Erythritol is a food additive called a polyol. But is erythritol ketogenic? Understand how erythritol can help you with your low-carb lifestyle
If you've just started a ketogenic diet, eliminating carbohydrates and sugar can be difficult. Conventional desserts can stop ketosis and hamper your weight loss goals
The good news ? There are many healthy sugar substitutes (sugars without sugar) which will give you access to diet desserts suitable for the ketogenic diet without worrying about the number of carbohydrates.
Erythritol is one of these options. It's a low-calorie, super-low-carb alcohol that's two-thirds as sweet as sugar and one of the more popular ketogenic sweeteners.
Continue the guide to understand what happens when you eat erythritol, its potential health benefits, risks, and side effects.
What is erythritol?
Erythritol is a type of food additive otherwise known as a polyol. It is not precisely a sugar, nor an alcohol. Unlike regular sugar, most polyols do not significantly increase your blood sugar and do not contain ethanol (found in alcohol). Erythritol was first discovered over 150 years ago, but it was not produced commercially until the 1990s.
It is found naturally in some fruits and fermented foods. The production of erythritol on an industrial scale involves the fermentation of glucose (usually from corn) using yeast. Erythritol tastes 65-70% as sweet as standard sugar.
Is Erythritol Compatible With The Ketogenic Diet And The Sugar Free Diet?
Erythritol is an ideal sweet alternative for the ketogenic diet and the sugar-free diet. It's well tolerated with few side effects, has almost zero net carbs, and even has potential health benefits. On top of that, 90% of erythritol is not metabolized making it very low in calories. It will therefore not increase your blood sugar or insulin!
Carbs, Net Carbs, and Calories
Erythritol has about 0.2 calories per gram, which works out to 20 calories per 100 grams. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly your body can produce glucose from a source of carbohydrates. Anything below 55 is considered low GI. Erythritol's glycemic index is effectively zero, which is another reason it is a suitable polyol choice if you want to eat less sugar.
Craving sugar, the trap!
Eating desserts and cookies frequently can perpetuate your craving for sugar and your addiction to sweetness. People who use sugar-free artificial sweeteners have a harder time losing weight. Even when sweeteners don't have a direct effect on blood sugar and insulin, researchers believe they might increase the likelihood of getting people to compensate in other ways.
This doesn't mean that you should never take erythritol, but it helps to keep it in perspective. If you've worked hard to develop a healthier relationship with desserts, you can reward yourself with a second-hand sugar-free dessert.nel.
What are the health benefits?
You are probably interested in erythritol for making cookies without sugar. It has several health benefits.
Polyols like erythritol have an excellent track record in preventing cavities. This is why they are often used in gums and sugarless candies. Erythritol works primarily by suppressing the formation of biofilm. Biofilm is a colony of bacteria that can form on your teeth and gums. Over time, biofilms can lead to gingivitis and an unhealthy oral microbiome, but erythritol can help you maintain a healthy oral ecosystem. The use of erythritol is not a substitute for brushing your teeth :)
As you may know, overeating sugar can increase oxidative stress. High levels of glucose (hyperglycemia) lead to metabolism problems which can damage cells over time. The chemicals that help repair this damage are called antioxidants, and it turns out that erythritol could fall into this category.
Blood sugar and type 2 diabetes
Erythritol may be the perfect sweetener for people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. In a 12-week study of type 2 diabetes patients, 15 to 20 grams of erythritol per day were obtained. resulted in low blood sugar, insulin resistance, and other health improvements.
Erythritol is relatively inert in your gut. In other words, unlike most sweeteners, it does not break down or metabolize into other sugars or polyols. As a result, it has unique gut health properties. Specifically, erythritol can help hydrate your colon, protect intestinal tissue, and cleanse the colon from disease organisms.
Erythritol slows gastric emptying, helping to lower the glycemic index of other carbohydrates. In other words, your blood sugar stays lower when you eat erythritol, even if you eat other carbohydrates at the same time, because it slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream. It helps you feel full for a longer period of time.
What are the side effects of erythritol?
There is strong evidence that most people can consume erythritol without any problem. Unlike other polyols, even a very high dose of erythritol is unlikely to trigger an upset stomach or have a laxative effect:
Adults should be able to safely consume 1 gram per kg without adverse effects. One study found that a dose of 15 grams was well tolerated in children (or about 730 milligrams per kg). Gastrointestinal side effects are rare with erythritol, but they can occur if you mix it with fructose.
Overall, erythritol appears to be very safe. But there are some possible exceptions, for example for very young children and pregnant women.
Erythritol and the ketogenic diet
Erythritol is a great choice if you're on a ketogenic diet. It has few side effects, virtually no calories, and zero carbohydrates while offering potential health benefits. Erythritol is different from other polyols because it does not significantly increase blood sugar or insulin. And for most people, it won't cause an upset stomach, bloating, or diarrhea.
If you decide to buy erythritol, first carefully review the ingredients on the product packaging. Erythritol should be the only ingredient, so avoid additives like dextrose or maltodextrin which can raise your blood sugar.