Is erythritol keto suitable? This is undoubtedly one of the most common queries I hear from new keto devotees.The keto diet is one that requires an individual to significantly restrict carbs from foods or at least limit the quantity consumed in the diet. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed is important especially if the desired goal is weight loss. However, the problem that may arise is that one has to replace the sugar in the diet.
Significantly reducing the amount of sugar consumed can be hard, especially for someone who is used to sweetening everything. Since sweets and the keto diet do not go hand-in-hand, certain alternatives must be sought. But why is it necessary to limit the quantity of carbohydrates while on a low carb diet?
The statement – we are what we eat is very true, but it is difficult to differentiate what is healthy from what is not. This difficulty arises due to the increase in the types of diet in the world today. The reason why carbohydrates need to be limited is that it changes into sugar and is absorbed quickly by the body. Weight loss indeed is one of the reasons to reduce carb intake, but this is not the only reason to do so. Improving energy, mood as well as management of diabetes are also good reasons to care about the quantity of carbs in a diet, However, for weight loss on the keto diet, restricting cars is a necessity. In this case, consuming a lot of carbohydrates only increases the fat stores in the body. There is also an increase in the calories that results in weight gain.
To successfully replace sugar in diet, sugar alcohols are highly recommended. Although they are called sugar alcohols, they do not actually contain sugar and alcohols. These sugar alcohols are used to provide sweetness, but unlike sugar, they also reduce the calories a product contains. How do they achieve this? When consumed in a meal, they slowly convert to glucose without causing a sudden rise in blood sugar. Popular sugar alcohols include xylitol, erythritol. mannitol and sorbitol. This article focuses on the sugar alcohol, erythritol, what it is, and whether or not it is keto-friendly.
What is Erythritol?
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol used to replace sugar in the diet. It is popularly used in low-carb diets since it contains no sugar as well as few calories. Erythritol has only about 0.2 calories per gram compared to sugar, which has about four calories per gram. It is made by combination and fermentation of natural sugars found in corn. It can also be gotten from fruits like watermelon and pears.
Apart from adding sweetness to meals, erythritol can also add bulk and texture and prevent dryness. When erythritol is used for baking, it gives similar results like sugar. It is no wonder it is used in low-sugar or sugar-free foods. In fact, it was used in jellies, candies, chocolates, jams since as far back as 1990 as a substitute for sugar. It can be purchased in powdered form by itself or in prepackaged foods.
Industrially, erythritol is produced by enzymatic hydrolysis of starch from corn. This helps to produce glucose, which then undergoes fermentation with yeast to form erythritol. To confirm if a product contains erythritol, a quick look at the ingredients may be of help. Generally, foods labeled a sugar-free or low-sugar may contain erythritol or any of the other sugar alcohols. Erythritol is commonly used in lozenges, sports drinks, sugar-free gum, sugar-free candies, bakery products, and creams.
Health Benefits of Erythritol
Erythritol has other health benefits besides being used in most low carb foods. Some of these health benefits include
May Help Prevent Diabetes: It is worth mentioning that the consumption of erythritol does not affect insulin level, cholesterol, and free fatty acids. People who have diabetes can still use erythritol to replace sugar. The reason is linked with the fact that erythritol is readily absorbed and excreted without undergoing degradation.
May Help Prevent Toothache: When streptococcus or other oral bacteria grows, it forms a film on the teeth that results in tooth decay. Use of the sugar alcohol, erythritol, has been implicated in reducing the growth of oral bacteria. When this growth is inhibited, dental caries and tooth decay are prevented. Some authorities have even mentioned that erythritol is more effective than some other sugar alcohols in managing oral health because of the reasons given above.
Has Antioxidant Properties: Free radicals scavenge and cause a number of problems in the body and can affect the functions of vital organs. Using erythritol in diet limits the actions of these harmful free radicals. Inflammation in the vital organs like the liver and kidneys are thus prevented. In fact, in one study, erythritol was shown to be effective in scavenging the hydroxyl radical in vivo. It was then concluded that erythritol could protect the body against hyperglycemia-induced vascular damage.
Is Erythritol Keto Friendly?
The keto diet and most other low-carb meals require that the amount of carbohydrates consumed be reduced. By limiting carb intake, the body is forced to burn fats. The body then enters ketosis, and a significant amount of weight is lost. For times where an idividual craves something sweet while on the keto diet, sugar alcohols like erythritol are great substitutes for regular sugar. Not only do they contain no carbohydrates, but they contain few calories, making it suitable for low-carb meals. It is also important to mention that the Foods and Drugs Admisnistration approve erythritol for use in low carb meals.
Erythritol has been associated with certain side effects related to the digestive system. Some people have reported that they have experienced mild gastrointestinal discomfort when using erythritol. There have also been reports of nausea and vomiting, as well as diarrhea. Those with diarrhea should seek help immediately because it can lead to dehydration. Other complications may result from severe gastrointestinal discomfort, including indigestion and heartburn. There have been no reports that ingesting erythritol in large quantities is fatal, but proper care must be taken before adding this sugar alcohol to diet.
Erythritol is an excellent choice for the keto diet and for good reasons too. On the one hand, it has no carbs and very few calories. The amount of calories it contains is so low that it is negligible when it is added to meals. It is also suitable for people with diabetes who choose low carb diets like the keto diet since it does not cause a spike in insulin or blood sugar levels. While on the keto diet, erythritol also makes a good replacement for sugar because it gives similar results.
It is best also to limit the intake of these sugar-free sweeteners even though they are good substitutes for sugar. It may be best to make use of erythritol when the body has become keto-adapted for a while, especially for those who are addicted to sweets and those who just start the diet for the first time. After a few months of starting the diet, erythritol may be used in moderate quantities. For erythritol, it has been linked with several health problems from gastrointestinal disturbances to chronic dehydration. It is best to speak with a health professional before using erythritol.