Erythritol (Ah-REETH-ra-tall) is currently one of the most popular sugar alternatives. It's promoted as the perfect "natural" zero-calorie sweetener, being tooth-friendly, well-tolerated in the digestive system (unlike other polyols), and offering no effect on blood sugar levels. On the other hand, it is less sweet than table sugar and creates a cooling sensation when dissolved in the mouth—which feels like we are sucking a mint (without the mint flavor).
On my quest to discover all sweeteners containing erythritol across the country, I found over a hundred products. Most are blends with another sweetener.
Sweetener manufacturers combine ingredients to make their products look and taste like table sugar. Blends of erythritol with high–intensity sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose can fix the reduced sweetness of erythritol. Some products have a mix of erythritol with low-digestible sweeteners, such as xylitol and inulin, which minimizes the cooling effect caused by pure erythritol.
In this blog post, we explore forty pure erythritol products sold in two forms: granulated and powdered. Please refer to my previous blog post 60 Facts About Erythritol to learn its source, production methods, appearance, taste, degree of sweetness, digestion & metabolism, culinary roles, and safety.
All forty products listed in this post contain 99.5 percent pure erythritol. Their crystals might be coarse or fine.
Coarse crystal is labeled with terms such as granular, granulated, or crystalline erythritol. It looks like regular table sugar.
Fine crystal is labeled as powdered or confectioners erythritol. As the name implies, it looks a lot like powdered sugar. Because it has smaller crystals, it dissolves more easily than granulated erythritol. We can use it as a powdered sugar replacement in frosting and for a smoother consistency in soft, spoonable desserts such as mousse.
Since granulated erythritol tends to be less expensive and is widely available, you might want to make your own powdered erythritol by pulsing the granulated in a food processor or coffee grinder.
When replacing table sugar with pure erythritol, keep in mind that it is 30 to 40 percent less sweet than table sugar. Taste preference varies so start with less and add more until you reach your optimum sweetness level.
Measuring cups? Use 1 1/3 cups of erythritol to replace one cup of sugar. Since taste is subjective, you might have to add a little more, such as 1 1/2 cups instead.
Measuring teaspoons (tsp)? 1 1/3 tsp of erythritol = 1 tsp of table sugar. Start with that proportion, but if that's not enough to you, try 1 1/2 teaspoons instead.
Except for two brands, all erythritol products sold in stores are made in China from non-genetically modified (non-GMO) corn.
Made in China from non-GMO corn: The vast majority.
Made in the United States from corn: Hoosier Hill Farm Erythritol.
Made in France from apples and pears: Get Chia Erythritol.
Pros of Erythritol
√ A zero calorie sweetener because most of the amount we ingest is not metabolized.
√ A natural sweetener because it is "derived from a natural source" and "is found in nature".
√ Looks and tastes a lot like table sugar.
√ Non-hygroscopic (does not absorb moisture) so you can store on the table in a sugar bowl.
√ Stable at high temperatures and a wide pH range, so use anywhere table sugar is used.
√ Makes the taste of other sweeteners more "sugar-like," as it is a flavor enhancer.
√ Tooth-friendly as it does not cause tooth decay.
√ The polyol with the least negative digestive effects, such as laxation and bloating.
√ Zero glycemic index as it is not metabolized into glucose; no impact on blood sugar levels.
√ Zero "net carbs" as it offers 4 grams of non-digestible carbohydrates per serving (4 grams).
Cons of Erythritol
X Not a 1:1 sugar replacement: It is almost 30 percent less sweet than table sugar, so expect to add 1.3 times more than table sugar to get the same sweetness.
X Digestive issues: Be prepared for possible digestive discomfort if you over-consume, ingest quickly in concentrated form, or eat by itself in an empty stomach.
X Cooling sensation: The cooling effect erythritol causes when dissolved in the mouth is an undesirable distraction, but it may be a positive effect if we have it with mint flavor or beverages. This effect is an issue if we eat it by itself or sprinkle it over our foods.
X No browning: Erythritol does not undergo browning during baking and cooking. We can bake with erythritol as we would with sugar—mix it with dry ingredients or cream. It won't brown, but it will result in soft and crispy baked goods.
X Cost: Expect to pay 8 to 40 times more than table sugar—we have to consider that table sugar is sweeter so, not only is it much cheaper, we need to use less than erythritol to get the same sweetness level. To draw a comparison: the cost of erythritol varies from 4 to 20 dollars per pound, and table sugar is an average of 75 cents per pound. Powdered erythritol tends to be more expensive—quickly make your own powdered version by simply grinding granulated erythritol.
