In the pursuit of healthier lifestyles, many people these days are shifting away from traditional sweeteners and opting for alternatives like Dextrose and Erythritol.
Sugar substitutes have become popular due to their ability to imitate sugar’s taste while offering fewer calories and health concerns. However, when considering Dextrose vs Erythritol, it’s important to understand their differences, uses, benefits, and potential side effects.
In this article, we’ll delve into the details and comparisons between these two sweeteners. We do our best to give you all the information you need to make an informed choice on the healthiest option for you.
Dextrose, also known as glucose, is a simple sugar made from wheat or corn. It is naturally occurring and can be found in a variety of foods including fruits, honey, and corn syrup.
Since dextrose is a type of “simple” sugar, the body can quickly utilize it as a rapid source of energy. In the food industry, dextrose is often used as a sweetener or in baking to help the dough rise.
Besides its culinary uses, it also has medical applications. In a healthcare setting, dextrose is commonly used in intravenous fluids to provide immediate energy and hydration to patients. It’s a versatile ingredient with a wide range of uses but, like any substance, it’s important to moderate its consumption due to a few side effects.
Dextrose uses and benefits
Dextrose has a lot of uses in both the food industry and in medical care. In food production, dextrose is commonly used as a sweetener, giving foods like baked goods, candies, and processed foods a sweet taste without the need for traditional sugars.
Dextrose is a type of carbohydrate that is often used in solutions to provide calories. It can be given through an IV with amino acids and fats.
This method is called total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and is used to supply nutrition to people who are unable to absorb or obtain carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats through their digestive system.
Professionals use high-concentration dextrose injections for those with extremely low blood sugar levels who are unable to consume dextrose tablets, foods, or beverages orally.
Being a sweetener, dextrose also serves as a preservative in foods. By inhibiting the growth of bacteria, dextrose can help to extend the shelf life of various food products.
People who have diabetes or hypoglycemia, a condition with chronically low blood sugar, often carry dextrose gel or tablets to address sudden drops in blood sugar levels. These gel or tablets can be dissolved in the mouth, providing a rapid boost to blood sugar levels.
If someone experiences low blood sugar symptoms and their blood sugar level is below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), they should consider taking dextrose tablets. Some common examples of low blood sugar symptoms are shaking, sweating, nervousness or anxiety, and increased heart rate.
Dextrose side effects
Despite these benefits, it is important to note that excessive consumption of dextrose can cause a number of health problems, including:
- high blood sugar levels
- weight gain
- tooth decay and cavities
- increase in triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in your blood. Higher levels of triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease.
- In rare cases, some people experience an allergic reaction like hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Lastly, consuming dextrose can possibly lead to a condition named “metabolic syndrome,” which is a cluster of conditions including high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. This syndrome increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
What is Erythritol?
Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that’s becoming increasingly popular as a sugar substitute. Consuming a lot of it can lead to digestive problems, like feeling nauseous.
It’s naturally found in small amounts in certain fruits like grapes and pears, and also in mushrooms and fermentation-derived foods like wine, soy sauce, and cheese. However, the erythritol used in food products today is typically made from corn using a fermentation process.
For one, it contains virtually no calories. Although it’s a carbohydrate, its structure stimulates sweet taste receptors on your tongue without being fully absorbed in the digestive system. This means you get sweetness without the extra calories.
Plus, erythritol does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels which makes it a safe option for people with diabetes.
Erythritol uses and benefits
Erythritol is a popular sugar alternative with many benefits. It’s great for those watching calories or blood sugar levels.
Unlike other sugar substitutes, erythritol tastes very similar to sugar and doesn’t have an aftertaste. It dissolves easily and has a similar mouthfeel to sugar, making it a good fit for many recipes.
Research shows that erythritol could be a promising substitute for sugar in people who aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle or manage diabetes. It does not impact glucose or insulin levels and stimulates the release of gut hormones that regulate satiety, promoting weight loss.
In the food industry, erythritol is commonly added to sweeten low-calorie and sugar-free food and drinks. It’s also used in baking and cooking as it can withstand heat without losing its sweetness or breaking down.
