Sugar is one of the most widely consumed ingredients in the world, but it also comes with many health risks, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay. Many people are looking for alternatives to sugar that can satisfy their sweet cravings without compromising their health. One of these alternatives is organic erythritol, a natural sweetener that has zero calories, zero sugar, and many potential benefits.
What is organic erythritol?
Organic erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that is derived from non-GMO corn or other organic sources. It is produced by fermenting glucose with yeast and then purifying and crystallizing the resulting product. Organic erythritol tastes like sugar, but it has some unique properties that make it different from other sweeteners.
First of all, organic erythritol has no calories or carbohydrates. This means that it does not affect blood sugar levels or insulin secretion, making it suitable for people with diabetes or those who follow keto or paleo diets. It also does not cause tooth decay or cavities because it does not feed the bacteria in the mouth that produce acid.
Secondly, organic erythritol has a high digestive tolerance. Unlike some other sugar alcohols that can cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, or laxative effects when consumed in large amounts, organic erythritol does not cause any significant digestive issues because most of it (about 90%) is absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted unchanged in the urine. Only a small amount reaches the colon where it is fermented by gut bacteria.
Thirdly, organic erythritol has a cooling sensation and a clean aftertaste. It has 60-70% of the sweetness of table sugar and can be used similarly to sugar in cooking and baking. However, some people may find its cooling effect unpleasant or notice a slight difference in texture or volume when using it as a substitute for sugar.
How to use organic erythritol?
Organic erythritol can be used in various ways as a natural sweetener for food and beverages. Here are some examples of how to use organic erythritol:
- As a sugar substitute in beverages: You can add organic erythritol to your coffee, tea, juice, smoothies, or other drinks to give them a hint of sweetness without adding any calories or carbs.
- As a baking ingredient: You can use organic erythritol to make cakes, cookies, muffins, breads, or other baked goods that require sweetness. However, you may need to adjust the amount of liquid or leavening agents in your recipe because organic erythritol does not retain moisture or add volume like sugar does.
- As a topping or filling for desserts: You can sprinkle organic erythritol on top of your ice cream,
yogurt, pudding, or pie to add some crunch and flavor. You can also mix organic erythritol with fruit puree, cream cheese, or whipped cream to make delicious fillings for cakes, cupcakes, or pastries.
- As a sweetener for sauces, dressings, marinades, or jams: You can use organic erythritol to make sauces for meat, fish, or vegetables; dressings for salads; marinades for tofu; or jams for breads or pancakes. Just be aware that organic erythritol may crystallize when heated above 120°C (248°F) or cooled below 4°C (39°F), so you may need to reheat or stir your sauce before serving.
What are the benefits of organic erythritol?
Organic erythritol may have several health benefits besides being calorie-free and carb-free. Some of these benefits are:
- It may help prevent dental caries: Organic erythritol may inhibit plaque formation and bacterial growth in the mouth by reducing oral pH and salivary glucose levels. It may also enhance the remineralization of tooth enamel by increasing calcium absorption.
- It may have antioxidant properties: Organic erythritol may protect against oxidative stress and inflammation by scavenging free radicals and modulating gene expression. It may also increase glutathione levels in cells, which is an important antioxidant molecule.
- It may lower blood pressure and improve endothelial function: Organic erythritol may reduce nitric oxide scavenging by reactive oxygen species, which may improve vascular function and lower blood pressure. It may also reduce platelet aggregation and adhesion and improve blood flow.
- It may modulate gut microbiota and enhance intestinal barrier function: Organic erythritol may increase the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by gut bacteria, which may have beneficial effects on intestinal health, such as lowering pH, enhancing mucus secretion, strengthening tight junctions, and modulating immune responses.
What are the side effects of organic erythritol?
Organic erythritol is generally safe and well-tolerated by most people. However, some possible side effects are:
- It may cause allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to corn or other sources of organic erythritol and experience symptoms such as hives, rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you have a known allergy to corn or other grains, avoid organic erythritol or consult your doctor before using it.
- It may cause nausea: Consuming large amounts of organic erythritol (more than 50 grams per day) may cause nausea due to its rapid absorption and excretion. This may be more likely if you consume organic erythritol on an empty stomach or with alcohol. To prevent this, you should limit your intake of organic erythritol and consume it with food or water.
- It may interact with some medications: Organic erythritol may affect the absorption or metabolism of some medications that influence blood sugar levels or kidney function due to its osmotic effect. These include insulin, oral hypoglycemic agents, diuretics, and antibiotics. If you are taking any of these medications, you should monitor your blood sugar levels and kidney function regularly and consult your doctor before using organic erythritol.
Organic erythritol is a natural sweetener that has zero calories, zero sugar, and many potential health benefits. It can be used in various ways as a substitute for sugar in food and beverages. However, it may also have some side effects or interactions with some medications that you should be aware of. Therefore, you should use organic erythritol in moderation and consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions or allergies that may affect its use.