What is Erythritol?
We have a passion for Erythritol - but why do we keep going on about it?!
Well, lets start by telling you - What is Erythritol?
Erythritol, although chemically sounding, is made by fermenting corn-starch glucose. It's a natural sweetener with many benefits over other sugars and sugar replacements.
What's it better than?
You will see many leading low-carb and better for you brands using substitutes such as maltitol, sorbitol or isomalt. These sweeteners all come with significant unwanted side effects, and are actually used with deceiving marketing practises.
Whats bad about other sweeteners?
Maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol all give sugar alcohols a bad rep, and they are often referred to as low GI (Glycemic Index) and low calorie alternatives, and used to allow brands to sell a cheaper, lower-sugar product.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Let's break it down and compare the GI.
The glycemic index is basically a measurement of how different carbohydrates, like sugar, will affect your blood sugar levels.
Although these alternatives are low carb, or 'no sugars', they actually do affect your glucose levels in a similar way to sugar. Let's take the GI of table sugar - 58 - this GI is seen as high and causes many people to avoid sugary products due to it's affect on consumers blood glucose levels.
If we look at Maltitol, it has a high GI of 36, which means that it also significantly affects blood sugar levels.
Even non-diabetic folks will experience unpleasant effects from spikes in blood sugar levels. If you have a blood sugar spike, you could feel hungry again sooner, even though you just ate, and this can lead to weight gain from extra calories munched!
So... What's so great about Erythritol?
Firstly, Erythritol has a GI between 0-1, which means it has almost zero affect on blood sugar.
Secondly, Erythritol works like dietary fibre. Just like the dietary fibre found in green beans, onions and fruit! Erythritol belongs to the ‘low digestible carbohydrates’ group.
Low digestible carbohydrates aid stimulation of bowel activity and regularity. Low-digestible carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are incompletely or not absorbed in the small intestine but are at least partly fermented by bacteria in the large intestine. Obviously this also means that like plums, for example, excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.
A growing amount of research has shown that long-term diets based on high-carbohydrate low glycemic ratio in foods such as Grandma Crunch can be regarded as beneficial for health. A low glycemic diet improves blood glucose control and reduces insulin demand as well as high blood fat levels. These factors are important with regard to the prevention of and the overall diet management in case of diabetes, overweight and cardiovascular disease.
Potential health benefits include a reduced caloric content, reduced or no effect on blood glucose levels, and non-cariogenic effects - which means no more tooth decay!
Your teeth actually benefit from Erythritol. The development of tooth cavities is more likely to be avoided because most microorganisms in the mouth are not able to use Erythritol as an energy source. As well as the reduction of plaque formation, Erythritol promotes remineralisation. Because of the tooth-friendly properties of Erythritol, chewing gum containing Erythritol is often used in caries (tooth decay) prevention.