Pulled from an article on Dr. Mercola’s website “article.mercola.com”
If you look at the ingredients of VitaminWater 10 (owned by Coca Cola), you might be pleased to see that it contains the natural sweetener stevia. However, you will also notice that it is loaded with crystalline fructose, sucrose, and a mysterious product called Erythritol.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a sweetener that does not provide as many calories as sugar. But the reason that sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar is because they are not completely absorbed into your body. However, this fact has certain drawbacks, none of which are good. And for this reason, high intakes of foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to abdominal gas and diarrhea.
Sugar alcohols (also known as polyols) like erythritol are regulated as either GRAS or food additives. Despite the name, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol.
They vary in sweetness from about half as sweet as sugar to equally as sweet. They’re frequently combined with other low-calorie or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, or crystalline fructose. None of which should be consumed.
Also, bear in mind that while sugar alcohols are lower in calories, gram for gram, than sugar, they are not calorie-free, and if eaten in large enough quantities, the calories can be comparable to sugar-containing foods.
Some sugar alcohols are reasonable to consume in moderate quantities — for example, xylitol doesn’t spike blood sugar levels in the way that high-fructose corn syrup might, and it is anti-bacterial and actually helps prevent dental cavities.
High intakes of foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to adverse physical symptoms like abdominal gas and diarrhea. Some polyols are clearly worse than others. Sorbitol or mannitol-containing foods, for example, are so potent they must display a warning on their label stating “excess consumption may have a laxative effect.”
Erythritol may offer an explanation to the many reports of ill after-effects from drinking VitaminWater (which contains Erythritol), such as:
So in conclusion, consume these alternative sweeteners in very moderate quantities. There’s no substitute for real food, so if you have a sweet tooth I suggest you use Honey, Molasses and the least processed and more complete forms of sugar.
I have many good recipes that sweeten your treats with Honey or other good alternatives.
Find out when my next Healthy Cooking class is and come find out how good healthy foods can taste!