Erythritol (E 968): Calories, Benefits, Uses


Erythritol (E 968) is a sugar substitute that is very popular as part of a low-sugar diet. FITBOOK explains what the chemical-like sugar alcohol consists of and how it can replace household sugar in the kitchen.

What is erythritol?

Erythrit, also called erythritol, belongs to the category of sugar substitutes called sugar alcohols because of their chemical structure. This group also includes xylitol, isomalt, sorbitol and maltitol. Although the substance was discovered in 1848, it took more than 150 years for it to establish itself as an integral part of a low-sugar diet. Erythritol was only approved as a food additive E 968 in 2006. Today it is impossible to imagine the paleo and keto scene without it.

What is erythritol made of?

Erythritol occurs naturally in fruit (e.g. pears), pistachios and mushrooms. The sugar substitute is usually produced enzymatically from corn with subsequent fermentation using yeast or fungi.

How many calories does erythritol provide?

Among the sugar alcohols, erythritol has the lowest calorie content with just 20 kilocalories per 100 grams. For comparison: 100 grams of granulated sugar contain a whopping 400 kilocalories.

What are the benefits of erythritol?

One of the most important advantages of the sugar substitute, in addition to the low calorie content, is the sugar-like aroma. Especially in comparison with chemical or metallic tasting sweeteners such as Aspartame the taste is much more full-bodied. Erythritol also has bulking properties – an important aspect when baking low-calorie cake batters. Last but not least, the crystalline structure is reminiscent of classic household sugar.

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Is erythritol healthy?

Compared to other sugar substitutes, erythritol is particularly well tolerated. Since erythritol, unlike sugar, does not increase the risk of caries, the sugar alcohol can definitely be classified as beneficial to health in terms of caries prevention. However, because it does not contain any micronutrients such as secondary plant substances, it would be wrong to describe erythritol as healthy per se.

In a direct comparison with sugar, the sugar substitute cuts above all due to the low-calorie, insulin-independent metabolism with regard to overweight and Diabetes significantly better off. Since erythritol is obtained from natural sources, the sugar alcohol poses no health risk as long as genetic engineering is avoided.

What should be considered when using it?

Erythritol is increasingly replacing granulated sugar in the refinement of drinks, desserts and pastries. For a good result, health-conscious consumers should consider a few factors.

Since erythritol has a laxative effect in large quantities (approx. 70 g per day), the sugar substitute should be used sparingly.

Tips for cooking and baking with erythritol

  • Due to the lower sweetening power compared to sugar (approx. 50 to 60 percent), more erythritol is required for the same taste experience.
  • who at Bake If you can save a few calories, simply replace part of the table sugar with erythritol – with honey if desired for a natural aroma. A mix of erythritol and xylitol has proven itself for particularly low-calorie baked goods.
  • Since erythritol develops a slightly cooling effect in the mouth, the sugar substitute is particularly suitable for low-calorie sweetening of ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt.
  • Beverages can also be refined with erythritol in a calorie-conscious manner.
  • Because erythritol crystallizes, it should not be used as a sweetener for jam – but erythritol is ideal for a quick jam made from fresh, pureed fruit.
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When buying, preference should be given to organic quality, since conventionally produced erythritol is partly made from genetically modified corn.

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