Which No-Calorie Sweetener(s) are Actually Safe?

Up until recently, we went along with research from Japan in the 1990’s showing that steviosides, the active ingredient in Stevia, was harmless.  Unfortunately, recent studies conducted on laboratory rats showed that in their gut, intestinal bacteria transformed steviosides into something called steviol, which is toxic.  The absorption of steviol through the lining of the colon caused a big spike in mutagenic DNA damage.

The next  step was to discover if humans have those same bacteria in their guts, and the answer was… we do!  Bummer!  The only thing those of us who have been consuming Stevia can be consoled with, is that it is not likely we consumed the threshold amount indicated by the study (1.8mg of Stevia per pound of body weight).  But it is time to STOP.  It is not worth the risk of DNA damage .

So…

IS THERE A LOW-CALORIE SWEETENER THAT IS SAFE?

THANKFULLY THERE IS!

“The natural sweetener erythritol does not appear to carry the adverse effects associated with other low and non-caloric natural and artificial sweeteners and may actually have antioxidant potential.”  Michael Gregor, MD

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published the following conclusions from a recent laboratory study conducted  by researchers in the Netherlands, April 2010 entitled:

Erythritol is a sweet antioxidanthttp://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4642405456545754&pid=15.1

Basically, they reported that “erythritol acts a strong antioxidant with favorable effects on blood vessels.  

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that naturally occurs in small amounts in such foods as melons and peaches.   Available since 1994 as a food sweetener, it is without calories and does not raise blood sugar levels or promote tooth decay.

Unlike other sugar alcohols which are used as sweeteners, it is well absorbed from the digestive tract and does not have a laxative side-effect (like Xylitol).  It is passed into the urine and eliminated from the body. The purpose of the study was to investigate the antioxidant properties of erythritol.

The antioxidant activity of erythritol was evaluated in biochemical tests and in tests performed in laboratory rats.  The biochemical tests showed a dose dependent ability of erythritol to scavenge the hydroxyl radical. Erythritol showed no activity against superoxide free radicals.

Erythritol was then tested in the living system of the rat.  Not only was a strong antioxidant effect demonstrated, but also favorable effects to blood vessels were observed.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So it looks like I am going to have to start the lengthy process of editing my dessert recipes to remove Stevia and replace it with Erythritol!

BAKING with Erythritol

According to the Calorie Control Council, erythritol is “approximately 70 percent as sweet” as sugar. Use a quarter more than the sugar specified in a recipe, to taste.Red current pie

Erythritol does well in cooked fruit desserts such as pies, and it works in cookies, brownies and cakes as well.  According to NOW Foods, “erythritol will brown like sugar,” giving baked goods their characteristic darker appearance.  Note that it has a lower burn point than sugar.

Tip from Livestrong.com :
“Use a food processor to break down the erythritol if the crystals are too big. During the manufacturing process of this compound, the sugar alcohols crystallize in larger pieces in comparison with granulated sugar. If you’re making a sauce, cream, pudding or meringue, for example, you’ll want the crystals to be small so they don’t interfere with the texture.”

~ To Your Good Health! 
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15 thoughts on “Which No-Calorie Sweetener(s) are Actually Safe?

  1. Personally I don’t trust any of these no-cal sweeteners; I just don’t like taking a chance with them. We bake using pureed dates (which we make ourselves) as sweeteners. It’s not the same, but it’s really good and our sweet tooth isn’t as sweet anymore!

    1. I hear you. Apparently Date Sugar is the healthiest form of all ‘sugars’, beating maple, honey and even Molasses. My problem is that I can’t have any sugar that raises blood glucose 😦 so am stuck with either 4g or less of date sugar, or erythritol.

      1. That does make it hard to find a sweetener. We also sometimes use pear juice as a sweetener, but that would probably have the same problem for you. I envy a friend of my daughter’s, whose first experience in life with sugar (as a very young child) was so bad that he has no sweet tooth at all. Wish I could have my sweet tooth pulled! 😉

  2. This is great news. I have been using stevia, however just started using monk fruit powder, hoping it was just as safe as it is natural. I will also get some Erythritol! Georgia C.

    1. Georgia, Yeah bad news about Stevia.. I looked into Monk Fruit, and it seems that the research is still going on, but so far nothing alarming. Use in moderation until studies are published. Be Well.

  3. Thanks for sharing,but every time there is a new study that condemn the study before,and I think propel are becoming so confused ,as for me I use no sweeteners at all .as for cakes iam using the ordinary brown sugar,it seems that every think in the end will lead to a disaster…

  4. I like the looks & ingredients in this recipe! AND I have them all here. I am making these this evening! I am going to look for erythritol today, too. I have used zyletol & like it. I cannot use zylitol in tea or lemonade, because it causes me to have the “thinnies” but only if used in drinks! I still use less of it. I too have to restrick sugar use, or anything that spikes sugars! How did I miss this recipe last ti e I read this article:-) keep it up, Georgia c.

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