CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) -
1. I buy natural low calorie sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit. They often come with erythritol. What is it and is it safe?
Erythritol is made when yeast ferments the sugar called glucose. The result is a natural low calorie sweetener that tastes like sugar without the calories. It does not raise blood sugar or triglycerides and does not cause cavities as regular sugar can.
You have probably seen other sugars like this on the labels of sugar free gums and candy. They have names like xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. But erythritol appears to be quite a bit different than the others. It is much lower in calories and it has virtually no side effects. The main side effects of these type of sweeteners is gas, bloating and diarrhea. You may know this all too well if you have eaten too much sugar free chocolate or pie. It goes right through you. Erythritol is different in that the laxative effect is very low. You would need to eat a lot of it to have any GI distress.
So while it is considered safe and natural, I still recommend you use any natural sweetener like erythritol, stevia and monk fruit sparingly. Some studies show they may still cause cravings and weight gain. In addition, using it too much makes your taste buds accustomed to a high level of sweetness. Minimizing the level of sweetness that your taste buds experience will make fruits and even vegetables like carrots and grape tomatoes taste sweet and delicious when they hit your taste buds.You can get sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia without eyrthritol added as well.
2. Can I find the Glycemic Index of a food on the label?
Glycemic Index is a system that ranks a food by how much it raises your blood sugar. Eating low glycemic food will reduce your risk of diabetes,heart disease and obesity. While this is information is not yet on food labels, experts from around the world are pushing to get this information on foods labels soon. For now, know that your low glycemic foods are foods high in protein or fiber and low in sugar and processed carbs.