Erythritol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) which is very popular for use in baking and as a general sweetener in low carb diets.
Low in calories: Erythritol has a very low caloric content; its value is 0.2 calories per gram for food labeling purposes in the United States and 0 (zero) calories per gram for food labeling purposes in Japan. This very low calorie value is due to erythritol’s unique absorption and elimination process which does not require the metabolism of erythritol. Thus, erythritol is uniquely qualified as a very low calorie bulk sweetener for formulating “light” and “reduced calorie” products which require a 25% or more calorie reduction from the standard formulation.
High digestive tolerance: Erythritol is rapidly absorbed in the small intestine due to its small molecular size and structure. Several clinical studies conducted in Europe and Japan have shown that more than 90% of ingested erythritol is absorbed and excreted unchanged in urine within a 24-hour period. This digestive pathway allows less than 5% of ingested erythritol to reach the large intestine and be fermented into volatile fatty acids or metabolized into carbon dioxide. As a result, foods containing substantial amounts of erythritol are very unlikely to cause gaseous and laxation side effects. A recent clinical study concluded daily consumption of 1 gram per kilogram body weight is well tolerated by adults as compared to sucrose containing foods.
Safe for people with diabetes: Single dose and 14-day clinical studies demonstrate erythritol does not affect blood serum glucose or insulin levels. Clinical studies conducted in people with diabetes conclude that erythritol may be safely used to replace sucrose in foods formulated specifically for people with diabetes. Of course, those with diabetes should consider the impact on their diet of other ingredients used in foods sweetened with erythritol.
Does not cause tooth decay: Erythritol like other polyols is resistant to metabolism by oral bacteria which break down sugars and starches to produce acids which may lead to tooth enamel loss and cavities formation. They are, therefore, non-cariogenic. The usefulness of polyols, including erythritol, as alternatives to sugars and as part of a comprehensive program including proper dental hygiene has been recognized by the American Dental Association. The FDA has approved the use of a "does not promote tooth decay" health claim in labeling for sugar-free foods that contain erythritol or other polyols.