wellbeing.
What Is Erythritol?
If you occasionally read the labels (and you should), you probably caught that a new kind of sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda®) and natural no-calorie sweetener erythritol have risen in popularity as of late, particularly in energy drinks, chocolate bars and sports drinks. This fact is probably bugging you and you’re asking yourself what is erythritol?
It’s formed naturally in select fruits and fermented Nourishments, but the one people producers add nowadays to foods and drinks is usually man-made from GMO cornstarch which is an ultra-processed food which is the furthest away from natural sweetener and it’s because of some of the infamous “invisible GMO ingredients”.
Erythritol is actually a four-carbon sugar alcohol or polyol that has around 60-80% of the sweet taste of normal sugar. Some Sugar Alcohols include lactitol, isomalt, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol/glucitol, glycerol/glycerin and xulitol. Fruits including pear, grapes and watermelon have small quantities of erythritol just like fermented cheese, mushrooms, fermented sake, fermented wine and fermented beer.
This sweetener was discovered back in 1848 at the hands of John Stenhouse, a Scottish chemist. It’s been used in Japan as far back as the 1990s in products like jellies, jams, candies, chocolate, beverages, yogurt and often as a substitute for sugar. Its popularity has risen in the US not too long ago. Since 1997 it’s been approved by the FDA as safe and many people immediately fell in love with it because it contains 80% of the sweetness of sugar but it has no calories and keep the blood sugar levels in check.
In the meantime, select scientists say that’s it’s possible that it also supplies antioxidants to the consumer. In a rat that has Diabetes, erythritol appeared to act as antioxidant (fighting free radicals) it might have even given protection against hyperglycemia-induced vascular damage.
Erythritol, as of late, is often used in a lot of packaged food, drinks, snacks as well as sugar-free gums, mints and some meds. It’s possible to buy it even as a powdered or granulated no-calorie sweetener such as Zsweet and Swerve (no-GMO certification coming from France). And another thing about erythritol that is interesting is that it’s commonly found in baked products because it’s hygroscopic which means it doesn’t absorb moisture from the air and doesn’t make the baked products dry.
The problem with erythritol is that most of it used in products in the present is made by GMO cornstarch which is being fermented with a yeast known as Moniliellapollinis.
4 Reasons to Keep Away From GMO Erythritol
The definition given by The World Health Organization is a “food made from tissue whose genetic code has been changed in an unnatural way, for example, by introducing a gene from another tissue”. Even though non-GMO erythritol is on the market, majority of it used in drinks today is one derived from cornstarch which comes from genetically modified corn.
Some studies on animals connected consuming GMO products with accelerated aging, changes in major organs, changes in gastrointestinal system, immune problems, infertility and faulty insulin regulation.
2.Usually mixed with Artificial Sweeteners
Since it’s not the same sweetness as sugar it’s commonly mixed in nourishments and liquids with other suspicious sweeteners, often artificial ones. When mixed with these types of sweeteners such as aspartame, the product might becomerisky for your wellbeing. Some unwanted effects from aspartame are short-term memory loss, depression, anxiety, weight gain, fibromyalgia, fatigue, brain tumors and so on.
Many sugar alcohols such as erythritol are common culprits that incite stomach problems. A few of the issues that erythritol causes are unwanted gastrointestinal side effects which are most often manifesting in youngsters.
The bad news is that these problems don’t stop with a few rumblings in your stomach. One of the most well-known side effects of erythritol is diarrhea. When consumed in large quantities, the erythritol that is left unabsorbed can pull water from intestinal wall which causes diarrhea. The chances of getting diarrhea is even higher when you combine erythritol and fructose. Even though diarrhea doesn’t seem too harmful it can be the cause of dehydration, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalance.
A lot of people are complaining about turbulent stomach and diarrhea when they take erythritol along with nourishments and drinks. In case the amount taken is high (50 or more grams daily) then there might be turbulence in the stomach such as cramping, swelling, gas, aching and diarrhea, appearing is on a higher risk level. A particular research revealed that taking 50 grams of erythritol incited stomach nausea and rumbling.
A study from 2012 checked GI tolerability of erythritol. The goal was to find out the highest dose level of erythritol that’s tolerated well among young kids (4-6 years of age) by taking it in one drink. The conclusion was that there is “a concern considering safety for the use of erythritol in drinks at the highest level of 2.5% for non-sweetening reasons.”
