New Alternative to Sugar & Sugar Substitutes Hits Market
Posted Oct 16 2008 7:58pm
The other day as I was looking for agave nectar at Whole Foods, I noticed a new sweetener sitting on the grocery shelf. It's called erythritol. Intrigued by the discovery, I decided to do some research.
I found that it just might be a good option for people avoiding sugar, but don't want to live without a little sweet stuff in their lives. More than a dozen animal studies have concluded that erythritol is harmless. While it is a sugar alcohol like maltitol and xylitol, it does not cause gastric side effects. It has virtually no calories. It also does not affect blood sugar levels or insulin release. And you don't have to worry about tooth decay from eating it.
The most undesirable quality that I found about using erythritol is that is produces a cooling effect in the mouth after it is consumed. Additionally, it is only between 60-80 percent as sweet as sugar.
If you decide to use it in baking, I recommend pairing it with lo han, an extract from a sweet fruit harvested in China, which also does not affect blood sugar levels and has no calories. However, it is 15 times sweeter than sugar so a little bit of it coupled mostly with erythritol may be a better option for baking. In fact, a Japanese company makes a product combining the two ingredients called Lakanto. Donna Gates, founder of Body Ecology, promotes Lakanto as a healthy alternative for people suffering from candida and other inner ecology imbalances.