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What is Erythritol sweetener?

When it comes to sugar substitutes, erythritol has become a popular option for those who crave sweetness without the calories associated with many natural sugars. But what exactly is erythritol, and how does it measure up to traditional table sugar nutritionally?

This article explores the sweetener erythritol, its production, chemical composition and its place in the world of sweeteners.

What is Erythritol?

Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol and polyol. It is often used as a sugar substitute due to its remarkable ability to mimic the taste of sucrose (table sugar) without the caloric impact. 

 Whilst Erythritol is typically associated with artificial sweeteners, it is naturally found in small amounts in some fruits like watermelon, grapes and pears, as well as in fermented foods like soy sauce and cheese. Erythritol has become a popular ingredient in packaged foods for people looking to reduce sugar consumption without sacrificing sweetness.

How is Erythritol produced?

Erythritol is commercially produced through a natural fermentation process using a yeast called Moniliella pollinis. This yeast ferments glucose from various plant-based sources, such as corn or wheat starch and the resulting liquid is then filtered and purified to obtain erythritol crystals. 

This production method is similar to the way other sugar alcohols (like xylitol) are made, and they could be considered more natural than artificial sweeteners, although they are often used in combination.

What is the chemical composition of Erythritol?

Erythritol is a four-carbon sugar alcohol with the molecular formula C4H10O4. Its chemical structure is characterised by four carbon atoms, ten hydrogen atoms and four oxygen atoms.

Erythritol's unique chemical composition is directly responsible for its sweet taste and special properties. It's virtually calorie-free, containing only 0.24 calories per gram, in stark contrast to table sugar's 4 calories per gram. This high level of sweetness and low caloric profile makes it a valuable tool for those managing their caloric intake.

What foods contain Erythritol?

Below are just a few of the foods you will find on supermarket shelves that contain Erythritol:-

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Sugar-free lollies
  • Sugar-free baked goods
  • Sugar-free chocolate
  • Low-calorie or sugar-free beverages
  • Sugar-free jams and jellies
  • Protein bars
  • Sugar-free syrups
  • Low-carb or keto-friendly foods
  • Sugar-free ice cream
  • Sugar-free energy drinks
  • Flavoured water enhancers
  • Low-sugar or sugar-free protein powders
  • Nutritional supplements

Nutritionally, how does Erythritol compare to table sugar?

Caloric Content: Erythritol provides sweetness in foods with minimal calories. In fact, it's considered almost calorie-free, making it an attractive choice for those aiming to reduce their caloric intake.

Impact on Blood Sugar: Erythritol has a low glycemic index (GI), and studies have shown it does not significantly affect blood sugar levels. This feature is particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those focused on maintaining steady blood sugar levels.

Dental Health: Erythritol is classed as tooth-friendly because it doesn't promote tooth decay or cavities. Harmful oral bacteria cannot metabolise erythritol efficiently, making it a healthier choice for your teeth compared to sugar.

Digestive Tolerance: Erythritol is typically well-tolerated by most people when consumed in moderation. Unlike some other sugar alcohols, like sorbitol, it has less potential for digestive discomfort. However, foods containing any polyols including erythritol are still required to carry a warning that excess consumption may have a laxative effect.

Whilst Erythritol appears to be a good alternative to table sugar, it's also important to note that its sweetness level per gram is slightly less than that of sucrose. As a result, more Erythritol may need to be used to achieve the same level of sweetness as sweetness in your recipes and cooking.

There are many benefits to using Erythritol as a sugar substitute. With a very low-calorie content, a low glycemic index and tooth-friendly properties, it makes it a viable option for those seeking to reduce their sugar intake without sacrificing sweetness. 

Overall, Erythritol offers a sweet solution for individuals seeking sugar alternatives to satisfy their sweet tooth. 


Strain improvement for enhanced erythritol production by Moniliella pollinis Mutant-58 using jaggery as a cost-effective substrate
Erythritol: An In-Depth Discussion of Its Potential to Be a Beneficial Dietary Component
Erythritol Is More Effective Than Xylitol and Sorbitol in Managing Oral Health Endpoints

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