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Is erythritol safe? All about Truvia's secret ingredient

Like xylitol, erythritol is a sugar alcohol or "polyol". It can be found in small amounts in types of fruit such as grapes and melons, and in fermented foods such as wine and cheese.

 

An odorless white powder resembling regular sugar, it is less sweet than common sucrose (only about 70%), and can be manufactured through an industrial process in order to produce large amounts. This is done by fermenting glucose with a yeast, and there is some debate as to whether this process artificially alters the natural state of the sweetener.

In recent years, the Coca Cola Company has been producing Truvia, which they claim to be an all-natural sweetener. The main ingredients are (in this order): erythritol, rebiana (some sort of processed form of rebaudioside A) and 'natural flavors' - whatever that means. Same goes for Pepsi's SoBe Lifewater, which is based on their sweetener's proprietary name PureVia.

erythritolIn any case, there have been some reports online of people feeling discomfort from Truvia in many ways, ranging from headaches and mouth sores to belly aches and diarrhea. 

It's difficult to say what exactly causes these ailments, but many people claim not to have any issues with the stevia herb on its own. 

Because erythritol is a sugar alcohol, consuming it in relatively large amounts can lead to intestinal discomfort - even though this particular sweetener is apparently less agressive in that respect. 

Also, people who are allergic to certain types of yeast should also be very cautious, as consumption may promote itching and hives.

 

It also has a minty flavor, causing a cooling effect on the mouth. While this can be favorable for some food or drinks, it can also ruin the subtleties of certain recipes. Also, its solubility in water isn't great, and it crystallizes easily when baked. For these reasons, erythritol is sometimes mixed with other bulk agents to counter those effects.

 

It's not all bad news though: ever since the 1990's, Truvia's main sweetener has been used in Japan as an ingredient for several types of candy, chewing gum and soft drinks. A big part of its popularity surely lies in the fact that it has very little calories, and a glycemic index of zero, making it ideal for diabetics as it doesn't throw the blood sugar off balance. Whatever the case may be, Truvia is now on the market and if we sum everything up that we've learned here today, I guess we'll have to figure out for ourselves if, and to what extent we want this sweetener to be part of our daily intake. If you're the kind of person that prefers to judge for yourself, then you can always give it a shot by buying erythritol online.




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