Maltitol vs Erythritol: Choosing the Best Sugar Substitute

Maltitol vs Erythritol: Choosing the Best Sugar Substitute

Erythritol and Maltitol are two sugar substitutes that have gained popularity over the past few years since they can greatly relieve those wanting to indulge in sweet treats without defying their calorie chart. Both of them are sugar alcohols that taste sweet without adding extra calories to your diet. Erythritol is 60–70 % as sweet as table sugar, whereas the latter is about 75–90 % sweet. However, it's important to recognize that these two are not created equal when it comes to their impact on your health.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols, or polyols, are low-calorie carbohydrates derived from sugars but with a different chemical structure. Maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol are artificial sweeteners while erythritol can be artificial or natural (ours is completely natural and extracted from the fermentation process of corn). They provide a sweet taste and are used as sugar substitutes in various food products, making them popular for diabetics and those on low-carb diets. Sugar alcohols are only partially absorbed and metabolized by the body, leading to a reduced impact on blood sugar levels compared to regular sugars. However, some of them can cause some side effects when eating there’s excessive consumption. Some of these side effects may be bloating, gas, and diarrhea, as they can ferment in the large intestine. 

What is Erythritol?

As we’ve mentioned, Erythritol is a sugar alcohol and a type of low-calorie sweetener. It is naturally found in some fruits and fermented foods but is also produced by fermenting glucose with yeast. It also, it is commonly used in various food products, including sugar-free desserts, beverages, chewing gum, and as a sugar substitute in baking recipes. Key features of erythritol include:

      • Sweetness. Erythritol is about 60-80% as sweet as table sugar. While it does not have the same caloric impact as sugar, it provides a similar level of sweetness.
      • Digestive tolerance. Compared to other sugar alcohols, such as Maltitol, erythritol is generally well-tolerated, causing fewer digestive issues when consumed in reasonable amounts. Tooth-friendly. Erythritol is non-cariogenic, meaning it does not promote tooth decay, unlike regular sugars.
      • Low-calorie. Erythritol has almost no calories; the human body cannot fully digest it, so it passes through the system largely unchanged.
      • Low glycemic impact. Also, this sweetener does not significantly raise blood sugar levels, making it suitable for people with diabetes or those aiming to manage their blood glucose levels.

      Is Erythritol organic?

      Yes, Erythritol can be considered organic. As it is produced through the fermentation of glucose by yeast, the organic status of Erythritol depends on its production process. If the Erythritol is derived from organic sources (such as organic fruits) and processed following organic standards without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, it can be labeled as organic. However, it's essential to check the product label or contact the manufacturer to confirm its organic certification. As you guessed, ours is organic-certified!

      What is Maltitol?

      Maltitol is another sugar alcohol and a type of low-calorie sweetener commonly used as a sugar substitute in several food products. It is derived from maltose, which is a sugar obtained from starch. Maltitol has a sweet taste, similar to table sugar but with fewer calories, making it a popular choice for individuals looking to reduce their sugar intake. Maltitol can be found in sugar-free candies, chocolates, baked goods, and other products marketed to individuals with diabetes or those following low-carb diets. It is essential to use maltitol in moderation to avoid potential digestive issues. Key characteristics of maltitol include:

          • Sweetness. Maltitol is about 90% as sweet as sucrose, providing a similar level of sweetness to regular sugar.
          • Low-calorie. Like other sugar alcohols, maltitol is lower in calories compared to regular sugar. 
          • Sugar-like properties. Maltitol can be used in baking and cooking as it shares similar properties with sugar in terms of texture and volume.
          • Potential digestive effects. While maltitol is generally well-tolerated by most people, excessive consumption can lead to gastrointestinal discomforts, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea

        Why choose Erythritol over maltitol?

        When it comes to choosing between Erythritol or Maltitol, we have no doubt that we prefer the first, and natural one over the artificial one. The choice depends on various factors including taste preference, caloric impact, digestive tolerance, and intended use in recipes or food products. However, maltitol has some risks and side effects that erythritol hasn’t, and this is our selling point. Even though maltitol is categorized as “generally recognized as safe”, there’s a warning about its laxative effects when ingested by adults at levels above 100 grams per day. Also, consuming excessive amounts of it can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, flatulence, bloating, or cramping.

        Here are some of the reasons why we choose erythritol over maltitol:

            • Caloric content. Erythritol is almost calorie-free, providing almost no calories when consumed, while maltitol has a higher caloric content (about 2.1 calories per gram). 
            • Glycemic impact. Erythritol has a negligible effect on blood sugar levels, making it suitable for people with diabetes or those following a low-carb diet. However, maltitol has a moderate glycemic impact, and although it is lower than regular sugar, it can still cause a rise in blood sugar which is not ideal.
            • Digestive tolerance. As we’ve mentioned, maltitol can upset your stomach and affect your gut health. Erythritol instead is generally well-tolerated by most people and is less likely to cause gastrointestinal issues. 
            • Taste. Erythritol has a taste profile more similar to sugar (but without the nasty effects of it) compared to maltitol, which some people may find slightly different or less appealing.

          Since Erythritol has more benefits to offer, we believe it is a way better option than maltitol. This is why it is one of the main ingredients in our Funky Fat Chocolate bars because its molecule has a 0 GI (glycaemic index) and is small and convenient. It is easily digested, helps hydrate your colon, and protects the intestinal tissue. Last, but not least, it has antioxidant properties fighting oxidative stress and preventing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. We always recommend when buying erythritol (or any product for what matters) to check the ingredient label and make sure of the ingredients that it contains. Also, whenever possible try to buy an organic one, for better quality.

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