What puts the sweet in Swerve?
The secret to Swerve’s zero-calorie sweetness is a combination of erythritol and oligosaccharides.
If you’ve ever visited a brewery, you’ve gotten a peek into how fermentation works. Erythritol is made by fermenting glucose with Moniliella pollinis, a natural microorganism. It also naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables like melons, grapes and asparagus. Erythritol is classified by the FDA as a zero-calorie, 4-carbon sugar alcohol that does not affect blood glucose.
Oligosaccharides are sweet, non-digestible carbohydrates sourced from select fruits and starchy root vegetables. Oligosaccharides are prebiotic fibers, so they’re not only tasty, but they can help stimulate beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Erythritol vs. Xylitol
Sugar alcohols (also called polyols) are common ingredients in sugar substitutes; the erythritol in Swerve is one such sugar alcohol. Another common sugar alcohol is xylitol, which is quite different from erythritol and is not an ingredient in Swerve. Here are a few ways the two differ.
Erythritol: 0 calories per gram
Xylitol: 2.4 calories per gram
Source: Alternative Sweeteners, Fourth Edition, Edited by Lyn O’Brien Nabors
Erythritol: Little-to-no digestive disruption
Xylitol: Twice as likely as Erythritol to cause digestive disruption
Unlike other polyols, erythritol combines the unique properties of being both zero-calorie and maintaining a high digestive tolerance. The unsavory details: Because erythritol is rapidly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly eliminated by the body within 24 hours, the laxative side effects sometimes associated with polyol consumption are unlikely when eating foods sweetened with erythritol.
Sources: Sweeteners: Nutritional Aspects, Applications, and Production Technology; Alternative Sweeteners, Fourth Edition; PubMed: Gastrointestinal tolerance of erythritol and xylitol ingested in liquid.
Erythritol: Safe for dogs
Xylitol: Toxic to dogs
Results from a 53-week study showed that erythritol is well-tolerated by dogs and is safe for them to consume. Xylitol, however, has been shown to be fatal to dogs, due to it causing severe hypoglycemia and related liver failure. Keep your pups safe!
Source: Common Toxicologic Issues in Small Animals, An Issue of Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice; Chronic (1-year) oral toxicity study of erythritol in dogs