Have you heard of sugar alcohols used to sweeten foods? In the food industry, we often think of artificial sweeteners as sugar alternatives. However, sugar alcohols are often used to add flavor to foods. Erythritol is one of these sugar alcohols. Let’s look at its features and effects together.
What is erythritol?
I mentioned that erythritol is a sugar alcohol. However, although it contains alcohol in its name, it does not contain alcohol in its structure. In fact, sugar alcohols are carbohydrates. Its sweetness rate is quite high (about 70 times) compared to sucrose. Therefore, it is used as a food additive.
Despite its high sweetness value, its caloric value is quite low. And this value is stated as 0.2 calories/gram.
Erythritol does not have a laxative effect (we can define it as an effect that increases bowel movement) like other sugar alcohols. In addition, it is not metabolized much in the body. It is excreted with urine. Therefore, it does not affect the insulin value. In addition, it has a low glycemic index value. Therefore, it is a suitable sweetener option for people with diabetes.
Which foods use erythritol?
It is naturally present in fruits such as grapes, melons and pears. Commercially, it is obtained from glucose. For this, osmophilic yeasts are used.
It is a food additive that has many uses such as milk desserts, ice cream, breakfast cereals, various sauces, jam, tablet sweeteners. It is possible to see this food additive on the label with the code E968. JECFA (Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives) has not specified any ADI (daily intake) value for erythritol.