Not only that the sugar tastes sweet. A variety of substances are similar to the normal table sugar (sucrose) confusingly similar. These sugar substitutes can come from different sources. A big category are the sugar alcohols of a slight variation of the classic sugars. However, they have their advantages over the budget sugar. Blood sugar levels are less affected by sugar alcohols, which also reduces insulin level fluctuations. A clear advantage is the calorie savings, because the sugar substitutes provide our body with less calories. In addition, unlike table sugar, sugar substitutes do not promote caries development. They are water-soluble and can be partially used for cooking and baking, but can not be caramelized. A disadvantage of sugar substitutes is that they can be laxative when consumed excessively and can cause abdominal pain and flatulence.
Not to be confused are the sugar substitutes with the sweeteners, such as aspartame. The sweeteners have no calories and have a much higher sweetness than table sugar. The sweetness of sugar substitutes, however, is usually lower than that of sugar and not all sugar substitutes are calorie-free.
Currently, eight sugar substitutes are authorized in the European Union: sorbitol (E 420), mannitol (E 421), isomalt (E 953), polyglycitol syrup (E 964), maltitol (E 965), lactitol (E 966), xylitol (E 967 ) and erythritol (E 968). You will learn more about the last in our article today.
The cold sugar
Erythritol is a sugar substitute that provides only a few calories (20 kcal / 100 g). In the case of table sugar, you have to expect a 20-fold calorie amount (400 kcal / 100 g). In contrast, the sweetening power of erythritol is 70% of the sweetening power of household sugar. That means you need 130 grams of erythritol to replace 100 grams of table sugar. For your first cooking and baking with erythritol, we recommend a more frequent tasting. Purely externally and tastily, erythritol hardly differs from conventional table sugar. When trying but you notice a slight feeling of cold. However, this is pleasantly refreshing, which is why erythritol is often used to make calorie-reduced ice cream.
The production of the Erythritol
In nature, erythritol is found in many foods such as melons, pears or grapes. Thus one could isolate erythritol from fruits. However, it is much easier to obtain the erythritol from an alternative and much more familiar source. Industrially, erythritol is made from glucose derived from wheat or corn starch. The glucose is metabolized to erythritol by a yeast culture and can then be isolated.
Why does Erythritol have no calories ?
Unlike classical sugars, the body lacks the appropriate enzymes to metabolise erythritol. Thus, the energy contained in erythritol can not be made available to the human body. Even though 90% of erythritol is taken up by the small intestine, it is not processed further but excreted via the kidney.
Compatibility and seriousness
Compared to other sugar alcohols, erythritol has high digestive tolerance (about 1 g per kg of body weight) since most of the molecules are already taken up in the small intestine and only 10% could get into the colon and cause problems. This reduces the likelihood of digestive problems. The European Food Safety Authority has declared erythritol safe and approved it as a sweetener.