Erythritol belongs to a class of compounds called sugar alcohols. Many different sugar alcohols are used by food producers. These include xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol. Most of them function as low-calorie sweeteners in sugar-free or low-sugar products. The World Health Organization (WHO) approved erythritol in 1999, and the FDA did the same in 2001.
Most sugar alcohols are found in small amounts in nature, especially in fruits and vegetables. The way these molecules are structured gives them the ability to stimulate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue. Erythritol appears to be quite different from the other sugar alcohols. With only 6% of the calories of sugar, it still contains 70% of the sweetness. In large-scale production, erythritol is created when a type of yeast ferments glucose from corn or wheat starch.
Is Erythritol safe for kidneys?
Data for animals and humans suggest that the consumption of added sugars leads to kidney damage and related metabolic derangements that increase cardiovascular risk. Importantly, the consumption of added sugars has been found to induce insulin resistance and increase uric acid in humans, both of which increase the conversion of glucose to fructose.
Nevertheless, erythritol appears to be very safe. Multiple studies on its toxicity and effects on metabolism have been performed in animals. Despite long-term feeding of high amounts of erythritol, no serious side effects have been detected.
Unlike other sugar alcohols, most of erythritol gets absorbed into the bloodstream before it reaches the colon. It circulates in the blood for a while, until it is eventually excreted unchanged in the urine. About 90% of erythritol is excreted this way.
It’s also OK for people with diabetes. Erythritol has no effect on glucose or insulin levels. This makes it a safe sugar substitute if you have diabetes. Foods that contain erythritol may still contain carbohydrates, calories, and fat, so it’s important to check the label. Although erythritol doesn’t have any serious side effects, eating high amounts may cause digestive upset.