Sugar is one of the substances I have come to realize is causing problems in my digestion. One of the biggest practical problems I face is that sugar is added to a lot of industrially produced food - food where one would think there would be no sugar, for instance in bread.
Sugar is not the only substance in today's western diet causing problems in my digestion, there are several other substances, some natural and some chemically produced. And I am not the only one experiencing problems as a result of eating food presented to us in the grocery store. More and more people experience problems as a result of their diet.
Sugar, or sucrose, is a natural carbohydrate that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. Table sugar is obtained from sugar cane or sugar beets which contains large amounts of sugar. Today sugar is produced in over 120 countries in the world, and the total global production exceeds 120 million tons per year.
Artificial sweeteners are an alternative to sugar. Many of them have been discovered by accidents in chemical laboratories. This is how aspartame, the most used artificial sweetener today was discovered. In 1965, James Schlatter, a scientist at the Searls Laboratories, licked his fingers whilst working on anti-ulcer medications and noticed a very sweet taste.
Artificial sweeteners are much cheaper than sucrose and it does not have the same negative effect on the teethes nor does it cause weight gain as sugar does. So these food additives have been more and more used as a substitute for sugar. We find them in diet and sugar free products. The experts are divided in their opinion on weather it is harmful or not. Today six of these substances are approved by the FDA.
When I first heard of erythritol - or sukrin, as it is sold as here in Norway - I automatically thought this was another artificial sweetener. And I try to avoid them when I can, because they are artificial and not natural, and in my experience they do have a negative effect on my system. When I read a bit more about erythritol and learned what it was I decided to introduce it into my diet. Today I use it in small quantities where one would normally use sugar, and so far I have had no bad experiences with it.
Erythritol is one of the natural sugar alcohols. It occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods. When industrially produced it is created from glucose by fermentation with a yeast named Moniliella pollinis.
Sugar alcohols are not as sweet as table sugar (sucrose) and contain fewer calories than sucrose. In addition they do not metabolize by oral bacteria, hence cause no tooth decay. There are several sugar alcohols and some of them are used as sweeteners, like xylitol and sorbitol, in sugar free foods.
Unlike the other sugar alcohols erythritol does not have laxative effects because it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the small intestine. In addition it does not affect blood sugar levels as table sugar does because it is excreted so to speak unchanged in the urine.
Erythritol is not quite as sweet as table sugar but it has very similar texture and feel to it. In the USA it was classified as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA in 1997.
But is it healthy? I don't know.
Anita Karlson is blogging about how to live a more healthy, natural and balanced life. Find new articles and inspiring tips at http://www.anitakarlson.com
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