Another Holiday tradition has become the post-season diet. After gorging ourselves on delectable treats and rich foods for weeks on end – after all, we did not want to discourage the efforts of all those bakers and chefs in our lives - we resolve with the New Year to lose those extra pounds that have suddenly and mysteriously appeared around our mid-sections.
Substituting sugar free foods to reduce caloric intake is one option some utilize in this annual endeavor, and there have been several innovations in this field in the past year. One very promising improvement to sugar free foods is the ingredient erythritol, a sugar alcohol that you may have noticed showing up on the ingredient statements of your favorite items. Sugar alcohols appear naturally in some foods, such as cheese, wine, beer, and soy sauce.
Erythritol is a naturally derived sugar substitute made from plant sugars, that looks and tastes similar to sugar. It is about 70% as sweet as sugar, yet it only contains 0.2 calories per gram which is 95% less than sugar. There are other sugar alcohols on the market that have been used as ingredients in sugar free and no sugar added foods, such as sorbitol, maltitol, and xylitol. Like these other sugar alcohols, erythritol has little or no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels for a zero glycemic index. But unlike other sugar alcohols, erythritol doesn’t cause digestive distress when used in reasonable amounts (less than 80 grams per day generally).
At Eagle Beverage, we have already successfully formulated coffee syrups, chocolate sauces, and powdered drink mixes using erythritol. Erythritol provides body and thickness to sugar free and no sugar added syrups and has a cooling effect on the palate in the finished product.
Watch for more ingredient innovations in the food industry as we all try to cut down on our caloric intake – and good luck with the post-Holiday diets and other New Year’s resolutions!