About Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols, including erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol, and malitol are very different from artificial sweeteners. These contain a significantly lower amount of calories than regular table sugar, as these are naturally occurring in plants, fruits, and vegetables. Part of the structure of these sugar alcohols resembles sugar, while some resemble alcohol. The main difference that these have over alcoholic beverages is that they do not contain ethanol. Because the se sugar alcohols provide a sugar-like taste, they are often used as alter natives to regular table sugar.
How Erythritol is Made
Erythritol, as mentioned above, naturally occurs in certain fruits and fermented food products. At the industrial level, this sugar alcohol is made using plant based sugars. These plant based sugars are mixed with water. The plant sugar and water mix then follows a fermentation process through a natural culture that will then result in erythritol. After which, it is then filtered, given ample time to form into crystals, and allowed to dry. The finished product of this process is white powder or granules that look very much like regular table sugar.
The Difference that Erythritol has from other Sugar Alcohols
There are several things that make erythritol stand out from the other types of sugar alcohols and from regular table sugar itself. Here are some of the featuresthat make this sugar alcohol different from the rest:
- Fermented – Erythritol is made from the process of fermenting natural sugars found in fruits and plants.
- Potent antioxidant – This specific type of sugar alcohol contains potent antioxidative properties that help fight and get rid of free radicals, which are responsible for speeding up the aging process. Noncarcinogenic – Studies have shown that this sugar alcohol does not contain carcinogenic properties.
- Noncaloric – This sugar alcohol, unlike most of the other types of sugar alcohols that contain low caloric content, has absolutely zero calories.
- Nonglycemic – Erythritol does not affect the blood sugar levels, which makes it a great sweetening alternative for people who are suffering from the medical condition diabetes. It does not increase the insulin and the glucose levels.
- Heat stable – This sugar alcohol has a heat stability of up to 160 degree Celsius.
- Easiest to digest form of sugar alcohol – Most of the other types of sugar alcohols end up in the colon, which causes diarrhea and other digestive related symptoms. On the other hand, more than 90 percent of erythritol is easily and readily absorbed in the small intestines. In fact, studies have shown that this sugar alcohol is a lot easier to digest compared to xylitol.
- Non laxative effect – Erythritol does not have any laxative effects, which is common in the other forms of sugar alcohol.
What Erythritol is Good For
Since erythritol offers numerous health benefits because of its unique properties, this sugar alcohol is good for a wide variety of uses and purposes. Some of the benefits and uses for this specific kind of sugar alcohol include the following:
- For Weight Loss – Being overweight or obese can significantly increase the risk of an individual to suffer from a wide variety of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. It has also beenreported that being overweight or obese can also result in certain forms of cancer. Losing weight can therefore reduce these risks. Since erythritol is noncaloric, it can be very beneficial for individuals who would like to lose weight.
- For Individuals Suffering from the Medical Condition Diabetes- Erythritol does not affect the levels of blood sugar, which is one of the reasons why this sugar alcohol is being recommended to diabetics as an alternative to regular table sugar.
- For Improved Oral Heath – This specific form of sugar alcohol does not, in any way, cause tooth decay. The bacteria that is responsible for causing tooth decay cannot ferment erythritol the way it can with regular table sugar, which means that acid in not produced.
- For Regulating and Controlling Blood Sugar Levels -This sugar alcohol helps control the levels of blood sugar in both healthy and diabetic individuals. Consumption of this sugar alcohol does not raise the levels of blood sugar and insulin the way that starches and regular table sugar do. This feature is one of the main reasons as to why this specific sugar alcohol is widely being used in food products specifically formulated for people who are suffering from diabetes.
- For Reducing the Risk of Cardiovascular Disorders – In depth research and studies have found that erythritol has free-radical scavenging properties, which help lower the risk of cardiovascular disorders. The antioxidant potential of this sugar alcohol has also been reported to have significant blood vessel wall protective properties that prevent the damages caused by free radicals.