Brief Overview Of Erythritol:
Erythritol is the lowest-calorie (.2/gram) sugar alcohol and it has a high digestive tolerance unlike other sugar alcohols. For fine-ground erythritol at a lower price go here.
Origins of Erythritol :
Erythritol is found in a variety of foods and fermented foods
Erythritol is made by breaking down food starch into glucose. Then a yeast called Moniliella pollinis is added to the glucose. By way of fermentation, the glucose is broken down into erythritol. The erythritol is then purified into 99.5% pure erythritol.
Safety of Erythritol:
Metabolic, toxicological, and clinical studies performed have not found erythritol to cause cancer, brain damage, allergic reactions or any problems in any of the studies. The FDA has declared erythritol GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and can be used 100% as a tabletop sweetener.
Properties of Erythritol:
Erythritol is natural sweetener.
Erythritol has a glycemic ranking of 0 and does not raise insulin.
Erythritol has a low molecular weight.
Erythritol has up to .2 calories per gram.
Erythritol has a high digestive tolerance: 2 to 3 times better than xylitol, lactitol, maltitol and isomalt; 3 to 4 times better than sorbitol and mannitol.
Erythritol is rapidly absorbed, not metabolized, and then quickly excreted unchanged in the urine.
Erythritol is 70% sweet as sucrose.
Erythritol has no aftertaste.
Erythritol has the bulk, look and texture of sugar.
Erythritol inhibits bacteria in their ability to ferment lactose (good for teeth).
Erythrtil reduces production of acid on the dental plaque (good for teeth).
Erythritol is non-viscous (not sticky).
Erythritol Increases shelf-life of foods. In case you're already dying to get some, click here
What Erythritol does NOT do:
Erythritol does not promote tooth decay.
Erythritol does not promote harmful bacteria of fungus in the gut.
Erythritol raise insulin or glucose levels.
Applications of Erythritol:
Erythritol can be used in cakes, cookies and biscuits at a level up to 10% to dramatically increase baking stability and shelf life.
Erythritol gives baked goods longer freshness and softness.
In baked goods, using erythritol results in more compact dough and softer products.
Less color formation in baked goods results from use of erythritol.
Erythritol has a different melting behavior.
In confections, erythritol is non-hygroscopic (doesn't absorb moisture in the air), provides good gloss, breaking characteristics and melting properties in the mouth.
Erythritol crystallizes quickly .
In some candy such as fudge and fondant, erythritol works well with maltitol to control crystallization.
Erythritol works best if fine ground or powdered but can be used in it's crystalline or granulated form for hard candies.
Conclusion About Erythritol:
Erythritol is the healthiest and lowest calorie (and thus carb) alternative to sugar and other sugar alcohols. It has the functionality of other bulk sweeteners combined with healthy properties and a high digestive tolerance. Erythritol is an ideal bulk sweetener for many uses including baking and confectionary.
Availability of Erythritol:
Get a pound of it already powdered for a good price here. I found some sweetener packets at walmart that use erythritol as well as a small container of erythritol sweetened with stevia, though doesn't seem very economical. You may find these in the artificial sweetener section of your store. If you can afford the extra cost and you don't plan on using a lot, it's convenient.
My Experience with Erythritol:
Erythritol worked in my cake and terrific in my frosting but added a strange characteristic to my brownies. The brownies came out well in taste and I liked the texture although it was not like regular brownies, in other words they weren't chewy or bread like, they had a texture much like dry fudge. I know I used too much erythritol (2 cups, using a regular recipe and substituting ingredients-flour with almond flour and sugar with erythritol) because they were a little too sweet. I've also used erythritol in icecream and meringues, it worked well with both. Some of the erythritol did, however, melt and pool on the outside bottom edge of the meringues (meringues need some kind of powdered substance for structure and stability or they don't work-I've tried. Erythritol is the lowest calorie alternative I know of to sugar), but it wasn't a problem, it was like candy, kinda cool, meringues with a twist.
Erythritol also works well for coatings, i.e., cinnamon and erythritol sprinkled on pork rinds or whatever. It would really be perfect for making your own hard candy, a project I look forward to. Imagine being able to make your own hard candy, any flavor you want-mint, coffee, fruit, you could add all sorts of stuff to it. I read on one of the low carb forums I go to about making caramel with erythritol, the trick was not heating it as long because it caramelizes faster than sugar or other sugar alcohols. I know it also makes good nut brittle. I recommend using powdered or fine ground erythritol as it dissolves easier.
Sweets made with erythritol are much more legal on a low carb diet because it's so low in calories so it has far fewer carbs and has a glycemic index of 0. I notice that when I just eat erythritol instead of other sugar alcohols, I have no problem losing weight. With sugar alcohols like maltitol I can gain weight or at least stall but I've had no problem with erythritol, even when eating a lot of it almost daily. I've grown very fond of my "caramel brittle" that is very easy to make with it and it was so good I felt like I was really cheating with regular candy of some kind and yet lost weight or didn't gain, very cool.
Well, I may not know what I'm doing when it comes to candy making, after all I'm not experienced in it and I wasn't following specific direction or any thing (but I did follow a recipe for the marshmallows). Everything, the caramel, hard candy and marshmallows turned out grainy and brittle. It all tasted good though, my favorite was the caramel, I loved the stuff it just didn't have the traditional caramel texture. I think erythritol needs to be used in conjunction with another sugar alcohol like inulin. I may get inulin and try making candy with it in the future. This is unfortunately not as common and so far the only place I've seen it sold at is stayfitproducts (and while their shipping is free I've since realized it isn't worth the wait. I ordered my erythritol from there to save a buck..yea, I'm cheap what can I say and it took me a long time to get it, I was wishing I had ordered it from netrition instead, it's already powdered and it's way faster).
I just completed and ate another small batch of caramel. I cooked it a little better this time by not stirring it while cooking and not cooking it too long. I tried adding stuff near the end instead of cooking it all together. I also decided to try making almond milk or cream and it worked! I put some slivered almonds in the blender with some water until I got a cream like consistency then strained it out. I put several spoonfuls of that in it and probably about a tablespoon of butter. I can't remember exactly how much erythritol I used, might have been 1/4 cup or more. I guess I should measure, I have a habit of just guessing amounts or just throwing things together. It came out lighter, much lighter than my last batch and softer and smoother. It seemed a lot more like caramel this time. It still set as a non-caramel textured, soft yet brittle kind of candy. It is different from regular caramel but it's definitely a good different. I think this would work great as a new kind of candy, not sure what to name it yet, caramel brittle? Except it isn't hard and it doesn't stick to your teeth like peanut brittle.
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