Erythritol sweetener benefit, side effects, zero calories
June 26 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Erythritol is a natural bulk agent and sweetener. The staring material for the formation is a glucose rich substrate obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis from a natural raw material starch and then it is fermented and crystalized at over 99.5% purity. It is a sugar alcohol (polyol) which is absorbed from the small intestine in substantial amounts, not metabolized in the human body, and therefore excreted in the urine. Erythritol is sometimes added to a stevia sweetener product.

Where is it found?
Erythritol is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, it has near zero calories.

Erythritol and diabetes
This natural sweetener does not seem to affect blood sugar and hence may be used by diabetics.

Safety, risk, side effects, toxicity
Tolerance to subchronic, high-dose ingestion of erythritol in human volunteers.
Regul Toxicology Pharmacology. 1996.
Erythritol holds promise as a low-calorie sugar substitute. Human tolerance to repeated oral doses of erythritol was examined in a double-blind, two-way crossover study in 12 healthy, male volunteers. The participants consumed erythritol and, for comparison, sucrose for a duration of 7 days each. The daily dose of the test compounds ingested was 0.3 g/kg on Day 1, 0.6 g/kg on Day 2, and 1.0 g/kg on subsequent days. The daily dose was consumed under supervision in five portions, i.e., with the three main meals, a midmorning snack, and during the afternoon. The test compounds were incorporated into yoghurt, cookies, soft drinks, and chocolate. Body weights and blood pressure remained stable during the entire study. Signs of gastrointestinal intolerance were not seen and stool frequency and appearance were not different between the two treatments. The intake of liquids, which were provided ad libitum, was generally rather high but not different between erythritol and sucrose consumption. Urine output also was high during both treatment periods. About 78% of ingested erythritol was excreted in the urine which led to a higher urinary osmolality but did not influence the 24-hr output of creatinine, citrate, urea, or electrolytes (Na+, K+, Cl-, Pi). The urinary excretions of albumin, beta 2-microglobulin, and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase were slightly elevated during the erythritol test period but they were still well within the physiological range. None of the observed urinary changes became more pronounced with increasing duration of the erythritol treatment. The results of the present study demonstrate that the repeated ingestion of erythritol at daily doses of 1 g/kg body wt was well tolerated by humans.

Arerugi. 2013. A case of 5 year-old boy of anaphylaxis due to erythritol with negative prick test and positive intradermal test. A 5 year-old boy experienced anaphylaxis after eating a jelly product for diet supplement containing erythritol as a major component. Prick test with the jelly product was negative, but the second oral ingestion of the jelly product at home caused another allergic reaction. Prick test with erythritol was negative even at 300 mg/ml, which was almost the solubility limit. Intradermal test was marginally positive at 0.1 mg/ml, and clearly positive at 1 mg/ml or higher concentration. We found subtle dose-response reaction utilizing basophil activation test, examined with 24 hour incubation at the concentration of 40-4000 μg/ml. At the oral challenge test in the hospital, 3 g of erythritol induced remarkable coughing, urticaria, edema, wheezing and hypoxemia. Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol, with the molecular weight of 122.12, which is recently being widely used for diet supplements, beverages, or drug medicines due to its properties of calorie-free and good-tasting, with easy-to-use physical characteristics. We now have to recognize erythritol as a candidate for food allergen, and to be careful about negative result of prick test.

Erythritol approved in Europe - 2008
Erythritol will join a host of approved polyols and be used as a low-calorie sugar alternative in food and beverage categories throughout the European Union. It's an approval that follows years of sanctioned use in the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. Cargill, lobbied extensively for the approval of erythritol for 10 years. Zerose is a proprietary erthritol product targeted at low-calorie indulgence foods, including bakery items, dairy-based desserts and confectionery items such as gum and chocolate. Zerose is also being marketed on its ability to extend product shelf life. Erythritol has a number of functions such as flavor enhancer, carrier, humectant, stabilizer, thickener, bulking agent and sequestrant.

Zerose erythritol was featured prominently at Nutracon 2010 as the company sponsors the eventís Mainstreaming of Natural Sweeteners Track. Zerose erythritol is a natural bulk sweetener that tastes like sugar but has zero sugar, zero calories, zero aftertaste and zero artificial ingredients. While industry experts and attendees gather at Nutracon March 10-11 to explore practical reduced-calorie options that will satisfy consumersí taste buds, theyíll also be sampling products with Zeroseô erythritol including indulgent reduced calorie chocolates and refreshing zero-calorie mint lozenges. Cargill also will feature very creative prototypes and products at this yearís Natural Products Expo West, March 12-14 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Cargillís ingredients include: Gluten-free bread made with Oliggo-Fiber inulin to support digestive health and help enhance calcium absorption- Goji berry antioxidant beverage made with Barliv barley betafiber to help lower cholesterol- Quest Products Cardio Chews, a commercially-available dietary supplement made with Cargillís CoroWise Naturally Sourced Cholesterol Reducerô brand of plant sterols- Refreshing Dairy Smoothies fortified with Regenasure glucosamine hydrochloride, a non-shellfish, vegetarian-sourced product that many customers use to promote joint health. Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 159,000 people in 68 countries.

I have been using Swerve. The ingredients are these (erythritol, oligofructose, resistant maltodextrin) and silicon dioxide. Itís supposed to have zero calories and zero carbs. Iíve been using Swerve for several months now for baking. It does a good job replacing regular sugar. The other sugar that I use Is Lakanto, itís a combination of erythritol and Luo Han Guo.