Erythritol: the trendy sweetener

Erythritol, the trendy sweetener

Index of contents

What is Erythritol?

Erythritol is a sweetener that is part of the group of polyols from natural sources and is found in fruits and vegetables, and in some fermented products (such as beer).

The main feature of this popular product is its low calorie content.

Other sweeteners included in this group are: sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, maltitol, lactitol and xylitol.

Most of the erythritol consumed is not metabolized by the human body and its caloric intake is less than 0.2 kcal per gram.

Erythritol is a good-tasting, zero-calorie filler sweetener that is suitable for a variety of reduced-calorie and sugar-free foods and beverages.

Erythritol as a sugar substitute

Currently, Erythritol has become a substitute for commercial sugar because its sweetness reaches 70%.

It has been part of the human diet for thousands of years due to its presence in fruits and other foods. Erythritol has a high tolerance to digestion, is non-glycemic (and therefore suitable for diabetics) and does not promote the development of caries.

Information about erythritol

Erythritol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) that occurs naturally in certain fruits, such as pears, melons and grapes, as well as in other foods such as mushrooms and foods derived from fermentation, such as wine, soy sauce and cheese.

Erythritol is a white crystalline powder with a sweet, clean taste similar to sucrose.

It has a sweetness level of approximately 70% of that of sucrose and flows easily due to its non-hygroscopic nature.

Erythritol’s caloric value of zero calories per gram and its high tolerance to digestion distinguish it from other polyols.
Since erythritol is rapidly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly eliminated by the body within 24 hours, the laxative side effects sometimes associated with excessive consumption of polyols are unlikely with erythritol-containing foods.

Since 1990, erythritol has been produced commercially and added to foods and beverages to sweeten them and improve their taste and texture.

Uses of Erythritol

Zero calorie sweetener.

A filler sweetener that can be mixed with low calorie sweeteners (e.g. acesulfame potassium and aspartame) or other polyols (e.g. sorbitol and xylitol).

Sweet and clean taste with no aftertaste.

Possible use in a variety of zero-calorie, low-calorie, low-fat and sugar-free foods and beverages, from candies to yogurts.

Beneficial for people suffering from diabetes because it does not increase insulin or blood glucose levels.

It does not contribute to the formation of cavities.

Benefits of erythritol

Zero calories:

Erythritol has zero calories per gram for food labeling purposes in the United States, Europe and Japan.

This zero calorie value is based on the unique absorption and elimination process of erythritol that does not involve its metabolization.

Therefore, erythritol has the unique ability as a zero-calorie filler sweetener to formulate “reduced calorie” and “light” products that require a calorie reduction of 25 percent or more from the standard formula.

High tolerance to digestion

Erythritol is rapidly absorbed in the small intestine, and several studies have shown that the human body does not ferment erythritol.

Therefore, foods containing significant amounts of erythritol are very unlikely to cause laxative or flatulence side effects.

A recent clinical study concluded that adults tolerate the daily consumption of 1 gram of erythritol per kilogram of body weight in various foods and beverages throughout the day better than sucrose-containing foods.

Erythritol, the trendy sweetener

Suitable for diabetics

Single-dose, 14-day clinical studies show that erythritol does not affect serum glucose or insulin levels.

Other clinical studies conducted among diabetic patients have concluded that erythritol can be safely used to replace sucrose in foods specifically formulated for diabetics.

Of course, people suffering from diabetes should be aware of the impact on their diet of the other ingredients used in foods sweetened with erythritol.

Does not cause cavities

Erythritol, like other polyols, is healthy for teethand is resistant to metabolism by bacteria in the mouth that break down sugars and starches to produce acids that can lead to loss of tooth enamel and the formation of cavities.

Therefore, they are non-cariogenic.

The usefulness of polyols, including erythritol, as alternatives to the use of sugars and as part of a comprehensive program that includes good dental hygiene, has been recognized by scientists and regulatory authorities.


The safety of erythritol as a food ingredient under the expected conditions of use is supported by several human and animal studies, including short- and long-term feeding studies, reproduction over several generations and teratology.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) evaluated the safety of erythritol in 1999 and determined an ADI “not specified”, the highest possible safety category.

Erythritol has been used in Japan since 1990 in candies, chocolates, soft drinks, chewing gums, yogurts, fillings, cookie toppings, jellies, candies and sugar substitutes.

Its use in foods has already been approved in more than 50 countries, including Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and the European Union.

Multi-ingredient approach to calorie control

Erythritol combines well with other polyols and flavors and can mask off-flavors such as bitterness that are sometimes associated with other low-calorie sweeteners.

Erythritol synergizes with certain low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium and stevia-based sweeteners, resulting in a combined sweetener that is sweeter than the sum of the individual components and has a better flavor profile, better taste and economic and stability advantages.

Do you need to add Erythritol to your recipes?