What is Erythritol E968? Uses, Safe, Benefits, Side Effects

What is Erythritol E968? Uses, Safe, Benefits, Side Effects

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Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is found in different types foods. It is classified as a polyol or sugar alcohol (the name is based on the fact that it contains more than one hydroxyl group). This ingredient is also known by its E number E968, which was assigned when it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food products.

In this article, we’ll be talking about some of the uses, safety, and side effects of erythritol. This simple sugar alcohol is used as a sweetener in your food to get sweetness without adding calories and without raising blood glucose levels.

What is erythritol?


Erythritol is a natural sweetener with zero calories. It’s about 70% as sweet as sugar and has been used for centuries to sweeten foods in Japan and China. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, which means it occurs naturally in some fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, and beverages such as wine, beer, and sake. It’s also produced commercially through the fermentation of glucose by yeast.

Erythritol is a very popular low-carb alternative to sugar and other sweeteners because it’s virtually non-caloric, it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels and it’s much more stable than other sugar alcohols on the market (such as sorbitol). It’s often used in place of sucrose or glucose syrups in commercial food production because of its unique properties.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol (polyol) that has been approved for use in food products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as by the European Commission, Australia, and New Zealand.

Two types in the market


A powdered and granulated version of the pure product is available.

Natural sources


Natural sources of erythritol include:
  • Mushrooms, seaweed, fungi
  • Vegetables and fruits: cucumbers, pears, grapes
  • Soy sauce, beer, and other fermented foods
  • Fluids and tissues found in the human and animal bodies: urine, blood

What is erythritol made of?


Erythritol is made from glucose, which is a sugar alcohol. It looks like sugar, but it has almost no calories.

It is also known as glucitol and erythritol is a natural sugar substitute that has been approved by the FDA as a sweetener that can be used in foods in the US. Erythritol has many of the same properties as sugar, including texture and volume, but with fewer calories and carbohydrates.

Erythritol is made by fermenting glucose (from corn or wheat) with yeast and bacteria in a food-grade process similar to beer brewing. This fermentation process converts most of the glucose into erythritol using an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. The result is an almost calorie-free sweetener that tastes like sugar but has less than 1% of its calories from carbohydrates.

What is erythritol made from?


Erythritol is made from glucose, which is a carbohydrate. Glucose comes from the breakdown of starchy foods like grains and potatoes. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, so it also has some similarities to other sugars.

You may have heard that erythritol is a natural sweetener. But what does that really mean? It simply means that it’s found in nature — in plants like mushrooms and algae — and it’s also produced by some bacteria. It’s been used as an artificial sweetener for decades, but it’s only recently become popular among people who are looking to eat healthier or lose weight.

How is erythritol made?


It is currently produced commercially by fermentation rather than chemical synthesis, using Moniliella (pollinis and megachilensis), Candida, Pichia, Trigonopsis, Torulopsis, Trichospornides, Hansenula, and Yarrowia.

1. Fermentation


A food-grade osmophilic yeast such as Moniliella pollinis is fed carbohydrate sources, such as glucose, to ferment erythritol, followed by crystallization, drying, and purification.

2. Chemical synthesis


A chemical synthesis manufacturing process is also available, but it is not used in commercial production because of its disadvantages, such as high production requirements, pollution, and safety concerns. A brief manufacturing flow involves converting starch into dialdehyde starch, then hydrogenating it to produce erythritol.

What are the good benefits of erythritol?


In general, erythritol has the following six health benefits that will benefit our bodies when compared to table sugar.

Zero glycemic index


The glycemic index is 0. This means it doesn’t change blood sugar levels and is safe for diabetics.

Insulin and glucose levels are not spiked


The small intestine is capable of absorbing erythritol via passive diffusion thanks to its small size. Due to the lack of enzymes in our bodies, they cannot be digested or broken down by us.

Moreover, erythritol is mostly excreted from the body through the kidney, so it does not affect blood glucose and insulin levels after entering the body.

Thus, erythritol can be used in obese and diabetic foods.

Antioxidant


The antioxidant activity of erythritol allows it to eliminate free radicals from the body and also inhibits the generation of free radicals, preventing vascular damage caused by hyperglycemia.

Oral health


The carbohydrate sweetener erythritol is noncariogenic, so it won’t cause dental caries like other sugar alcohols.

Furthermore, it has anti-caries properties, so pathogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus mutants cannot utilize it.

This makes it safer and more suitable to replace sugar in children’s food in order to prevent or reduce dental caries. There are several applications of this type, such as candy, chewing gum, and beverages.

Zero calorie


Among all sugar alcohols, it has the lowest energy value and a caloric value of 0. As a result, it can be used alone or in combination with other sweeteners to make low-calorie foods by replacing sucrose (4 kcal/g calories).

The following sugar alcohols have a calorie value of kcal/g:

  • Isomalt: 2.0
  • Lactitol: 2.0
  • Xylitol: 2.4
  • Maltitol: 2.1
  • Sorbitol: 2.6
  • Mannitol: 1.6

High tolerance


Generally, eating foods containing erythritol will not cause side effects such as flatulence or mild diarrhea, since the human body is highly resistant to erythritol.

