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Erythritol – A Healthy Alternative To Sugar?

Erythritol - Healthy Alternative To Sugar?

Erythritol – A Healthy Alternative To Sugar?

Can I just get a “yay” for understanding the dangers of sugar? I’m glad people are wanting to reduce sugar intake, but with a reduction of something, you’ll soon find other alternatives that may or may not be healthy. I wanted to talk specifically about erythritol because I find this paired with another sugar free alternative – monk fruit. While we aren’t talking about monk fruit in this blog, monk fruit does come from a whole food source {which I like!}.

So, what about erythritol?

This is a sugar alcohol. It’s sweet, but it won’t trigger an insulin response. You’ll find it in various packaged items that are wanting to be sugar free or low sugar. The biggest downfall that I talk about with clients is how erythritol is made. It’s sourced from either corn or wheat. A yeast will ferment it from one of these sources + it’s processed into a powder.

I’ve talked about the importance of being wheat free + even though you aren’t eating wheat directly, I avoid things that are sourced from it when I can. Corn is a crop that is commonly genetically modified + very processed that people react it often. I’m a big person on asking “where did this come from?”. So far, this is the only downfall I’ve found with erythritol!

Are there benefits to erythritol consumption?

I’m here to make sure that I’m giving my most unbiased opinion that I can + to be evidence based, so while the sound of a sugar alcohol sounds iffy and unhealthy, studies are showing some benefits of erythritol.

In the Critical Reviews of Food Science + Nutrition, they wrote about some benefits that are seen with erythritol….

  • In patients with type 2 diabetes, endothelial function was actually improved with the consumption of erythritol. In hyperglycemic conditions, it actually had some antioxidant protection on vascular walls.
  • Most of erythritol is actually absorbed via the bloodstream shortly after ingestion bypassing the normal sugar alcohol “digestive distress”.
  • There aren’t enough studies about how this sugar alcohol can affect the gut microbiome, so more studies are needed to conclude that, but so far there hasn’t been any red flags.
  • Satiety and hunger hormones worked normally, if not they technically increased with large amount of erythritol.
  • It stimulated cholecystokinin, which is a hormone that helps digest proteins and fats.
  • It does delay gastric emptying, which can help you feel full longer, but not ideal if you struggle with gastroparesis.

Conclusion

It’s actually not as bad as it sounds, while opinions might change as we do more research. So far, the research we have now doesn’t show any red flags for using erythritol, except for how it’s sourced.

Do you use erythritol? What are your favorite ways? We’d love to have you share this on your social media + tag us @thrivalnutrition to bring us into the conversation!

 

Lahana Vigliano
lahana@thrivalnutrition.com

Lahana Vigliano is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO of Thrival Nutrition. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Science and currently pursing her Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and Functional Medicine. Lahana and her team help support women who struggle with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and many other lingering issues that leaves women not feeling their best. She uses food as medicine, as well as herbs and supplements when needed, to support her clients. She looks at the whole body holistically making sure women are understanding how nutrition, sleep, stress, and their environment impact their health. Connect with her on Facebook + Instagram (@thrivalnutrition).