Is erythritol safe?

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Erythritol is a sugar alcohol and one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners with good reason. It has a low calorie content and minimal effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels for most people. However, the potential effects of erythritol on the risk of cardiovascular events remain a topic of debate. A recent study on erythritol found that it could increase the risk, with researchers discovering that individuals with increased blood erythritol levels tended to have a higher risk of cardiovascular events, although the intervention study did however only involve eight healthy people. But should we be a little more cautious when using erythritol?

Cardiovascular diseases are a significant global health concern, with risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome contributing to their development. The use of low-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar can be very beneficial, especially for individuals with diabetes and those seeking to reduce caloric intake. And while we know that high doses of erythritol can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, are there any potentially more dangerous impacts on cardiovascular health that we need to look at?

Erythritol, a sugar alcohol also known as a polyol, is derived from fruits and fermented foods. It is approximately 70% as sweet as table sugar (sucrose), with a low caloric value of 0.24 kcal/g. Erythritol is primarily absorbed in the small intestine and excreted unchanged in the urine and is unique among sugar alcohols because it is not metabolized by the body and therefore does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels. This makes it an attractive sweetener for individuals with diabetes or those looking to reduce their sugar intake. Erythritol occurs naturally in a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, and fermented products. Some examples of erythritol-containing foods are grapes, pears, watermelon, and mushrooms. It can also be found in fermented foods like cheese, wine, and soy sauce. In these cases, it is a byproduct of the fermentation process carried out by certain types of yeast and bacteria.

Although erythritol is present in these foods, the concentrations are relatively low. Therefore, to produce erythritol in larger quantities for commercial use, manufacturers rely on industrial processes. The most common method involves fermenting glucose from corn or wheat starch using a specific yeast called Moniliella pollinis. Once the fermentation is complete, the resulting solution is purified and crystallized to create the final erythritol product. This process allows manufacturers to produce erythritol that is virtually identical to the naturally occurring form found in foods — but they are producing it artificially.

Personally, I always prefer natural sweeteners like honey, coconut sugar, and dried fruits. However, if a sweetener helps you lower your calorie intake and avoid consuming high-sugar, high-calorie baked goods or drinks, then I do think you need to consider the trade-offs. For example, if you are overweight or have diabetes, it might be better to use such sweeteners as a tool to lower your daily calorie consumption. However, you still need to be conscious of how much you consume each day and I think more studies are needed to confirm whether erythritol really can increase the risk of cardiovascular events.

Of course, like with so many things, everyone has a different bodily structure so make sure to be aware of how you feel after consumption. Your body will often tell you if something that you consume is not good for it. Remember too to always check the ingredients list, as many products that contain erythritol do not only contain erythritol, there may be other ingredients that you need to keep an eye on.

References:

National Library of Medicine. “Erythritol: An In-Depth Discussion of Its Potential to Be a Beneficial Dietary Component”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9824470/

Food Insight. “What is Erythritol?”. https://foodinsight.org/what-is-erythritol/

Nature. “Non-nutritional sweeteners and cardiovascular risk”. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-023-02245-3

Nature. “Artificial sweetener linked to higher CVD risk”. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41569-023-00855-5

Nature. “The artificial sweetener erythritol and cardiovascular event risk”. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-023-02223-9

PubMed. “Health potential of polyols as sugar replacers, with emphasis on low glycaemic properties”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19087388/

PubMed. “Gut hormone secretion, gastric emptying, and glycemic responses to erythritol and xylitol in lean and obese subjects”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27117004/

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 

AYDA HAS COMPETED IN

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