Erythritol Specification


Other names
  • Meso-erythritol
  • Tetrahydroxybutane
  • Erythrite
Appearance White, non-hygroscopic crystalline powder or granular.
CAS number 149-32-6
Chemical formula C4H10O4
Molecular weight 122.12
Melting point 119-123 °C

Properties


High stability to acid and heat, crystallizes easily and dissolves easily in water. The molecular weight and hygroscopicity of erythritol are lower than those of other sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol.

Solubility


After dissolving in water (37%, 25oC), it forms a colorless and low viscosity solution. It is slightly soluble in ethanol but insoluble in diethyl ether.

Structure


erythritol-chemical-structure-300x160-6285023-2977807

Sweetness


The sweetness of sucrose is approximately 60%-80%, with a cooling taste.

What is the application of erythritol?


The multi-functional ingredient erythritol is commonly used in low-sugar or sugar-free foods. This sweetener tastes like sucrose but without the calories. Additionally, it has good functional characteristics as well as excellent processing characteristics.

In addition to food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, it has been applied to many other industries as well.

It is commonly found in the following foods:

  • Pastries, cakes, and fillings for bakeries
  • Soft and hard candies, gum, and chewing gum
  • Dairy desserts, ice cream, puddings, yogurt
  • Low-calorie and reduced-calorie beverages, dairy drinks
  • Fat-based cream
  • Chocolate
  • Desserts
  • Fruit canning

Baked goods


Many bakery products, including cakes, cookies, and biscuits, contain it. Besides replacing part of sucrose, erythritol also prevents moisture and prolongs shelf life.

Beverage


In fruit juices and fruit drinks, erythritol reduces the amount of sucrose as it reduces the amount of sucrose. It also protects vitamin C.

Moreover, it can mask offensive odors and enhance the flavor of soda while being stable in acidic solutions, providing a clean, sugary taste. Moreover, it works well with sweeteners that have a strong flavor.

Other drinks include:

  • When dissolved in water, erythritol produces a large endothermic, which is ideal for making cool drinks.
  • Heat-stable properties make it suitable for pasteurizing and sterilizing dairy products.

Candy


There are a number of advantages to using erythritol in confectionery: It tastes like sugar, is sugar-free, natural, contains no calories, is anti-caries, has a cooling taste, is non-hygroscopic, and won’t brown or caramelize (Maillard reactions).

Chocolate


In the production of chocolate, erythritol has a very low level of hygroscopicity or even no hygroscopicity at all, so frost won’t form from moisture absorption. As well, erythritol can be easily pulverized into a very fine powder that chocolate requires.

Ice cream


When added to ice cream, erythritol can reduce the amount of sugar and calories in the product, thereby preventing potential health risks. In order to meet the market consumers’ demand for healthy and tasty ice cream, especially for diabetic consumers and children, erythritol has been added to ice cream.

Table-top sweeteners

Because of its non-hydrophilicity, erythritol can improve the free-flowing of table-top sweeteners. High-intensity sweeteners (such as sucralose, sodium saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame K, and stevia) are most commonly combined with it to produce a synergistic effect and mask the unpleasant metal aftertaste.

Toothpaste


Since erythritol protects against cavities, breaks down plaque, and promotes oral health, it has been included in toothpaste and mouthwashes.

KAO toothpaste developed a high-concentration erythritol toothpaste after discovering that Bacterial biofilms can be easily broken up by erythritol.

Pharmaceutical


The flavoring agent erythritol is used in pharmaceuticals and healthcare products as an excipient and flavoring agent. It can be made into tablets, powder, granular, capsules, and other dosage forms, as it has no hygroscopicity, good flowability, and dispersibility.

Is erythritol safe to eat for the body?


Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that has been approved by the FDA for use as a tabletop sweetener. It is found naturally in small amounts in fruits. Erythritol is about 70 percent as sweet as table sugar and has virtually no calories. It does not affect blood glucose or insulin levels, does not cause tooth decay, does not promote bacteria growth, and does not cause gastric upset.

FDA


It has not yet been published that all erythritol on the market is GRAS (generally recognized as safe), but FDA claimed “no doubt” that Cargill’s erythritol is GRAS when it replied to Cargill’s GRAS claim in 2019. The main conditions are as follows:

  1. Among its uses are flavor enhancers, humectants, sweeteners, sequestrants, thickeners and stabilizers, texturizers, and formulation aids in certain foods.
  2. Moniliella pollinis produces it through fermentation

EFSA


According to Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012, erythritol (E968) is an authorized food additive.

Authorized uses and levels


Quantum satis is most commonly used for purposes other than sweetening in Group I. As a carrier for food additives, flavorings, and nutrients, it can also be used as a dietary supplement.

UK Food Standards Agency


In the category of “Sweeteners”

Food Standards Australia New Zealand


Code number 968 is used in Australia and New Zealand.

