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Erythritol is a non-artificial sugar alcohol (hydrogenated carbohydrate). It is naturally occurring in some fruits and fermented foods. As a food additive, it is generally derived from the natural process of fermentation of sugars and starches. Like other sugar alcohol, it is typically used to replace sugar since it’s practically calorie free (it has 0.02 calories/gram) but yet has about 70% of sugar’s sweetness.

Sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar because they are not fully absorbed by the body. For this reason, sugar alcohols have a much lower effect on blood sugar. In fact, Erythritol is one of the sugar alcohols with the least effect on blood sugar. It is about 90% absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine and subsequently excreted unchanged in the urine. Since 90% is absorbed before it enters the large intestine, erythritol does not normally cause laxative effects (as can happen with other sugar alcohols).

It’s often added as a low or zero calorie sweetener in sports nutrition products.

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