The Low-Down on Sugar Alcohols and Ketosis

Sugar alcohols have really broken through in the healthy industry as a good sweetener alternative to sugar.

In fact, erythritol is one of the top recommended sweeteners for the keto diet, and for good reason.

We don't fully approve of using natural or artificial sweeteners in your food every day when on keto, but we understand it's necessary at times.  If you plan to make a yummy keto dessert, erythritol is one good option to use.

However, there are small side effects of gastrointestinal discomfort if eaten in large doses.  If those are a concern, natural sweeteners are also an option for keto.

Read on for the full impact of xylitol and erythritol on ketosis.

Sugar Alcohols

Xylitol

Xylitol is a naturally derived sugar alcohol.  It is sometimes artificially made.  Xylitol is found in a lot of sugar-free gums.  It does contain 2.4 calories per gram, so it is not calorie free.  There have been no proven long term effects of xylitol.

Xylitol has been found to be the same sweetness level of sucrose.[i]

Does xylitol effect ketosis?

Slight increases in blood glucose or insulin levels.[ii]  Be aware that xylitol does contain calories and does have a limited recommendation on use.

Xylitol Risk Factors

All sugar alcohols can have digestive effects like bloating, gas and diarrhea.  They are recommended in small quantities.

Xylitol may have dental benefits.

 

Erythritol

Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, but for a lot of commercial purposes it is artificially made.  It is found in a lot of low-carb foods.  It does not contain calories.  There have been no proven long term effects of erythritol.

Erythritol has been found to be about 2/3 less sweet than sucrose.[iii]

Does erythritol effect ketosis?

Does not increase blood glucose or insulin levels so it is safe for ketosis.[iv]

Erythritol Risk Factors

All sugar alcohols can have digestive effects like bloating, gas and diarrhea.

The FDA does not have a recommended maximum daily intake of sugar alcohols.  However, one study found that people tolerated it well at 1g/kg body weight, but some people are more sensitive than others and should try it in small quantities first.[v]

Some research has shown that erythritol acts as an antioxidant.[vi]  Erythritol may have dental benefits.

Conclusions

Erythritol is definitely recommended over xylitol when it comes to affects on ketosis.

Both are concerning on the gastrointestinal affects.  We've seen them first hand.  🙁  But the taste is much better than natural sweeteners like stevia that have a bitter after taste.

We recommend using erythritol in combination with natural sweeteners like stevia and chicory root fiber.

 


 

Sources

[i] Food Insight "Sugar Alcohols Fact Sheet"

[ii] Wölnerhanssen BK, Cajacob L, Keller N, Doody A, Rehfeld JF, Drewe J, Peterli R, Beglinger C, Meyer-Gerspach AC."Gut hormone secretion, gastric emptying, and glycemic responses to erythritol and xylitol in lean and obese subjects"

[iii] Food Insight.  "Sugar Alcohols Fact Sheet"

[iv] "Gut hormone secretion, gastric emptying, and glycemic responses to erythritol and xylitol in lean and obese subjects"

[v] Tetzloff W1, Dauchy F, Medimagh S, Carr D, Bär A. "Tolerance to subchronic, high-dose ingestion of erythritol in human volunteers."

[vi] den Hartog GJ, Boots AW, Adam-Perrot A, Brouns F, Verkooijen IW, Weseler AR, Haenen GR, Bast A.  "Erythritol is a sweet antioxidant."

 

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