What are Erythritol-Associated Side Effects? Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes that allow consumers to fully enjoy eating a wide range of food items and a variety of beverages. Artificial sweeteners come up with safety regulations approved by the  Food drug administration FDA.

Erythritol is used as a food additive worldwide for processing baked items, soft drinks, candy items, and much more.

But do you know that recent research on these sweeteners’ side effects shows associations of these with serious health diseases such as cardio and metabolic dysregulation, gastrointestinal problems, bloating, and others?

Today we will be discussing one such synthetic sweetener, erythritol, and its potential side effects on human health. To know more about erythritol, enjoy your reading to the end!  [1][2]

See, Potential Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar and The Effects Of Sugar On The Brain

Erythritol sweeteners on white background

What Is Erythritol?

Belong to a class of compounds called alcohol or polyols but neither alcohol nor polyols. Erythritol is a synthetic sweetener used by food producers like many other sugar substitutes, e.g., xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol.

The purpose behind using erythritol is that it is a low-calorie sweetener used in sweet products as a substitute because it gives the same taste as natural sugar. [3]

Erythritol is produced using enzymes and fermentation from corn or wheat starch. Its calorie count rate is significantly less per gram (0.24/g) than table sugar (4calories/g) and xylitol (2.4/g). So, with a very minimum amount of sugar calories, it gives natural sweetness.[4] [5]

Taste And Appearance

Erythritol comes up with a naturally sweet taste similar to table sugar. But one with a solid ability to differentiate between different tastes can feel a bit of acidity or bitterness. [5]

The similarity of erythritol to table sugar concerning sweetness ranges from 70% to 80%. [6] However, the taste may vary due to conditions such as pH level, temperature, and the ingredients with which it is mixed.

In appearance, it is crystal white anhydrous granules similar to table sugar. Due to its tiny crystals, it is easy to dissolve erythritol.

Sources Of Erythritol

Natural sweeteners are synthetic copies of natural compounds, and consumers, while buying, think these are naturally obtained alternatives with fewer calories.

Though erythritol is present in fruits like apples, grapes, watermelon, peaches, and many other sweet fruits the amount is very minute, and extracting it from nature would not be economically beneficial. So, it is produced through the fermentation of corn.

Is Erythritol Safe?

According to the health guidelines provided by the WHO (World Health Organization) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration), erythritol is safe for use.

Japan was the pioneer in approving erythritol safe for food in 1990. The safety status is well documented, but new research shows that excessive exposure to certain sweeteners can cause many digestive as well as other ailments.[8]

 Side Effects

Erythritol is linked with many disease conditions with which consumers may not be familiar. In this article, I have listed every possible side effect that can be triggered by the use of erythritol.

i. May contribute to obesity

Consumption of a high amount of erythritol is linked to weight gain in a study of 264 university freshmen. Participants who showed weight gain around the waist in a time span of 9 months were found with high concentrations of erythritol in their blood levels. This was the first study to show an association between weight gain and erythritol. [9] [10]

ii. Diarrhea

High exposure to a large amount of erythritol seems to be linked with an upset stomach most prevalent condition of which is diarrhea.

This starts with vomiting and nausea and results in a dehydrated body. Dehydration of the body is not a time taking process and a significant reason why people with food poisoning end up in hospital.

iii. Can cause gastrointestinal problems and stress

A disturbed digestive system is the most common condition resulting from erythritol consumption of erythritol, and it also induces other conditions like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and indigestion.

This uncomfortable and painful condition is not just limited to the stomach it also results in stress. Much research shows a solid linkage between stress and digestive problems.

You may know that if a person has chronic anxiety, the stomach also gets disturbed. So, it’s like exacerbating the problem if you are consuming sweeteners. [11]

iv. Bloating

Bloating is a condition in which one feels stomach tight and full, mainly due to gas trouble. This is what consumes a lot of erythritols do with you.

Erythritol and other sweeteners can give you the gas problem and cramping or work like a laxative when they reach your colon. But the main problem with this is that artificial sweeteners do not come with any label or warning. [12]

v. Overeating

Most consumers of artificial sweeteners use them as substitute sugar because they come with fewer calories and it can help them lose weight. But, ironically, doing so could cause the opposite effect and lead you towards overeating.

The reason behind this is that the body does not metabolize erythritol and as a result, can give craving of food again. So, if you are consuming a product with erythritol, you will not be able to get the energy you require and will, again and again, jump on food items, not exactly knowing what is just happening.

vi. May trigger allergic reactions

This is an infrequent risk associated with erythritol consumption. It is noticed that erythritol can cause allergic skin reactions in its users.

When the research was published in the Journal of Dermatology in 2000. It was demonstrated that a 24-year young lady developed skin reaction all over her body by consuming a beverage in which the sweetener source was erythritol.

Many other pieces of evidence from then kept on coming, however, this is only limited to a few people. [13]

What Are The Precautionary Measures To Be Safe?

If you are a regular consumer of erythritol and, after reading this article, you are wondering what to do to remain safe from gastrointestinal or other problems, I have a solution.

Change your diet plan and try adding detox items to your food. Try to add more fruit, vegetables, and all-natural as much as possible. Develop the habit of reading labels attached to the items at the grocery store.

Conclusion

Erythritol has no health benefit other than weight loss, but this is also a debatable point from many directions. Moreover, there is a misconception that erythritol comes from natural sources.

It is not as if extracting a large amount of erythritol is impossible to meet the needs and what we get from the market is synthetically processed sweetener.

Erythritol is not dangerous, but if consumed in large amounts for a long time it can cause gastrointestinal and digestive problems. Developing a habit of reading labels and changing food or eating pattern can save you from the adverse effects of erythritol.

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References

 

Artificial Sweeteners and Overview |sciencedirect.com (n.d.-d). Retrieved November 3, 2022, fromhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/artificial-sweeteners

“The Impact of Artificial Sweeteners on Body Weight Control and Glucose Homeostasis” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7817779/

Gunnars, K. B. (2021, November 18). Erythritol — Like Sugar without the Calories? Healthline. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/erythritol

Wikipedia contributors. (2022, July 20). Erythritol. Wikipedia. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythritol

Sweetener Review: Erythritol | Is it Really “Natural” and The Perfect Sweetener? (2022, October 12). WhatSugar Blog. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.whatsugar.com/post/is-erythritol-natural-or-artificial

Taste of erythritol | Erythritol | Mitsubishi-Chemical. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.mfc.co.jp/en/erythritol/palate.html

Solid, R. K. D. (2019, February 20). What is Erythritol? Food Insight. https://foodinsight.org/what-is-erythritol/

Solid, R. K. D. (2019b, February 20). What is Erythritol? Food Insight. https://foodinsight.org/what-is-erythritol/

 

(n.d.-d). Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28484010/

Ristic, A. (2021, September 9). Erythritol Sweetener Benefits + Dangers, Dosage & Reviews. SelfDecode Supplements. https://supplements.selfdecode.com/blog/erythritol/

Seskind, A. (2018, May 14). What Is Erythritol? Erythritol Side Effects And Dangers. Meritage Medical Network. https://meritagemed.com/erythritol/

Axe, D. J. C. (2021, March 30). Erythritol: Is This ‘Healthy’ Sweetener the Real Deal? Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/nutrition/erythritol/