Erythritol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) which is very popular for use in baking and as a general sweetener in low carb diets.
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Erythritol • Low Carbohydrate • Sugar Alcohol (Polyol) • Sweeteners
Erythritol, a polyol (sugar alcohol), is a good-tasting bulk sweetener which is suitable for a variety of reduced- calorie and sugar-free foods. It has been part of the human diet for thousands of years due to its presence in fruits and other foods such as pears, melons and grapes, as well as foods such as mushrooms and fermentation-derived foods such as wine, soy sauce and cheese. Erythritol has a high digestive tolerance (unlike Maltitol's laxative effects), is safe for people with diabetes, and does not promote tooth decay.
Erythritol, because it is such a small molecule behaves differently from all other polyols in the way it passes through the human digestive system, and therefore has a unique metabolic profile. The low molecular weight allows more than 90% of the ingested erythritol to be rapidly absorbed from the small intestine. It is not metabolized and is excreted unchanged in the urine.
Since 1990, erythritol has been commercially produced and added to foods and beverages to provide sweetness, as well as enhance their taste and texture.
Erythritol is a white crystalline powder that is odorless, with a clean sweet taste that is similar to sucrose. It is approximately 70% as sweet as sucrose and flows easily due to its non-hygroscopic character. Like other polyols, erythritol does not promote tooth decay and is safe for people with diabetes. However, erythritol’s caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram and high digestive tolerance distinguishes it from some other polyols. It has approximately 7 to 13% the calories of other polyols and 5% the calories of sucrose. Because erythritol is rapidly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly eliminated by the body within 24 hours, laxative side effects sometimes associated with excessive polyol consumption are unlikely when consuming erythritol containing foods.
Examples of energy values (calories) for
A GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) affirmation petition submitted by a consortium of erythritol manufacturers (Cerestar Holding B.V., Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and Nikken Chemicals Co.) was accepted for filing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on January 15, 1997. This allows manufacturers to produce and sell erythritol containing foods in the United States. Erythritol is regulated as a direct food ingredient in Japan and since 1990 it has been used in many Japanese food categories.
The safety of erythritol as a food ingredient under conditions of its intended use is substantiated by a number of human and animal safety studies, including short- and long- term feeding, multi-generation reproduction and teratology studies.
The U.S. GRAS affirmation petition states erythritol is intended for use as flavor enhancer, formulation aid, humectant, nutritive sweetener, stabilizer and thickener, suquestrant and texturizer. The petition lists maximum erythritol use levels of 100% in sugar substitutes, 50% in hard candies, 40% in soft candies, 1.5% in reduced and low calorie beverages, 60% in fat based creams for cookies, cakes and pastries, 7% in dietetic cookies and wafers, and 60% in chewing gum.
Erythritol has been used in Japan since 1990 in candies, chocolates, soft drinks, chewing gums, yogurts, fillings, cookie coatings, jellies, jams and sugar substitutes. Petitions have been submitted to additional governmental agencies throughout the world to expand the use of erythritol.
Multiple Ingredient Approach to Calorie Control - Erythritol blends well with other polyols and flavors and can mask off-flavors such as bitterness sometimes associated with other low-calorie sweeteners. Erythritol is synergistic with low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium, resulting in a sweetener combination which is sweeter than the sum of the individual components and with an improved taste profile with superior taste, economic and stability advantages.
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