Today there is much controversy about the safety of non-caloric sweeteners and their impact on our health. Therefore, this article focuses on talking about the sweeteners that we use in Sarai's based on scientific evidence that reviews the benefits and possible side effects of erythritol and Monk Fruit.
Let's start with erythritol:
Erythritol belongs to a class of compounds called sugar alcohols. Most sugar alcohols are found in small amounts in nature, especially in fruits and vegetables.
In general, erythritol appears to be very safe. Multiple animal studies have been conducted on its toxicity and effects on metabolism, and despite prolonged feeding with high amounts of erythritol, no serious side effects have been detected.
Erythritol is different from other sugar alcohols because most of it is absorbed into the bloodstream before reaching the colon, so it does not cause digestive upset. In fact, it circulates in the blood for a certain time until it is finally excreted unchanged in the urine. Approximately 90% of erythritol is excreted in this way.
Diet studies providing up to 1 gram of erythritol per kilo of body weight show that it is very well tolerated, and the percentages used in each bottle of Sarai's Spreads are vastly lower than this.
On the other hand, the consumption of erythritol does not increase blood sugar or insulin, since humans do not have the necessary enzymes to break down erythritol, so it is absorbed into the bloodstream and then excreted without changes in the blood urine.
When erythritol is given to healthy people, there are no changes in blood sugar or insulin levels. There is also no effect on cholesterol or triglycerides. For those who are overweight or have diabetes or other problems related to metabolic syndrome, erythritol seems to be an excellent alternative to sugar.
Lastly, erythritol acts as an antioxidant and may improve blood vessel function in people with type 2 diabetes. These benefits can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease, but more studies are needed to confirm this.
Now let's talk about Monk Fruit:
Monk Fruit is made from an extract derived from nuts. This extract is 150-250 times sweeter than refined sugar, contains no calories or carbohydrates, and does not raise blood glucose levels.
Most non-nutritive sweeteners can cause side effects like gas, bloating, or allergic reactions, but in the case of Monk Fruit, there are no known side effects, and the Food and Drug Administration has listed Monk Fruit as "generally recognized as safe (GRAS) " for everyone, including pregnant women and children.
Monk Fruit is safe for people with diabetes because it does not spike blood sugar, and it can be a great option for anyone watching their weight. A 2016 study published by the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics illustrated that the main component of Monk Fruit inhibited the differentiation of pre-adipocytes (pre-fat cells) into mature adipocytes (fat cells), significantly minimizing the body's capacity to increase its overall fat mass.
And according to a study of 2011, Monk Fruit has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to make hot beverages that soothe sore throats and reduce congestion. The mogrosides in the fruit are said to be anti-inflammatory and can help prevent cancer and keep blood sugar levels stable. Some animal studies also suggest that the mogrosides extracted from monk fruit may have powerful antioxidant properties and play a role in controlling blood sugar levels.
In general, erythritol appears to be an excellent sweetener. It contains almost no calories. It has 70% the sweetness of sugar. It does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels, and human studies show very few side effects. Most of the erythritol you eat is absorbed into your bloodstream and excreted in your urine. It seems to have an excellent safety profile. About 10% of ingested erythritol is not absorbed into the blood and travels to the colon. For this reason, a very high erythritol intake can lead to some digestive side effects.
Monk Fruit contains no calories or carbohydrates, does not raise blood glucose levels, there are no known side effects, and the Food and Drug Administration has listed it as "generally recognized as safe."
As you can see, the scientific evidence shows us the safety in the consumption of these sweeteners, and as always, a balanced, varied, moderate diet enjoyed from a space of love and freedom will help us to be healthy.
Monica is a nutritionist, author, and founder of Nutrición Energética. She participates as a nutrition expert on TV and radio and her professional studies include a BS in Nutrition, and a Ms in Nutrition from Columbia University in New York. You can contact her at IG and FB: @nutricion.energetica and on her website: www.monicahefferan.com
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FDA: Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for Use in Food in the United States
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