Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that is commonly used as an alternative or substitute for sugar. Unlike generic table sugar, erythritol contains much less calories but still tastes as sweet as sugar. Along with other sugar alcohol like sorbitol and xylitol, erythritol may be sourced by extraction from plants or through starch-based products. Small amounts of this substance can be found in various fruits like grapes and melons. There are also trace amounts of this sweetener from products that are made through fermentation like wine and cheese. With these sources, erythritol is considered a natural and healthy sweetener.
Erythritol is typically produced in granules or powder form just like sugar. Depending on the plant source, erythritol powder can be 70% as sweet as generic table sugar. It can be used for various food preparations that need a sweetener. In Japan for example, candies and beverages were already sweetened with erythritol since the 1990s.
The great thing about erythritol is that it contains much less calories than normal sugar. As much as 95% of calories per gram is stripped off when using erythritol. This makes erythritol a popular sweetener for various healthy food items like beverages and yogurts. It is also considered a safe alternative for sugar as it does not affect blood glucose and/or insulin levels. This is especially good news for people who have diabetes and those who are overweight and obese. As a substance, erythritol has a stable chemical structure that is not expected to cause metabolic and digestive effects in the body as normal sugar would do. Erythritol is also not broken down in the body and not absorbed in the bloodstream and this simply means that this substance is simply excreted through urination. This sugar substitute is also considered best for the teeth especially when it comes to sweets as it does not feed on the bacteria present in the mouth unlike standard table sugar.