X Mixing in water: Erythritol's crystals do not dissolve quite as well as table sugar. Powdered erythritol dissolves more easily than granulated erythritol.
X Recrystallization in cold temperatures: Foods and beverages sweetened with erythritol may form crunchy crystals when refrigerated or frozen. To minimize recrystallization, use powdered erythritol instead of granulated in your recipe or just skip storage by eating it right away.
X Storage: Erythritol tends to form lumps even when we think we properly stored it in an airtight container or resealable bag. That does not mean it is unsuitable for eating. By storing erythritol in your freezer or refrigerator, you avoid clumping.
At the time of publishing, the cost of a pound of pure granulated erythritol varies from 4 to 20 dollars in stores across the United States. Please scroll down to see them all.
Large bags of erythritol, from 2.5 to 6 pounds, cost an average of 5 dollars a pound. Check out Micro Ingredients, or Whole Earth, or Health Garden. Most 1-pound bags cost 8 to 12 dollars. For big amounts, such as twenty to forty pounds, check here or here.
Certified organic erythritol varies from about 6 to 12 dollars per pound. Organic ZeroSugar from Wholesome is Fair Trade Certified, Organic Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher Certified, and Keto Certified.
Powdered erythritol dissolves faster than granulated and tends to cost more. Only Now Real Food and SoNourished are certified organic. So Nourished powdered erythritol does not clump as it contains an anti-caking agent.
What's Out in Stores in 2021?
I invite you to browse my erythritol page to keep up to date with the latest products and brands to hit stores. Any brand of pure erythritol we find in stores across the country is:
1.2 to 1.6 cal/tsp
3.6 to 4.8 cal/Tbsp
58 to 77 cal/cup
Zero glycemic impact
Zero net carbs
Vegetarian and vegan
Ketogenic or keto diet-friendly
Low carb diet-friendly
Made from corn, except this
30–40% less sweet than sugar
Organic erythritol is produced from organically grown plants. It also must be processed, handled, and packaged according to the National Organic Program or NOP. Learn more about organic sweeteners here.
Microingredients | 6-lb
Pyure | 2.5-lb
Now Real Food | 1-lb
Healthworks | 2-lb
Wholesome ZeroSugar | 12-oz
2. Aspen | 1-lb
3. Besti Wholesome Yum | 1-lb
5. Health Garden | 1000-pkts
7. HaleFresh | 3-lb
8. Sukrin | 1.1-lb
10. Mama Saaz | 12-oz
14. Prescribed For Life | 12-oz
19. LC Low Carb | 1-lb
21. It's Just | 8-oz
1. Now Real Food Organic | 1-lb
4. LC Low Carb | 1-lb
6. Besti | 1-lb
7. Anthony's | 2-lb
8. Sensato | 1-lb
9. It's Just | 8-oz
10. Zsweet | 9.5-oz
11. Smart138 | 8-oz
Tell it Like it Is
Erythritol is promoted as natural, zero-calories, tooth-friendly, zero effect on blood sugar levels, well tolerated by our gut, plus it looks and tastes like table sugar. Here are some facts to consider:
Not really "calorie-free": Erythritol does offer significantly fewer calories than table sugar, but it is not zero calories—one cup provides about 75 calories. By law, a sweetener may be labeled calorie-free, no-calorie, or zero-calorie if it provides less than 5 calories per serving. One serving of erythritol is one teaspoon (3 grams for powdered form, 4 grams for granulated form), which provides 1.2 to 1.6 calories.
Not really a "natural" sweetener: Erythritol is found naturally in some foods (fruits, mushrooms, fermented foods). However, because those sources have minuscule amounts, the store-bought erythritol is a synthetic sweetener. As I discussed in a previous post titled 5 Misconceptions about Natural Sweeteners, the Food and Drug Administration does not define or regulate the use of the term "natural" on labels. Erythritol may be promoted as "natural" but it is highly processed, refined, and a synthetic copy of a sweet component of plants. Learn more about synthetic sweeteners promoted as natural here: Natural Sweetener: Not What You Might Think.
Not really the "perfect sweetener": In choosing sweeteners, there's no such thing as the perfect sweetener, because there are always tradeoffs associated with them. Common complaints about erythritol include "it does not dissolve well", "it does not brown baking goods", and "there is something about the taste of erythritol". If the cooling effect of pure erythritol bothers you, try one of the erythritol blends (see links below).
For all erythritol blends in stores, go here
For blends with stevia, go here
For blends with monk fruit, go here
For blends with sugars, go here
For 1:1 Sugar Replacement with erythritol, go here
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