I first read about erythritol in the book This Crazy Vegan Life by Christina Pirello. Christina is a big fan of using erythritol as a sugar substitute. After reading that book I starting seeing erythritol on more and more ingredient lists. One of them being my Vitamin Water 10, the low calorie version of Vitamin Water.
So what is it? Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in plants. For commercial purposes it is made from glucose by fermentation with a yeast. The finished product is a white granular substance that resembles sugar. Some benefits of erythritol:
- It has almost no calories. In the U.S. it is labeled at 0.2 calories per gram. In Japan it’s labeled as zero calories
- It does not cause tooth decay
- It does not cause digestive upset like other sugar alcohols (in reasonable amounts)
- It has not been shown to affect blood sugar levels
Erythritol is 60-70% as sweet as sugar. Since it comes in granular form it can be substituted easily for sugar in a recipe. The only downside to erythritol that I can find is that if consumed in large quantities it can cause gastric disturbances (eeep!). Though it seems that you would have to consume a pretty large quantity of erythritol to have problems. However everyone’s body and system is different which means erythritol will affect different people in different ways.
It seems like erythritol is a pretty good sugar substitute. Definitely better than aritficial sweeteners. What do you think? Anything to add to the information above?
Has anyone ever used erythritol at home? I’ve never seen it at the store, but it looks like you can buy it on Amazon. I’m curious about trying it in baked goods.