Difference Between Xylitol and Erythritol (With Table)

Xylitol and Erythritol are both chemical compounds. And they both are sugar alcohols (alcohol here refers to the chemical structure) used as an alternative to sugar, however, they are very much different from each other. They are mostly found in plants and fruits. Their chemical formulas differ and therefore their properties as well.

Xylitol vs Erythritol

The main difference between Xylitol and Erythritol is between the chemical formula of both the chemical compounds. The chemical compound for Xylitol is C5H12O5 and for Erythritol is C4H10O4. Also, Xylitol is 100% as sweet as sugar while Erythritol is just 70% as sweet as sugar.

Xylitol is mainly extracted from corncobs. And is mostly found in vegetables and fruits like strawberries, pumpkin, cauliflower, plums, etc. Xylitol has 40% fewer calories than that sugar but it is 100% as sweet as sugar. A person can easily reduce their carbohydrate intake without reducing their sweets intake. Xylitol is toxic for some animals like dogs.

Erythritol is mostly found in vegetables and fruits, fermented foods. It is used as a flavor enhancer in food and beverage products like soft drinks and dietary supplements etc. It is 70% as sweet as sugar. Erythritol is easily digested and has a low glycemic index.

Comparison Table Between Xylitol And Erythritol

Parameters of ComparisonXylitolErythritol
Chemical FormulaThe chemical formula for Xylitol is C5H12O5.The chemical formula for Erythritol is  C4H10O4.
SweetnessXylitol has 100% sweetness as sugar in taste and volume.Erythritol has 70% sweetness as sugar.
Low caloriesXylitol has 40% fewer calories than sugar.Erythritol has 95% fewer calories than sugar.
Glycemic IndexXylitol has a glycemic index of 7.The glycemic index of Erythritol is zero.
Natural occurrenceXylitol is naturally found in berries, strawberries, pumpkins, cauliflower, plums, etc.Erythritol is naturally found in grapes, cantaloupe, pears, melons, etc.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a chemical compound and a natural sweetener. The chemical formula for Xylotiol is C5H12O5. It is a chemical compound of polyalcohol structure. It is used as an alternative to sugar as it has low calories. It is also used as a food additive in many edible products.

Xylitol is extracted from hardwood trees, softwood trees, and some of the agricultural waste which is obtained by processing maize, wheat, or rice. Corncobs are considered a preferred source of Xylitol. Indeed, it is also found in many vegetables and fruits such as berries, strawberries, pumpkin, cauliflower, plums, etc. It is mostly used as sugar in products like drugs, toothpaste, chewing gum, dietary supplements, etc.

Xylitol if taken excessively can have side effects on your gastrointestinal system and can induce laxative effects. It doesn’t have any effects when having normal absorption and it doesn’t have any effect on blood sugar as well. Xylitol has as much sweetness as sugar or sucrose however it has 40% fewer calories. And it also prevents tooth decay and other dental cavities.

The glycemic index of Xylitol is 7. GI is a value that is used to measure how much a food item increases blood sugar levels. The less the GI the less it will affect the blood sugar level in a person.

What is Erythritol?

Erythritol is also a chemical compound used as a sugar substitute with low calories. The chemical formula for Erythritol is C4H10O4. The tradename for erythritol is Zerose.

Erythritol has 95% fewer calories than sugar. It has only 0.2 calories per gram. Erythritol is usually produced by fermenting another natural sugar like glucose. Erythritol is found in many fruits, and vegetables like grapes, cantaloupe, pears, melons, etc. And in some of the fermented foods as well. Erythritol has a better aftertaste and doesn’t lead to tooth decay.

Erythritol has no effect on blood sugar and blood insulin levels and therefore it can be used as a sugar substitute for patients with diabetes. However, the excessive use of erythritol can cause mild side effects on your gastrointestinal system.

Intake of Erythritol doesn’t develop tooth decays, plaques, or caries as it suppresses the growth of oral bacteria. And it also causes less acidity and flatulence. Erythritol has a very low glycemic index, almost zero. Erythritol is a carbohydrate but it didn’t metabolize into glucose and therefore doesn’t affect your body’s insulin levels.

Erythritol adds moisture and shiny effect in chocolates or other daily milk products and improves the shelf life of baked goods.

Main Differences Between Xylitol And Erythritol

  1. Xylitol contains 40% fewer calories than sugar while Erythritol contains 95% fewer calories than sugar. Xylitol has 2.4 calories per gram while Erythritol has 0.2 or 0 calories per gram.
  2. Xylitol has a higher GI than Erythritol.
  3. Xylitol doesn’t have an after taste while Erythritol has a better aftertaste.
  4. Xylitol is 100% as sweet as sugar while on the other hand, Erythritol is 70% sweet.
  5. Xylitol can have side effects like gas, bloating, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and digestive stress. While Erythritol causes fewer gastrointestinal side effects.
  6. Xylitol is said to be poisonous for dogs and animals while Erythritol is not.

Conclusion

Xylitol and Erythritol are both used as sugar substitutes as they both have fewer calories than sugar. Xylitol has 40% fewer calories than sugar while it tastes 100% as sweet as sugar. It is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. Although it is a good substitute for sugar, its excessive use can cause side effects.

Erythritol has 95% fewer calories than sugar however it is only 70% as sweet as sugar. Erythritol is found in many plants, fruits, and vegetables like grapes, cantaloupe, pears, melons, etc. Erythritol does not affect blood sugar. And it only has mild gastrointestinal side effects if used excessively. And erythritol is not toxic to animals and dogs as far as researchers are concerned.

Indeed, if you are mixing xylitol instead of sugar mix it the same amount as sugar while if you are using Erythritol than sugar mix 1/3rd cup more amount of erythritol as sugar.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2019.1623757
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-63153-x

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