Our quest for healthy, sugar-free versions of our favorite foods and drinks often leads us to products containing different artificial sweeteners, like erythritol. But are these sweeteners actually better for us than sugar, or is our journey for a healthy alternative actually sending us in the wrong direction?
This year in particular, lots of alarming research has emerged about artificial sweeteners, linking them with certain cancers, a dramatically increased risk of heart attack or stroke, and more. It’s essential to understand what we’re putting in our bodies, and the potential consequences of artificial sweeteners.
Erythritol, a sugar alcohol often used as a sugar substitute in various food and beverage products, has become a popular low-calorie sweetener, but is it safe? In particular, what are the concerns around erythritol and the kidneys? Does erythritol affect kidneys?
In this article, we’ll address all your concerns about erythritol and kidney damage. With the info in this guide, we’ll empower you to make informed choices about your artificial sweetener usage. So, is erythritol safe for kidneys? Let’s find out together.
What is Erythritol?
Before we discuss erythritol and the kidneys, let’s take a look at the sweetener itself. Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol, which means it belongs to the polyol family of sweeteners. It occurs naturally in small amounts in certain fruits like grapes, melons, and pears, as well as in some fermented foods.
However, commercial erythritol is usually produced through a process of fermentation, where natural sugars are fermented by certain yeast or bacteria strains. The end result is a white, crystalline powder with a sweetness profile very similar to sugar, but with virtually no calories.
One of the key reasons for the popularity of erythritol is its low caloric content. While sugar contains around four calories per gram, erythritol provides only about 0.24 calories per gram, making it a favorite among those seeking to reduce their calorie intake.
In recent years, erythritol has been added to various sugar-free and reduced-calorie foods, such as sugar-free candies, baked goods, and diet beverages. This has led to questions and concerns about its potential impact on kidney health. So, is erythritol safe for kidneys? Let’s explore that next.
Is Erythritol Safe for Kidneys?
As the popularity of erythritol as a sugar substitute continues to grow, it is essential to address concerns about its impact on kidney health. So, is erythritol safe for kidneys, or is erythritol bad for kidneys? Here’s what the science tells us about the erythritol effect on kidneys.
How Does Erythritol Affect Kidneys?
Erythritol, as a sugar alcohol, is primarily absorbed in the small intestine and excreted through urine largely unchanged. Unlike some other sugar alcohols, erythritol doesn't require significant metabolic processing by the liver.
So, does erythritol affect kidneys? Erythritol doesn’t appear to have a major impact on kidney function, though not a lot of research has been done in the area. In general, it’s believed that if you have healthy kidneys, consuming small amounts of erythritol shouldn’t pose a significant risk.
However, it may be a different story for those with pre-existing kidney issues.
The Link Between Erythritol and Kidney Stones
One of the major concerns regarding this sweetener and kidney health is about erythritol and kidney stones. Kidney stones are crystalline structures that can develop in the urinary tract and cause severe pain and complications.
So, what’s the link between erythritol and kidney stones? Erythritol is known to be excreted through the urine, and in some cases, it may increase the excretion of calcium in the urine. Elevated urinary calcium levels can raise the risk of kidney stone formation.
If you have a history of kidney stones or are at risk, it’s best to avoid erythritol.
What You Need to Know About Erythritol and Kidney Disease
What about erythritol and kidney disease? If you have kidney disease, or impaired kidney function, you may not be able to excrete erythritol as efficiently as other people. This can lead to increased levels of erythritol in your blood, as it circulates through your system before it can be removed.
Unfortunately, there are some big risks associated with increased levels of erythritol in the blood. Recent research has shown that increased blood erythritol levels can increase your chances of developing blood clots, which dramatically increases your risk of heart attack or stroke.
So, what does this mean for erythritol and kidney disease? Is erythritol bad for kidneys? If you have existing kidney issues, erythritol is likely not a safe addition to your diet and should be avoided.
So, Is Erythritol Safe for Kidneys?
So, is erythritol safe for kidneys? Unfortunately, we don’t have a definitive answer as research into erythritol and kidney damage is still in the early stages.
What we do know is that high erythritol levels in the blood can be dangerous, leading to a dramatically increased risk of heart attack and stroke. People with existing kidney issues are at a higher risk of having elevated erythritol levels as they can’t clear erythritol from their system as efficiently.
But is erythritol safe for kidneys? If you have healthy kidneys, small amounts of erythritol may be safe, but given that it’s not an essential part of our diets, it might be worth avoiding this sweetener anyway, just to be on the safe side.
