The natural sweetener erythritol does not appear to carry the adverse effects associated with other low and non-caloric natural and artificial sweeteners and may actually have antioxidant potential.
The only nontoxic noncaloric or low calorie sweetener may be erythritol. For a while it was only available in Japan but now it's pretty much available everywhere. It's found naturally in pears and grapes, but industrially we just have yeast make it for us. Doesn’t cause cavities, and hasn’t been implicated in fibromyalgia, preterm birth, headaches, hypertension, brain disorders, and platelet disorders. In videos in years past I’ve talked about erythritol as being harmless, but new data suggests that I have to change my tune. Now it actually may be helpful. Adding to its role as a “low-calorie, tooth-friendly, bulk sweetener,” erythritol may be a sweet antioxidant. This shows the dose dependent protective effect of increasing concentrations of erythritol on the oxidative destructive of red blood cells. The reason they even looked for antioxidant activity is because structurally it looks like mannitol, a well-known antioxidant. The problem with mannitol and other polyols such as xylitol and sorbitol is that they aren’t absorbed and so can cause gastrointestinal symptoms lower down in the colon. “Safety studies suggest that erythritol is well tolerated and shows no signs of toxicity. It is therefore an excellent sugar substitute, for example, for individuals with diabetes because it can both replace sugar and maybe even help reduce free radical formation. Both are expected to reduce the onset and progression of painful and life-threatening diabetic complications.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.
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This is the third in a video series on sweeteners. See Friday's and yesterday's NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day about aspartame. Stevia is another natural sweetener that was launched in Japan, but it could have adverse effects at high doses. See Is Stevia Good For You?. I previously addressed erythritol in A Harmless Artificial Sweetener--the too-good-to-be-true nontoxic, low-calorie, tooth friendly sweetener that may even act as an antioxidant. So what’s the catch? I'll close out this series with three videos that address a few possibilities starting with Wednesday's video-of-the-day How Diet Soda Could Make Us Gain Weight.
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