Do you know the natural alternative to saccharin for those on a diet and just can't give up sweets? This is how erythritol is presented today, and it is a really fitting definition, given that this new natural sweetener is revealing surprising properties, especially useful for those who need to contain calories.
Yeah, but are you sure you know what we're talking about? No, right? This does not surprise us, given that it is an absolutely new product. And that's why we have decided to prepare this short guide for you in which you can find out everything, absolutely everything, about erythritol. What it is, how to use it in the kitchen, and why it will be good for you and yours diet.
In short, all you have to do is make yourself comfortable and keep reading!
Erythritol: what it is and some information to find it on the label
From the point of view of consumers, erythritol is a simple sweetener, therefore a product that you can add to coffee and anything you like, to sweeten it without taking on all the calories of sugar (and without suffering its other effects, as we will tell you later ).
From a scientific point of view, however, erythritol is a polyol, i.e. a molecule composed of four carbon atoms. It is present in nature in plants, therefore in fruit and vegetables, and is extracted precisely from plant sugars, with a specific procedure which sees them subjected to particularly intense bacterial fermentation.
The first thing we can say, therefore, is that erythritol is completely natural, unlike other sweeteners which have a synthetic formulation.
And how to find it on the label? Let's start right away by saying that, to date, it's not yet so widespread, so it might take a while before you see the acronym appear in the packaging of your favorite diet snacks. However, if you're curious, what you need to look for is the wording "E968".
Alternatively, you can search for the “ES50” entry. What is it about? Of a combination of erythritol and fructose, which has been tested and put on the market by a leading company in the production of sugars, the 100% made in Italy, which is using erythritol by virtue of precisely those exceptional characteristics that we are going to describe to you more after you.
Erythritol: the health benefits
Yep, why should we replace our sweeteners with erythritol? First, because its organoleptic properties are similar to those of sugar. This means that new dieters will have less trouble getting used to the sweetener. In fact, we all know that one of the most unpleasant aspects of a diet is making the palate accept some new flavors, especially when we treat ourselves to a coffee or a small evening dessert. Some people also just can't accept the taste of the sweetener. Using one with a similar flavor, therefore, will make everything easier.
Well, but that's not all. In fact, erythritol is also completely free of calories and carbohydrates. Magic? No: erythritol simply contains carbohydrates that are not digested in the intestine, i.e. they do not enter the bloodstream. We can say that it is "in fact" devoid of calories and carbohydrates, on the one hand because its incidence in our daily caloric intake is so low as to be considered irrelevant, and on the other because it has no glycemic index, i.e. it does not affect on blood sugar.
What does this tell us? We are sure that you have already understood it: in addition to those on a diet, erythritol is ideal for those who have problems with blood sugar, for example those suffering from insulin resistance. All with a better flavor than fructose and xylitol, and "neutral" i.e. unflavoured, which also distinguishes it from stevia, the other “healthy” natural sweetener that is becoming more and more popular in recent years.
But that's not all, because erythritol doesn't even affect the digestive system, since it is almost completely eliminated through the urine, and what's more it doesn't damage the teeth. Well yes: another of its surprising advantages is that erythritol does not ferment in the mouth and does not produce bacteria and acidity, thus preventing tooth decay from proliferating.
Use erythritol in cooking
Now let's see how we can use erythritol in our everyday life. We have said that it is a substitute for saccharin, which means that you can use it in creams and ice cream, jams, coffee and whipping preparations such as meringues.
The only recommendations are not to use it in shortcrust pastry, which becomes a bit gummy with the erythritol, and to use it hot in syrups, because it has a tendency to crystallize.
Compared to common kitchen sugar, you will notice that much less is needed to sweeten foods, and that it is easier to use as it dissolves more easily.
And now we come to a real novelty: you can also use erythritol in savory recipes, for example in marinades or in mixes of salt, sugar and spices.
We just said it, one of the amazing things about erythritol is that you use less of it than table sugar, getting the same effect. Approximately, when you read a recipe, you can reduce the dose to 60% or 80%. This obviously maximizes those benefits such as the very low calorie intake and the glycemic index which is almost zero. Furthermore, it has no aftertaste, so your recipes will be absolutely similar to the original.
But it doesn't end there! Do you know what visceral fat is? This is the accumulation of fat that is placed at the height of the abdomen and which wraps the internal organs. Compared to the rest of the body fat, visceral fat is to be kept under control, because it is responsible for various pathologies both of the heart and of the gastrointestinal system. Erythritol does not affect this fat. Furthermore, it does not accumulate in the intestinal lumen, making it healthier and free of contraindications.
Let's give the numbers: erythritol in summary
In short, erythritol is full of benefits and free from side effects.
- 0.2 calories per gram (calculating that a teaspoon is about 5 grams, each teaspoon of erythritol will provide only one calorie).
- Zero glycemic index. Therefore ideal for those suffering from pathologies related to insulin, glycemic peaks and weight.
- Impact on dental health close to zero: it does not create an acidic environment in the mouth and therefore does not favor the proliferation of caries.
- Zero risk of side effects such as abdominal cramps and swelling caused by sugar and sweeteners. It is absorbed by the intestinal mucosa and secreted via the kidneys, does not accumulate and does not cause water retention.
- Zero aftertaste: it can be used in place of table sugar without you noticing the difference and without making the further sacrifice of having to get used to a new taste.
Sounds too good to be true? And then know that there is even more! In-depth studies are being carried out, in fact, to verify the potential antioxidant role that erythritol has shown during the first researches.
Where do I buy it? Erythritol on Amazon!
There was only one aspect missing to make erythritol totally palatable, right? Well yes, we thought about it too. Easy availability is essential, especially for those who have to control their diet and are therefore already quite stressed and busy with everything that changing their diet entails. Adding to this stress also having to ride a roller coaster to find all the ingredients is definitely the first step to making your diet fail.
Well, erythritol also helps you from this point of view. Even if it is a new product and not yet widespread in supermarkets, you can in fact easily find it online.
- NDK living offers it in a granulated version, absolutely identical to sugar;
- ZeroCal, on the other hand, offers us an interesting organic version, to be sure of getting the maximum benefits without additives and without any side effects.
But… are there any side effects?
So far, both scientific research and daily use have shown us that erythritol is really full of benefits. However, as we have said and we repeat, it is a product that has been neglected by the food industry for a long time. This means that to date we don't have as much data on erythritol as we do on table sugar and natural or synthetic sweeteners.
As far as side effects are concerned, above all, we must first of all state that in some cases they are hoaxes. For example, the hypothesis has been feared that, like another synthetic sweetener, it may be carcinogenic. This news is absolutely unfounded to date, having found no confirmation in scientific studies.
It is true, however, that it has a certain laxative effect. This could also be read as an advantage for some, but in fact, compared to other sweeteners, it means that its use may need to be limited (also, it is good to consider the interaction with drugs if it causes diarrhoea). For example, in the case of children, it is advisable not to exceed a dose between 5 and 15 grams per day, while for adults the recommended dose is between 0.5 and one gram per kilo of weight.
In summary: exploit erythritol to its full potential!
In short, we are sure that now you are already looking for erythritol on Amazon to stock up. Well, we definitely can't blame you. Erythritol is proving to be truly exceptional in terms of organoleptic properties, caloric intake, impact on health and side effects.
The extra tip? Maximize its effects by combining it with dietetic foods. Add it to fresh low-fat ricotta instead of pudding and try making fat-free cakes. By maintaining a flavor that will satisfy the palate, you will gradually move towards healthier eating habits. To keep fit and live longer!