Because of its very high digestive tolerance, erythritol – unlike other sugar alcohols – does not cause flatulence, stomachaches, or diarrhea. The small intestine absorbs around 90% of the erythritol consumed, which is then excreted through the kidneys unchanged, explaining why there is almost no occurrence of these unpleasant side-effects.
However, erythritol is a sugar alcohol, and EU labeling law requires all products containing sugar alcohols (10% or more by weight) to be labeled with the warning: “Excessive consumption can produce laxative effects.”
The sugar substitute has no effect on blood sugar levels and is easily digestible, even in larger quantities, making it the ideal sweetener for drinks and desserts. It doesn’t cause tooth decay, and thanks to its glycemic index of 0, it is also suitable for low-carb diets and diabetics. For people with fructose or lactose intolerance, erythritol is the way to go. Some people with such an intolerance have problems with xylitol because it can cause the same symptoms as fructose.
Graph: A low glycemic index (GI) leads to low blood sugar, and a high GI to high blood sugar levels. The greater the blood sugar spike, the more stress and strain there is on the pancreas.
Spikes in blood sugar, caused primarily by sugar, white flour, and alcohol, require a fast and heavy secretion of insulin. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, and high insulin production can be very taxing on the pancreas. This can foster the development of type-2 diabetes in people who are genetically predisposed to it (the primary causes of type-2 diabetes in people with genetic predisposition are obesity and lack of exercise).