JECFA


Classification: additive, flavor enhancer, humectant, sweetener.

Since 1999, the ADI has been set at “not specific”.

What are the side effects of erythritol?


Some consumers are concerned about whether Erythritol is harmful to their health and what its possible side effects are. In general, it is considered safe, but some people may be allergic to it, and it may cause weight gain and some complications in large amounts.

Allergy


There may be some sensitive symptoms associated with it, such as headaches and stomach upset. In 2000, canned milk tea was linked to allergic urticaria caused by erythritol.

Weight gain


In a recent study, erythritol was associated with obesity in 264 freshmen at a university.

Large amount


In some people, excessive consumption of sugar alcohols can cause gastrointestinal intolerance, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Erythritol, however, is more readily accepted by our bodies than other sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol.

Is erythritol safe for pets?


Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that has similar properties to xylitol. It is safe to give your dog, but keep in mind that it can cause digestive upset if he eats too much at once. It is not toxic though and will not cause long-term harm.

Cats are not able to digest sugar alcohols very well at all, so they should never be given any type of sugar alcohols like erythritol or xylitol. If you suspect your cat has eaten some, take them to the vet immediately because it could cause serious problems with their digestive system if enough was consumed!

Is erythritol safe for pregnant?


It’s safe for pregnant women to consume erythritol, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

In fact, the AND recommends that pregnant women consume between 20 and 35 grams of carbohydrates per day from whole grains, fruits (if tolerated), and vegetables. This can be difficult for some women because the recommended amount of daily calories for pregnancy ranges from 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day for most women who don’t gain too much weight during pregnancy.

Where to buy erythritol?


Here are some of my favorite places to buy erythritol:

Amazon has several brands of erythritol, including NOW Foods and Swerve, as well as bulk erythritol. This is a great place to buy if you’re looking for bulk quantities or if you want to save money on shipping by purchasing multiple items at once.

You can buy erythritol in many stores and online retailers. You’ll find it in the baking aisle at grocery stores or in the bulk section at health food stores or specialty shops like Whole Foods Market® or Trader Joe’s®. Erythritol is also available on Amazon® as well as through other online retailers such as Netrition®, Vitacost®, iHerb®, Swanson Health Products®, Vitamin Shoppe® and LuckyVitamin®.

if you want to purchase in bulk, you can consider a direct purchase from Grade Chemical, which is one reliable erythritol manufacturer in China. their price is much more competitive than your local market.

Frequently asked questions


Is erythritol natural?


Yes, erythritol is natural. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits and mushrooms. It has a low glycemic index compared to other sugars, so it’s safe for people with diabetes or those who are trying to lose weight. It’s also non-caloric, which means that it doesn’t contain any calories.

Is erythritol an artificial sweetener?


Yes, erythritol is an artificial sweetener. Erythritol is derived from a variety of sources, including corn and yeast, and has been used as a sugar substitute for many years. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe for consumption.

Is erythritol Halal?


Yes, erythritol is halal. It is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol and it is found in many fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods. It can also be created in a lab.

Erythritol can be used as a sweetener for a variety of products including baked goods, beverages, frozen desserts, and confectionaries.

Is erythritol Kosher?


Yes, erythritol is kosher. Erythritol is a natural sweetener that is made from glucose and comes from plants. It can be found in fruits like melons and pears, but it is also added to many foods such as chewing gum and candy. Erythritol has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe ingredient.

Is erythritol Vegan?


yes. Erythritol is a zero-calorie sweetener found in fruits and vegetables, including mushrooms and grapes. It has been known to have some health benefits, including being non-digestible in the small intestine and helping with weight loss.

Erythritol is made from glucose that has been fermented with a yeast called Moniliella pollinis, which is then purified and crystallized. This process does not involve any animal products, so it’s safe for vegans.

Is erythritol Gluten Free?


Yes, erythritol is gluten-free. It is a sugar alcohol, meaning it has the same chemical structure as other carbohydrates but does not cause you to digest as many calories because it does not have any nutritive value.

Is erythritol non-GMO?


Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that contains no carbohydrates, so it’s naturally non-GMO. In fact, erythritol is one of the only sugar alcohols that has been shown to have no effect on blood sugar levels—which means it’s safe for people with diabetes!

Conclusion


So, Erythritol is a safe and nutritious choice as a sweetener. It has no known side effects and is being tested by the FDA to confirm its safety as well. You can avoid it if you don’t want to use it as a sweetener, but as far as food ingredients go, this one is definitely a better choice than many others on the market.

While the concerns about erythritol may have been exaggerated, it’s still important to consider your sugar substitute choices. They can be helpful when you’re trying to watch your sugar levels, but not all are created equal. With that in mind, read ingredient labels carefully and remember that foods without any added sweeteners are always the healthiest choice.

If you have any comments on the erythritol? Let us know in the below comments.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophia Feng, Marketing Manager of Grade Chemical, specializes in writing food chemical article, custom chemical article, industry chemical blog.

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