Other Concerns Beyond the Erythritol Effect on Kidneys
While it’s important to discuss the erythritol effect on kidneys, it’s certainly not the only conversation we need to have about erythritol. So, what are the dangers of erythritol beyond the kidneys? Let’s take a look.
Digestive Distress: Erythritol and Its Potential Laxative Effect
Not only is erythritol bad for kidneys, but it also has the potential to cause digestive discomfort, particularly when consumed in large quantities. Some people experience a laxative effect, leading to symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
This is because erythritol is not fully absorbed in the small intestine and reaches the colon where it can attract water and ferment, causing these gastrointestinal symptoms, which can be quite severe for some people.
Erythritol and Blood Sugar: Implications for Diabetics
One of the reasons erythritol is favored by people with diabetes is its minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Unlike traditional sugars, erythritol does not appear to cause a significant spike in blood glucose and insulin, though individual responses may vary.
While erythritol may not increase blood sugar levels significantly, this doesn’t make it safe for diabetics. Many diabetics experience kidney issues, which means erythritol could significantly increase their risk of heart attack or stroke. For diabetics, avoiding erythritol is safest.
Allergic Reactions and Intolerance: Recognizing the Signs
Some people may be allergic to erythritol or experience intolerance to foods containing this sugar alcohol. Allergic reactions can appear as skin rashes, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
Put These Concerns in the Past With the Power of Sweet Proteins!
If you’re concerned about erythritol and the kidneys, as well as the other risks that come with this artificial sweetener, there are plenty of other options to explore. Unfortunately, most other artificial sweeteners, like sucralose vs stevia vs aspartame, also come with their own health risks.
Many people experience sucralose headaches, and when it comes to sucralose and keto diets, this sweetener may not be keto-friendly. As for stevia, too much stevia can cause digestive issues, while there are also important considerations for stevia and pregnancy and stevia weight loss. Plus, stevia tastes bad!
Many people search for diet drinks without aspartame or try aspartame detoxing due to aspartame neurological effects, including migraines, and also because aspartame is bad for teeth as it is quite acidic and can degrade enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities.
Do artificial sweeteners cause inflammation? Yes - almost all artificial sweeteners have been linked with some level of inflammation, partly because they are not natural ingredients that are normally part of our diets.
So, what’s a safer, healthier alternative that doesn’t come with the baggage of artificial sweeteners? Sweet proteins!
Why Sweet Proteins are the Best Natural Sweetener
Sweet proteins are a revolutionary new low-sugar alternative that helps you enjoy delicious, sweet, low-calorie, safe versions of your favorite foods and beverages. Sweet proteins can be up to 5,000 times sweeter than sugar, meaning that only a tiny amount is required.
One of the major benefits of sweet proteins is that they are found naturally in fruits, meaning they’re safe and free from the unwanted health issues that artificial sweeteners can bring and are still virtually calorie-free.
Sweet proteins as a sugar substitute also taste great! They naturally sweeten your food and drinks without the bitter aftertaste that comes with artificial sweeteners. Sweet proteins are the best way to avoid the issues of erythritol and the kidneys, as well as the other potential dangers of artificial sweeteners.
Where to Get Snacks and Drinks Powered by Sweet Proteins
At Oobli, we’ve harnessed the power of sweet proteins to bring you the best sugar free drinks, with all the flavor and none of the guilt! How are sweet proteins made at Oobli? We use precision fermentation protein, similar to how wine, beer, and cheese are naturally produced.
Our low sugar tea contains just 7g of sugar in each 16oz can, is made using all-natural ingredients, and comes in a variety of deliciously fruity flavors. Finally, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your health!
Our chocolate is so decadent, rich, and creamy that you won’t believe it’s good for you! Rich in fiber, keto-friendly, free from sugar alcohols, and made with just a few natural ingredients, it’s the best guilt-free way to enjoy a mouthwatering bite of chocolate.
Final Thoughts on Erythritol and the Kidneys
When it comes to erythritol and the kidneys, there’s a lot to be aware of. Erythritol can be particularly damaging if you already have kidney disease or an underlying kidney issue, and is best avoided as it may dramatically increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Understanding the links between erythritol and kidney damage is important, but there are a number of other health issues that can come with this sweetener. Erythritol may cause digestive distress, allergies, and could potentially affect your blood sugar levels.
Sweet proteins are a safe, natural alternative that lets you avoid the health issues that erythritol and other artificial sweeteners bring. Rich in antioxidants, these tiny powerhouses actually make your favorite treats more nutritious, but you wouldn’t know it from the taste!
When it comes to your health, you can’t afford to take any risks. Find safer versions of your favorite low-sugar treats at Oobli!