Plus, erythritol does not cause tooth decay, making it a good choice for tooth-friendly sweets and chewing gums.
For people who have diabetes, erythritol can be a good sugar substitute. It doesn’t raise blood glucose or insulin levels because the body absorbs it well but doesn’t metabolize it.
Erythritol side effects
It’s totally natural no side effects, tastes almost exactly like sugar, and is beneficial as a sugar substitute.
However, overconsumption of erythritol may cause digestive upset, especially when consumed in large amounts. Some common digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. These symptoms are more likely when erythritol is consumed in a concentrated form, like in a sugar-free candy or beverage.
But this rarely happens. In general, it’s safe for most people. While some may have these side effects with lower intake, others may not have any, even with higher intake. Also, these side effects may decrease over time as your body adjusts to this sugar alcohol.
Is Dextrose the same as Erythritol?
No, Dextrose and Erythritol are not the same; they are distinct types of sweeteners, each with their own unique properties.
Dextrose is a simple sugar derived from corn and is chemically identical to glucose, the body’s primary source of energy. It’s often used in baking and in medical treatments for low blood sugar and dehydration.
In contrast, Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol which derived through a fermentation process. It has almost no calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels which makes it a popular sweetener for low-carb, low-sugar, and ketogenic diets. Moreover, unlike dextrose, erythritol does not contribute to tooth decay.
Dextrose vs Erythritol: Which is Best?
When comparing dextrose and erythritol, the choice depends on your diet and preferences.
If you’re seeking an energy boost, dextrose might be your ideal choice because it’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and provides an immediate source of energy. However, keep in mind that it can contribute to weight gain and tooth decay when consumed in excess.
On the other hand, erythritol is an excellent pick if you’re watching your calorie intake or managing diabetes. With almost no calories and no effect on blood sugar levels, erythritol offers the sweetness of sugar without the associated health risks. However, it can cause digestive upset when consumed in large quantities, but it is not a big concern.
In conclusion, both sweeteners have their pros and cons. The key is to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
In summary, both dextrose and erythritol provide valuable alternatives to traditional sugar, each with their own unique properties and health benefits. Dextrose, with its immediate energy boost, might be a good fit for those needing a quick pick-me-up, while erythritol, with its near-zero calories and minimal impact on blood sugar levels, could be an excellent choice for individuals mindful of their calories or blood sugar control.
However, remember that moderation is key, and these alternatives should be used as part of a balanced, varied diet. In the end, the choice between dextrose and erythritol will depend on your specific dietary needs and personal preferences.
Does dextrose increase weight?
Yes, dextrose can contribute to weight gain when consumed in excess. Dextrose is a form of glucose and contains about 4 calories per gram, similar to other carbohydrates. It gets absorbed into the bloodstream quickly and gives an instant energy boost. But, any unused energy is stored as fat, which may cause weight gain.
Does Erythritol affect weight loss?
Erythritol can positively contribute to weight loss efforts due to it being a low-calorie sugar substitute. Unlike regular sugar, which has about 4 calories per gram, erythritol contains nearly zero calories. And, some research also suggests that erythritol can enhance feelings of fullness and satiety, potentially reducing overall calorie consumption.
What are the dangers of Erythritol?
Erythritol is generally safe for consumption, but consuming large amounts may cause digestive problems in some people. So we always recommend to moderate your intake and consult with a doctor if you have any concerns. Overall, both dextrose and erythritol can be used as healthy alternatives to traditional sugar.
Is Erythritol safe for diabetics?
Erythritol is considered safe for people with diabetes. It does not spike blood sugar or insulin levels, which makes it a good alternative to sugar for those managing their blood glucose levels.
Is Dextrose bad for your teeth?
Yes, Dextrose, like regular sugars, can cause tooth decay if consumed frequently and without proper oral hygiene. Dextrose feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to plaque build-up and eventually cavities. Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent this.
Is Erythritol safe for kidneys?
Yes, erythritol is considered safe for people with kidney disease or those on a low-sodium diet. It does not contain any sodium and is not known to cause harm to the kidneys.