Erythritol is a non-caloric sugar substitute that delivers almost as much sweetness gram-for-gram as sugar, but without the negative metabolic effects.
Erythritol belongs to the category of sugar alcohols, which are chemically similar to sugar but are not digested by your body. As a result, it provides essentially no caloric energy, which makes it great for people trying to get on a low carb or low sugar diet, but who still have a sweet tooth to satisfy.
Erythritol also tends to be kinder to your gastrointestinal tract than other sugar alcohols, which can cause bloating and gas when consumed in higher doses. That’s because erythritol is not metabolized very well by bacteria. Another benefit of its resistance to bacterial metabolism is a decreased tendency to cause cavities compared to regular sugar.
Looking for the top sources of erythritol? Our researchers have ranked and reviewed the ten best brands.
1. Swerve Sweetener
Swerve Sweetener is one of the most popular sugar substitutes due to its unique way of creating the perfect balanced, sugar-like taste.
Since erythritol naturally has a distinctive aftertaste, Swerve pairs this with oligosaccharides and natural flavors to smooth out the taste.
It works equally well for baking and for adding to hot drinks, and it dissolves with ease. This versatility makes Swerve our top pick.
2. Anthony’s Premium Erythritol Sweetener
Anthony’s Premium Erythritol Sweetener is an all-natural high-quality sugar substitute that comes in a large five-pound bulk bag.
That’s par for the course for Anthony’s, which specializes in making high-quality bulk sources of common nutrients and sweeteners. If you go through a lot of erythritol, Anthony’s is a great choice.
3. Pyure Organic Erythritol
Pyure Organic Erythritol distinguishes itself by being one of the few organically certified erythritol sugar substitutes on the market. If purity and quality of ingredients are important to you, Pyure Organic Erythritol should be your pick.
4. NOW Foods Erythritol
NOW Foods Erythritol is a great option for a simple, bulk source of erythritol. The two and a half pound bag will last plenty long enough for most people.
Given that erythritol is only 70% as sweet as sugar, you’ll have to keep in mind that you’ll be using substantially more erythritol in recipes for the same amount of sweetness that you’d get using sucrose.
5. BulkSupplements Erythritol Powder
While BulkSupplements usually makes a name for itself with gigantic bulk packages of supplements and nutrients, it’s actually the best source of erythritol for people who only need a small amount.
The 100 gram pouch is perfect for people who entertain guests who are on a low carb diet, or if the only sugar you use is a teaspoon or two in your coffee in the morning.
6. Halefresh Erythritol
Halefresh Erythritol makes an erythritol sugar substitute that comes in a resealable three pound bag and has no additional ingredients. It’s a great choice for regular users and for people using erythritol for baking. It’s got exactly the same consistency and granule size as regular table sugar, so it’s a great substitute.
7. So Nourished Erythritol
So Nourished Erythritol is another source of 100% pure and all-natural erythritol. It’s quite popular thanks to its similar granular size as sugar for baking, which makes it a good choice for substitution in your favorite recipes.
Resealing the bag is not quite as easy, so you might want to pair this with a plastic container to keep the erythritol fresh.
8. Hoosier Hills Farm Erythritol
Hoosier Hills Farm Erythritol comes from an American-made facility and is packaged in a two and a half pound bag. It’s 100% pure erythritol; the only downside is that the bag can be tricky to reseal when it’s fairly full. Despite this minor drawback, it’s still a very good bulk source for a sugar substitute.
9. So Nourished Erythritol Monk Fruit Blend
If the distinct taste of erythritol is off-putting for you, So Nourished has a solution. By using erythritol along with monk fruit extract, which is another natural non-caloric sweetener, So Nourished achieves a smoother and more well-balanced taste. The package isn’t so big, though, so it may not be the best option for bulk users.
10. Keto and Co Truly Zero Erythritol
Keto and Co Truly Zero Erythritol comes in a one-pound package and is fairly well-suited for mixing into hot tea and coffee for sweetening.
The smaller package size, combined with the lower sweetness level of erythritol, makes it less well-suited for baking and cooking.
Erythritol benefits and side effects
Erythritol is a plant-derived sugar substitute that’s virtually zero-calorie. It can be used for baking, it tastes similar to sugar, and unlike so many other sugar substitutes, doesn’t promote intestinal problems.
Used in Japan for about 25 years now, erythritol is used to sweeten beverages, desserts, yogurt, and home-baked goods. It’s available in powdered or granulated form, just like sucrose (table sugar).
However,it does not have the same negative health effects that sugar has, like disrupting your glucose metabolism and increasing risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome or type two diabetes.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, but because if the way it’s digested it doesn’t carry the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects that accompany other sugar alcohol sugar substitutes.