Because of this it’s imperative to consume erythritol in moderate amounts to keep away from the negative side effects and be prepared to cut back in case stomach problems manifest. Research reveals that about 0.45 grams per pound of body weight is tolerated well and safe for the majority of people, but consumption shouldn’t go over that quantity.
Even though very rarely, erythritol can incite an Allergic reaction to the skin of some people. In 2000 there was a study in the Journal of Dermatology that shows how beverages that has erythritol may be the reason for a serious allergic reaction on the skin. An example of a severe allergic reaction is a 24 year old woman who had one glass of a drink sweetened with erythritol and afterwards had severe wheals over her whole body.
A wheal, also known as welt or hives, is an itchy spot on the skin that more often than not is a clear sign of an allergic reaction to something you ate or drank. When a negative skin reaction happens it’s imperative to recall what you recently ate, even more so if it had a suspicious substance that you don’t take often, like erythritol.
The Good Side of Erythritol
In case you go to the store and get a product that contains erythritol how can you know if it is GMO erythritol or not? The answer is, if the item has USDA Organic or Non-GMO project-certified insignia on the label then it can’t contain GMO raised erythritol.
In case you go for a non-GMO erythritol, does it come with any benefits? In my opinion the answer would vary depending on your particular goals. Those who like this sweetener mostly do so because it has no calories which is extremely beneficial when it comes to weight reduction. Actually, studies reveal that erythritol may affect the production of numerous hormones in the stomach and even diminish the unloading of it. Another reason why people choose this sweetener is because it’s not raising the blood sugar levels, which is extremely beneficial for diabetics.
Research has been conflicted but some of them show that erythritol may decrease plaque and stop tooth decay. A double-blind, incidental trial experiment observed the effects of erythritol on 485 primary school youngsters. Every kid ate four erythritol, xylitol or sorbitol candies 3 times each school day. In the aftermath of the research it was observed that there was a lower number of cavities in the erythritol group than in the xylitol or sorbitol groups. And the time in manifestation of cavities was the longest in the erythritol group.
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Better Sweetener Alternatives
Even though erythritol has some upsides, I’m not too much on board with the fact that those upsides outweigh the downsides, particularly in GMO erythritol. I prefer using stevia leaf extract because it doesn’t rise blood sugar levels and has a larger number of proven health upsides, like betterment in cholesterol, blood pressure, and various types of cancer.
Raw honey is also a great choice in my opinion and that one is honestly a superfood. Another suggestion is monk fruit (sweetener extracted from fruit used for a very long time throughout history).
When I say stevia I mean the real stevia leaf extract, not the likes of stevia products that has other sweeteners such as erythritol. Stevia, in fact, is a plant which belongs to the Asteraceae family. It has been used for over 1500 years by people in Brazil and Paraguay called Guarani. It’s absolutely awesome, health-boosting option when you want to by a pure stevia leaf extract that is high quality. Ensure that what you’re buying is stevia without any additives and one that hasn’t been too processed. My suggestion would be green stevia.
Raw honey is a clean, unaltered and organic sweetener created by bees using the nectar in the flowers. Raw honey doesn’t get cheated out of its great nutritional value and wellbeing powers as opposed to processed honey. Science has proven that it is useful against allergies, sleep issues, wound healing, coughs and diabetes. It’s best to find a beekeeper that is local to get your raw honey from because it may even cure your seasonal allergies.
Monk fruit, otherwise known as luohanguo, has been used for centuries as a sweetener and until recently it was very hard to find in the US even though it was widely available overseas. It contains ingredients which, when processed, are 300-400 times sweeter than cane sugar without the calories and side effects on blood sugar. All you have to do is ensure that the item you’re buying doesn’t have any GMO-derived erythritol or any other additives.
When erythritol gets into your system, it’s quickly assimilated in the small intestine and a small 10% proceed to the colon as for the other 90% is ejected through urine. Basically it runs through your organism without any assimilation. A lot of producers and buyers consider this to be a great trait because it means less calories or sugar in your eating regimen, but what in it exactly is promoting health? Nothing at all if it’s derived from man-made GMO corn products.
When it’s not GMO the downside is that it can incite gastrointestinal distress and allergic reactions in some people that might not be immune to its side effects.
Ideally we want the things that we consume to work in our advantage and promote our health and well-being. Erythritol has some good sides and non-GMO erythritol is ok if taken in medium quantities but the fact is that there are better choices available to us that offer similar or better healthy benefits.