For anyone looking to replace sugar-rich snacks and drinks with a healthier option, food and beverages containing erythritol may seem like a good choice. This sugar alcohol is virtually calorie-free, leading many to believe it’s a “healthier” choice.
However, the real story isn’t that simple. Erythritol has recently been linked with many different health issues, and adding this unnatural compound to your diet isn’t always a smart choice. So, what exactly are the dangers of erythritol?
In this article, we’ll discuss erythritol side effects and dangers, laying out the facts and diving into the science behind erythritol and what happens when it’s consumed. We’ll give you all the information you need to make the best choice to protect your personal well-being.
Plus, we’ll introduce you to a safe, delicious sugar substitute that doesn’t come with erythritol’s baggage!
Is Erythritol Dangerous?
Let’s get straight to the point: is erythritol dangerous? Although many people see this sugar substitute as a smart low-calorie option, there’s more to this sugar alcohol than first meets the eye. So, are there erythritol side effects and dangers you need to be aware of?
In short, yes. This sugar alcohol has been linked with many different health issues and conditions, even in young, healthy adults. We’ll get into the research and specifics shortly, but the first thing to understand is that the dangers of erythritol are to be considered, and something you should be aware of.
Many people think that, because our bodies naturally make some erythritol, it’s safe when added to our food and drinks. However, the amounts we’re consuming in foods and beverages are often 1,000 times higher than the amount our bodies produce naturally.
While a small amount of erythritol might not cause problems, the dangers of erythritol when it’s consumed in such high quantities are very real.
What Are the Dangers of Erythritol?
So, what are the dangers of erythritol, exactly? Let’s take a look at some of the most common health issues that arise from consuming erythritol, and why this sweetener might be best left on the shelf.
One of the most common and well-documented dangers of erythritol consumption is its potential to cause gastrointestinal distress. Erythritol is not fully metabolized in the small intestine, and as a result, it can ferment in the colon when consumed in large amounts.
This fermentation process can lead to digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. While some individuals can tolerate erythritol without issues, others may experience these unpleasant symptoms after consuming products containing erythritol.
Another issue with erythritol is the potential it has to cause allergic reactions. Symptoms can include itching, hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you have a known sensitivity to sugar alcohols or a history of allergies, you should exercise caution when using erythritol.
It might be a good idea to talk to your doctor if you’re planning on adding erythritol to your diet, so they can make sure you fully understand the dangers of erythritol and your risks of developing an allergic reaction.
Potential Impact on Gut Flora
Emerging research suggests that erythritol may have an unknown impact on gut flora, the microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. While much of erythritol is non-fermentable, some evidence suggests that erythritol alters the composition of gut bacteria.
Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health, and any disturbances to this balance could have long-term consequences. Some of the issues associated with imbalanced gut bacteria include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and even diabetes.
Potential for Weight Gain
Many people use erythritol as a sugar substitute because they think it will help them lose weight. However, one of the dangers of erythritol is that the opposite may actually be true. It’s believed that the chemical reactions triggered by erythritol in the blood could lead to weight gain.
Also, the sweet taste of erythritol can trigger cravings for sweet foods, and when consumed in excess, it may lead to overeating or compensatory intake of calories from other sources. This phenomenon can counteract the intended benefits of using erythritol as a sugar substitute.
Another danger associated with erythritol is its potential to reinforce a preference for sweet flavors. By continuously satisfying the sweet tooth with erythritol-sweetened foods and beverages, you may find it challenging to appreciate naturally occurring, less sweet flavors.
This could contribute to a cycle of seeking out highly processed, artificially sweetened products, which may not be conducive to a balanced and nutritious diet.
Critical Cardiovascular Events
The most serious danger of erythritol became clear in research published in 2023. In a study of almost 4,000 adults, those with the highest erythritol levels were twice as likely to have serious cardiovascular events in the following years.
The researchers found a strong link between high erythritol levels and a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke. Further research showed that this was because erythritol can lead to blood clots, which can be extremely dangerous and potentially even deadly.
How Much Erythritol is Dangerous?
Unfortunately, these erythritol dangers can affect individuals who only consume a small amount of erythritol. Just one beverage sweetened with erythritol can increase the amount of erythritol in your blood by 1,000 times.
