As if we don’t have enough of a hard time looking at the ingredients in our sports drinks or supposedly no-sugar, yet sickly sweet tasting drinks to determine where the calories or sugar is coming from. Here is another one to keep an eye out for: Erythritol. In the past, you may have looked for high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, aspartame, sucrose, sucralose, or even Stevia which is extracted from the leaves of a plant, now add erythritol.
Although Erythritol has been used in “sugar free” drinks for quite a few years, I just noticed it recently.
What is it?
Erythritol is a chemical compound belonging to the family of sugar alcohols with “alcohol” referring to the chemical structure. Sugar alcohols are modified forms of sugar, but not technically sugar so can be added to drink as “sugar free”.
Erythritol is a naturally-occurring molecule, than can be found in fruit such as pears, watermelons and grapes.
“However, Erythritol is much less calorific; according to the Harvard School of Public Health, a teaspoon of Erythritol contains only 0.2 calories, instead of about 4 calories for sucrose. With only 6% of the calories of sugar, it still has 70% of the sweetness. The main reason why Erythritol has less calories is due to its different chemical structure, erythritol is absorbed much less by our body and, therefore, it gives it almost no energy.”
The reason why it doesn’t provide calories to its’ consumer is because the body actually can’t break it down! That’s right — even though Erythritol travels through your body, it doesn’t get metabolized.
LET’S STOP RIGHT THERE!
What does it mean to “metabolize” food? The definition is: biology : to change (food) into a form that can be used by your body : to process and use (substances brought into your body) by metabolism (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
“Metabolism is a collection of chemical reactions that takes place in the body’s cells converting the fuel in the food we eat into the energy needed to power everything we do, from moving to thinking to growing. In fact, thousands of metabolic reactions happen at the same time – all regulated by the body – to keep our cells healthy and working.” -E. Voropay
So why are we putting something in our body, that it CANNOT EVEN PROCESS!!!
Erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine, but it’s poorly metabolized, has absolutely no known functions in the human body and is excreted through the urine unchanged. Even when used in low amounts some common side effects are diarrhea, stomachache and headache.
I tasted a drink which boasted no calories and no sugar, non-GMO, and all natural but sweetened with Erythritol. For me, it was sickly sweet and that was enough to stop me and say, wait a minute, what is in this?
If you can, try to be as “natural” as possible by drinking soda water with a slice of orange to sweeten it or even add sliced pears or berries, but don’t be fooled by advertisements that say “zero sugar” especially if they taste sweet.
More to the point: Why would you want to put something in your body that has been processed to a point that your body – your machine, the thing you cherish and treat with care as we only get one – doesn’t know what to do with.
The food and beverage industry will continue to find different sweeteners and hide them in the ingredients. Remember the ingredients are listed by the largest amount first and then taper down to the smallest. Try to drink beverages that have as few ingredients as possible. If you cannot even pronounce the ingredient, well, perhaps stay away.
A lot of people use this sweetener, and feel it is fine. This is just my opinion.