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August 26, 2009

Erythritol—A Sugar Substitute as Low as You Can Go on the Glycemic Index

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol with far less affect on blood sugar than the others. Maltitol, xylitol, and sorbitol are other sugar alcohols, which you may be more familiar with. Erythritol has almost no calories or carbohydrates, and if you want a truly free ride of sugary sweetness, it’s the way to go. Erythritol creates a great deal less intestinal discomfort than other sugar alcohols, tastes great, .

Erythritol occurs some fruits, fungi, and fermented foods.

Erythritol is approximatesly 3/4 as sweet as of sugar by taste, so use in recipes accordingly. It can be used in baking, milkshakes, smoothies, puddings, tea, anything you would use sugar for, but without the long list of harmful effects. Even agave’s glycemic index is 48, some lower than sugar, and not refined, but still often problematic because of the sugar levels, and more of a substitute for honey than for sugar, in consistency.

Diabetics, anyone concerned about Candida, mold and yeast in the intestine, keeping inflammation down, keeping blood sugar levels on an even keel for emotions, mental sharpness, weight maintenance, and more should try to stay low on the glycemic index with food intake. But how sad to avoid sweet foods altogether? Before, there were only the horrible artificial sweeteners, causing health problems left and right. These days, we live in a heaven of sweetness, with many very healthy sweeteners available. Erythritol has been used in foods since the 90’s, and is common in Japan, but still not well known in most of the world.

Sugar alcohols are not fully absorbable, so the blood sugar impact is lower, as is the caloric value. A plus is that sugar alcohols don’t cause tooth decay. Even more of a plus—Xylitol, actually inhibits bacterial growth in the mouth. However, sugar alcohols may ferment in the intestines and cause bloating, or diarrhea.

So, you may want to try out different ones to see what works for you. If your main concerns are stopping cavities, stops the growth of candida, boosting the immune system and reducing ear infections,.try xylitol first. If you are worried about indigestion, however, give erythritol a shot first. Or use a little of both, plus stevia., so there is less intestine issue, more cavity fighting, and you also have the blood sugar lowering effects of stevia.

Sugar is 60 on the glycemic index, xylitol is 7 or 13 depending on the source, much lower than matlitol, yet higher than sorbitol, which is 9. Erythritol, however, comes in at a whopping 0!! Stevia is 0 as well, actually lowering the blood sugar, which may be dangerous for some, so in that case, stick with erythritol. Stevia tastes delicious, but doesn’t have the same feel as sugar, which xylitol and erythritol do.

Erythritol is hard to find in stores. I get mine from Nu Naturals instead, which is in crystalline form. This excellent company has a wide range of blood sugar friendly sweeteners available in bulk, including stevia and xylitol. Per weight, stevia is their least expensive, then xylitol, then erythritol. A 16 ounce container of erythritol at Nu Naturals runs$13.49. While stevia is excellent, and their preparation has no bitterness, it can’t be used in the same way as the others when baking, for substituting the bulk and consistency of sugar.

If you don’t want an exact sugar substitute, but just some healthy sweetness, not only xylitol is great but stevia as well. It helps prevent cavities and bacteria too, heals skin problems, as well as wounds and lip sores.

Nu Naturals doesn’t have it in bulk, but in 2 oz liquid, they also have Lo Han for $17.99. Lo Han Guo is a fruit in the same family as melons, cucumbers, and squash. Lo Han is extremely low on the glycemic index. It isn’t like sugar, however, more like a fruity maple syrup, with a strong taste not everyone will find as appealing as erythritol, which is great.

Erythritol does make a great sugar substitute, and for most people seems to have much fewer digestive problems associated with it than xylitol, the other sweetener most like sugar. The two sweeteners taste basically the same to me. But both, as sugar alcohols, cause generally mild digestive problems for some people, and it may just be a matter of individual constitution as to which causes them. Most people have no side effects with them at all, and if they do, are often willing to put up with some for sweetness without all the horrible effects of sugar or artificial sweeteners. People with irritable bowel syndrome shouldn’t use them, to be safe, however. Otherwise, some laxative effect may even be useful at times.

So, have fun, experiment with the natural sweeteners out there, mix and match for the perfect taste combination, and thank goodness for the companies that make and sell and test these wonderful products.

http://www.nunaturals.com/products/sub/bakingproducts

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/262025/xylitol_a_sweet_natural_cure.html?cat=22

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/33422/diabetes_and_stevia.html?cat=5

Tantra

Tantra Bensko, MFA, teaches Fiction Writing online through UCLA Extension Writing Program and her own academy online. She ran Exclusive Magazine, and maintains the resource site, Experimental Writing. She has close to 200 story and poetry publications in magazines as well as 4 novelettes. And 4 literary chapbooks including Watching the Windows Sleep, by Naissance Press, and the new Cabinet of What You Don't See, by ISMs Press. Her full length fiction books are Lucid Membrane, put out by Night Publishing, and Collapsible Horizon (LucidPlay Publishing). Yard Man is slated to come out from Make-Do Publishing. She is trained like a seal to write bios in the 3rd person now.

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11 comments to Erythritol—A Sugar Substitute as Low as You Can Go on the Glycemic Index

  • Rene` Massengale

    I am very concerned about artificial sweeteners. I am an epileptic and they interfere with the way my medication works for my seizures.
    WHY??
    Why aren’t artifical sweetener’s being advirtised on the main label for those of who need to avoid them like the black plauge!!

  • i used Stevia extract as a sugar substitute because i am diabetic. Stevia is really sweeter than sucrose..;.

  • I am currently using xylitol, great product! When I cook with it I can’t tell the difference. Good stuff!

  • Ann

    Stevia is a great alternative to dangerous artificial sweeteners and Body Ecology has one called Lakanto which is a combination of fermented erythritol and Lo Han – it looks like brown sugar – zero calories – tastes just like sugar and can be used one for one in baking. It’s one of the best I’ve used.

  • cathi

    Lakanto Sweetener is NOT an Artificial Sweetener, it’s a combination of Erythitol and Luo Han Guo. Erythitol is made from a natural fermentation process that occurs in fruits and vegetables. Most Erythitol to is made from corn, but most of the corn proteins that people are allergic to are left out. I personally would like to see Erythitol made from some other vegetable, but understand that Corn is cheap. Lau Han Guo, is a 2000 year old Chinese sugar, that has very few calories and carbs to it. And I believe it is either 2 times or 3 times sweeter than regular sugar. It supposed to have some good health benefit to it too. I personally prefer the taste of Luo Han Guo over Stevia, it gives a nice Carmel taste to the sugar. So Lakanto makes a great brown sugar replacement, besides replacing artificial sweetener. I really like it, and have used it for over year for many baked goods and foods. It does a great job.

  • Thanks, Cathi. That’s interesting it has the brown sugar effec. Makes me want to get some again.

  • Great website. Plenty of helpful info here. I am sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you for your sweat!

  • Arri

    I am currently use Fructose in the form of clear thick bottled liquid, in my daily tea and coffee drink. Anybody has experience of negative effects of this kind of sweetener?.

  • I have negative effects because it’s such a concentrated sweet. That sets the stage for fungus, mold, yeast in the gut. So, I just don’t do it. I’ve been using a new brand of stevia lately, which I have to say, I don’t like as much as others. It’s Sweet Leaf brand. I thought the toffee flavored stuff would be good, but it’s very bitter.

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