Erythritol does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels. Diabetics have been onto erythritol for years. That’s because it does not affect blood sugar or insulin (1). The reason is that like other sugar alcohols, erythritol doesn’t get fully digested by the body, if it gets digested at all.
Erythritol is absorbed very quickly by the small intestine and then excreted in the urine.
That leaves only about 10% of what you consume to enter the colon (2). In lab studies, erythritol isn’t even prone to becoming broken down by bacteria when left exposed for 24 hours. That means it’s going to pass right on through when consumed.
Erythritol does not cause cavities. Because erythritol cannot be metabolized by the bacteria in your mouth, it is far less likely to lead to cavities compared to regular sugar.
Researchers have found that erythritol is noncariogenicitic. In other words, it doesn’t react with the bacteria found in the human mouth (as you’ll read in just a bit, what’s true for the mouth is also true for the gut).
Therefore, it won’t cause lactic acid to be produced, and it won’t contribute to the formation of plaque (3). Plaque, of course, leads to the breakdown of the enamel lining of your teeth, and eventually to the development of cavities.
Among sugar alcohols, erythritol is the least likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects. Since only a tiny percentage of it even reaches the colon there’s very little chance any gastrointestinal distress is going to occur.
Usually, the reason why sugar alcohols can cause gastrointestinal side effects is that your body cannot digest and absorb a sugar alcohol, but the bacteria in your gut can. As a result, they metabolize the sugar alcohol and produce gas, bloating, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Erythritol, on the other hand, is not metabolized by most bacteria. Therefore, there’s no gas produced and no (or at least less) chance of gastrointestinal problems
. People with irritable bowel syndrome have found that erythritol tends not to provoke symptoms to the same degree that other sugar alcohols do, so if you have gastointestinal issues with other sugar substitutes, using erythritol instead may be worth a shot.
Erythritol is similar in use to artificial sweeteners. Unless you’re diabetic, the difference between erythritol and artificial sweeteners like Equal comes down to personal preferences and how your body responds to each option.
Keep in mind that “sugar free” doesn’t always mean “calorie free” or “carb free”. Erythritol does contain a few calories per gram whereas the artificial options are completely absent of calories. A serving size of 1 teaspoon contains 4 grams of carbs but no sugars (4).
The glycemic index of erythritol is much lower than an equivalent amount of table sugar, even after controlling for caloric content. One of the reasons why table sugar is so harmful comes down to its glycemic index: the rate at which it causes a spike in blood sugar.
Erythritol, calorie for calorie, does not cause the same rapid spike in blood sugar. This combines with its vastly lower caloric content when matched with sugar for sweetness and the result is a sweetener that is much easier on your metabolic system and much better for your metabolic health.
Sugar alcohols like erythritol have a bad rap, mainly because some of them cause bloating and diarrhea. Sugar alcohols are polyols, which are known to cause issues in the GI tract. For some, consuming sugar alcohols produces IBS-like symptoms…bloating, gas, intestinal pain and diarrhea.
Sorbitol, xylitol and malitol are the real culprits here, in terms of food ingredients to watch out for. They’re used mainly in sugar-free gum and sugar-free desserts. Gum isn’t a problem since most of us don’t chew enough gum for the total sugar alcohol content to add up to very much.
As mentioned above, erythritol is generally not as bad as other sugar alcohols when it comes to gastrointestinal side effects, but it’s still something to be aware of.
Erythritol does have a distinctive “cool” aftertaste that gives it a slightly different flavor profile than pure sugar. Some top brands of erythritol combine ingredients like stevia, monk fruit extract, or fructooligosaccharides to smooth out the sweetness and flavor profile.
That being said, not everybody minds or can even taste the aftertaste of pure erythritol, so you’ll have to see whether the specific taste bothers you or not. If it does, try a combination sweetener.
Erythritol might make a food purist shudder, but let’s be real: we like our sweets. The over-consumption of sugar is now an endemic, global, and growing problem causing a myriad of serious health problems.
Erythritol is a great way to swap out sugar with something that’s equivalently sweet but does not have the negative health effects. Erythritol does not cause the massive spike in blood glucose that you get with table sugar, and its caloric content is substantially lower for a given amount of sweetness.
Moreover, erythritol has a much better side effect profile than other sugar alcohols. It is not digested very well by bacteria, which gives it the twin benefits of not causing tooth decay and cavities, and not causing gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and gas.
While eliminating sweeteners from your diet is a noble long-term goal, erythritol is an excellent way to sustain some of the sweetness in the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, without sustaining the negative health effects associated with high sugar consumption.
Try getting a top-ranked erythritol sugar substitute and swapping it out in your next baking recipe or substituting it for sugar in coffee or tea—you’ll be better off in the long term, and just as happy with the taste.