No-Calorie Sweetener Erythritol May Aid Weight Loss and Diabetics

Erythritol, one of the newest no-calorie sweeteners on the market, delivers a double-fisted benefit. Along with being a zero-calorie sugar alternative for people interested in weight loss, a new study shows that erythritol may provide potent antioxidant activity, which may protect the blood vessels of people who have diabetes.

The new trial, which was conducted in The Netherlands, involved diabetic rats who were studied using two different approaches. In one, investigators found that erythritol was an effective antioxidant against hydroxyl free radicals but not against superoxide radicals. In the other, use of erythritol showed a protective effect against oxidative stress on the lining of the blood vessels. Previous studies have shown that erythritol can benefit diabetics because it does not affect glucose or insulin levels, and it has been promoted to help with weight loss as well.

Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol that is found naturally in fruits and fermented foods. For commercial use in foods, it is produced in the laboratory from glucose that is mixed with water and then fermented with a yeast. Because of how it is absorbed by the body it is nearly calorie-free (0.2 calories per gram), which makes it a desirable product for people interested in weight loss. Erythritol has been approved for use in the United States since 1997, the same year it was granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status.

The authors of the Netherlands study note that their study results suggest that erythritol’s benefits could go beyond those indicated for diabetes and weight loss and help individuals who have other chronic conditions in which free radicals cause significant tissue damage.

SOURCES:
Den Hartog GJM et al. Nutrition 2009 July 23; doi:10.1016/j.nut.2009.05.004
Sharafetdinov K et al. Voprosy Pitaniia 2002; 71(3): 19-23

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