Plus, this spike lasts for several days, which is more than enough time for potential linked erythritol dangers like blood clots to form.
How Can You Avoid Erythritol Side Effects and Dangers?
Given the clear erythritol dangers, it’s understandable if you’re looking for ways to avoid risking your health with any of these side effects and issues. The best way to avoid the dangers of erythritol is to completely eliminate it from your diet.
So, how can you say no to erythritol side effects and dangers, and what can you replace this sweetener with that doesn’t come with the same health risks and issues? Let’s take a look.
Reading Labels Carefully
One of the most effective ways to avoid erythritol dangers is by reading product labels carefully. Erythritol is commonly used in sugar-free and low-calorie products, so being aware of its presence in the foods and beverages you consume is crucial.
Scan the ingredients list for erythritol, which may be listed as “erythritol,” “erythritol syrup,” or “E968,” which is its European food additive number. Be particularly cautious when reviewing labels for sugar-free gum, candies, diet sodas, and processed low-calorie foods.
As well as erythritol, some products may contain other sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, or maltitol. While erythritol dangers seem to be more severe than these other sugar alcohols, they can still have a laxative effect and cause digestive upset, so might also be worth avoiding.
One of the best ways to avoid erythritol dangers is to find alternatives to erythritol. Unfortunately, other sweeteners like sucralose vs stevia vs aspartame all come with their own health issues.
Many people who switch to these products experience intolerance to artificial sweeteners symptoms, which can include digestive issues like stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and bloating.
For stevia, there’s the issue of stevia and weight gain, and you might also find yourself asking why does stevia taste so bad? Many people complain about the distinctly bitter aftertaste of this sweetener.
Also, why was stevia banned? It was linked to reproductive issues, leading to an FDA ban in the 1990s. While certain forms of stevia are now permitted, its use is still heavily regulated. How much stevia is too much? Based on the issues this sweetener can cause, it’s best to avoid it completely.
Not only is erythritol dangerous, but all other artificial sweeteners seem to come with their own health issues as well. So, what’s a natural alternative that doesn’t come with the dangers of erythritol and other sweeteners? Sweet proteins!
Sweet proteins are naturally occurring proteins that are found in certain types of tropical fruit. Although they are proteins (not sugars), some sweet proteins are 2,000 to 5,000 times sweeter than sugar!
This means that only a tiny amount of sweet protein is required to pack a sweet punch, which makes this natural powerhouse doesn’t bring calories, side effects, or health issues to the party - just a healthy dose of sweetness.
Another benefit of sweet proteins is that they’re anti-inflammatory, unlike certain artificial sweeteners that can actually cause inflammation. Plus, using sweet proteins as a sugar substitute won’t leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth, just natural sweetness!
Introducing Oobli's Erythritol-Free Drinks
Here at Oobli, we’ve harnessed the power of sweet proteins to bring you delicious drinks without erythritol and other nasty sweeteners. How are sweet proteins made at Oobli? We use a natural fermentation process, similar to how beer, wine, and cheese are produced.
If you’re ready to try the best low-sugar drinks that don’t come with any of the dangers of erythritol, try our quenching low sugar tea. These delicious, fruity iced teas are available in several different flavors, and only contain 7 grams of sugar per 16 oz can!
Or, if you need something to satisfy that sweet tooth, try our low-sugar, high-fiber chocolate bars. This decadent dark chocolate will melt in your mouth as your guilt melts away. It’s vegan, keto-friendly, and most importantly, delicious!
All Oobli products are made using sweet proteins and natural ingredients. We don’t use anything weird, anything dangerous, or anything you can’t pronounce. We pride ourselves on clean, guilt-free treats that let you enjoy the foods you love without the side effects.
Bringing Our Conversation on the Erythritol Dangers to a Close
So, what are the dangers of erythritol? Unfortunately, erythritol can come with some potential serious side effects and health issues, including weight gain, digestive problems, allergies, and an increased risk of developing blood clots that could cause heart attack or stroke.
Not only is erythritol potentially dangerous, but many other sweeteners are too! That’s why, at Oobli, we make sure our products are sweetened with sweet proteins — incredible, natural compounds that deliver sweetness without calories, side effects, or health problems.
You don’t have to give up your favorite treats to live a healthier life. Enjoy guilt-free iced tea and chocolate that won’t harm your health - shop Oobli today!