ERYTHRITOL IS A BULK SWEETENER
Erythritol-based sweeteners offer bulk (weight and volume) to your recipes, and you can buy them in two forms:
Pure erythritol – It means it contains only one ingredient. It's about 30 percent less sweet than table sugar, so you need to use more. Substitute 1 1/3 teaspoon of erythritol for 1 teaspoon of sugar. You'll find pure erythritol in granulated and powdered (finer crystals) form, as I showcase below.
Erythritol blends – You can choose blends based on what erythritol is mixed with, such as (1) with high-intensity sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose; or (2) with bulk sweeteners that are mildly sweet, such as allulose or sweet fibers. You can also choose (3) brown sugar alternatives and (4) powdered sugar replacements.
Want to know the best ones right now? My recommendation is always to opt for blends, as opposed to pure erythritol, because most of them are as sweet as sugar, so you can swap cup for cup. Plus, blends have a better taste than pure erythritol. To help you choose and use blends, I created a resource called Sugar Swap Starter Kit. You'll learn everything you need to know about erythritol. Our kit is specifically designed for home cooks who want to understand how different sugar alternatives stack up, find the best ones, and get tips to use them. You don't need to go through the trial and error of substituting sugar & sweeteners in recipes. This kit offers a quick way to get all your questions answered in one place.
ERYTHRITOL BRANDS & PRODUCTS
There is A LOT to see here. Scroll down to explore it all or, if you are short on time, make your choice below:
Erythritol is a polyol or sugar alcohol - a type of carbohydrate that, unlike sugar, is digested slowly. It is less sweet than sugar (~70% the sweetness of regular sugar), and require a 'laxation claim' in food labels. Is offered as a natural sweetener as is produced by natural fermenation process. It is considered a low-calorie sweetener as it provides 0.2 kcal/g.
In my quest to discover all the tabletop sweeteners containing stevia blended with erythritol, I found 40 different products. Almost thirty are sweeter than table sugar and 11 are conveniently measured like sugar on a one to one ratio. Stevia and erythritol complement each other very well. Check them out!
In my quest to discover all the tabletop sweeteners containing monk fruit blended with erythritol, I found almost 20 products. Some are sweeter than table sugar, others are conveniently measured like sugar on a one to one ratio. Monk fruit and erythritol complement each other very well. Check them out!
In my quest to discover all the tabletop sweeteners containing erythritol, check out what I have found!
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Quick Facts about Erythritol
Erythritol is a synthetic sweetener – Erythritol is found naturally in some foods (fruits, mushrooms, fermented foods). However, due to being available in minuscule amounts, store-bought erythritol doesn't come from any of the natural sources. Instead, it's synthetically produced from corn via fermentation or an electrochemical process. When made from non-GMO corn, it's imported from China.
Erythritol is less sweet than sugar, so use more – Erythritol is 60 to 70 percent as sweet as table sugar. Expect to add 1/3 more and pay a higher price than table sugar to get the same sweetness. To compensate for the reduced sweetness, you'll often find erythritol combined with high-intensity sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, and sucralose. Erythritol and its blends produce crispy and soft baked goods but don't dissolve as readily as table sugar.
Erythritol creates a cooling effect on the tongue – When you have it in powder form, erythritol creates a cold sensation as it dissolves in the mouth, referred to as a cooling effect. It feels like sucking a mint but without the mint flavor. To minimize it, sweetener manufacturers often sell erythritol blended with other low-digestible sweeteners (polyols and soluble fibers).
Technically, erythritol is a carbohydrate and counts towards the "total carbohydrate" on the nutrition facts label, but it offers zero net carbs – Most of the erythritol we consume is absorbed and excreted unchanged, without any decomposition, through urine. Here's what you need to know if you're tracking your carbs intake. Erythritol is counted towards the total carbohydrates on the nutrition facts label, but it's not available for digestion, so it has zero net carbs. Net carbs are digestible carbs that break down into glucose and raise blood sugar levels.
The caloric value of erythritol per gram is close to zero (0.4 cal), being promoted as a calorie-free sweetener – A small amount of erythritol [anywhere between10 to 40 percent of the amount ingested] reaches the large intestine, where it's fermented by the gut microbes. So, even though we cannot metabolize erythritol, bacteria in the large intestine can, and we obtain their energy indirectly. Powdered erythritol provides 1.2 calories per teaspoon (3 grams). Granulated erythritol has about 1.6 calories per teaspoon (4 grams). One cup of erythritol contributes approximately 70 calories.
Erythritol is not gut friendly to newbies and people with a sensitive digestive system. Excessive intake of erythritol on an empty stomach and without any other food may cause bloating, cramps, and laxative effects. Some people experience digestive discomfort even with intakes as small as ⅛ of a teaspoon. So, if you have a sensitive stomach, be aware that erythritol is a FODMAP—an acronym for carbohydrates associated with adverse gastrointestinal effects.
Erythritol advantages – It provides about 1.5 calories per teaspoon and 70 calories per cup, versus 16 and 770 for table sugar. It doesn't affect blood glucose levels. It counts towards the total carbohydrate on the nutrition facts label, but it offers zero net carbs. Erythritol tastes almost like regular sugar, with an aftertaste (cooling effect). It provides bulk (volume & mass) to recipes and is heat stable. It helps make baked goods crispy. It masks off-flavors of stevia & monk fruit extracts.
Erythritol disadvantages – Pure erythritol has nine main problems. (1) Compared to table sugar, it's 60 to 75 percent less sweet, so you can't swap it cup for cup. (2) It's 8 to 40 times more expensive, costing 4 to 20 dollars per pound. (3) It may cause adverse gastrointestinal effects. (4) It has a cooling effect when dissolved in the mouth, which is sometimes difficult to ignore. (5) It doesn't dissolve as well as regular sugar. (6) It tends to recrystallize in cold temperatures. (7) It doesn't brown or caramelize. (8) It doesn't attract and hold on to moisture like sugar. (9) It tends to harden and form lumps during storage. Learn more by reading my blog posts below:
Most blends contain 99% erythritol – Note that, in most blends, you are essentially consuming straight erythritol with just a hint of high-intensity sweeteners (HIS) such as stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose. The weight ratio between erythritol and HIS is in some cases 200 to 2000 (erythritol) to about 1. It means that although 99% of the weight comes from erythritol, 70 to 99% of the sweetness comes from the HIS. Learn why here.
Erythritol and high-intensity sweeteners work symbiotically — When it comes to off tastes, erythritol has a cooling effect, stevia extract has a slightly bitter licorice-like aftertaste, and monk fruit extract has a characteristic melon rind aftertaste. But when combined, they mask each other off-flavors. So, erythritol not only improves the taste of stevia and monk fruit but also makes it easier for you to measure sugar substitutes at home. Instead of having to measure or weigh minuscule amounts [because pure stevia & monk fruit are super sweet], you can use the measuring tools you have in your kitchen. When measuring erythritol blends consider the following:
Get all the details on how to choose & use erythritol-based sweeteners by checking out my Sugar Swap Starter Kit — Learn how erythritol compares with the top sweeteners in stores, such as allulose, stevia, and monk fruit. See the do's and don'ts of erythritol. Plus, discover when to use and to avoid it in cookies, ice cream, bars, cakes, and more. If you're confused or overwhelmed with all the options, you need this Kit. Also, note that I'm not a sweetener manufacturer or seller, so I tell it like it is.
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