sugar x sweetener

Sugar or Sweetener?

Author: Gabriela Rosa (Nutritionist)

After all, where is the sugar hiding?

They are largely found in ultra-processed foods, characterised by products with a long list of ingredients (many times we don't even identify what they contain). Within the list of ingredients, they can be hidden by indicating other substances, such as: maltodextrin, sucrose, dextrose, glucose syrup, invert sugar, corn syrup, guarana syrup, maltose, malt extract, among others. Some examples of food products high in sugar are: juice cartons, soft drinks, yogurt, cookies and sweet desserts, pastries, breakfast cereals, ready-to-eat meals, sauces, ice cream and canned fruit.

How to replace it with sweetener? Is it healthier?

In the market, there are many types of sweeteners, artificial (made in a laboratory) such as aspartame, sodium saccharin, sodium cyclamate, or natural (from leaves, roots), such as stevia, xylitol. Among the healthier options, we can highlight: sucralose, maltitol, and erythritol.

In a survey conducted in 2019, it was detected through a food survey, that 43% of people who used sweeteners were overweight, and that among the sweeteners available on the market, 40% of users sought a product made with natural substances when choosing their sweetener. In the case of erythritol, it had a positive acceptance test, both in terms of taste and purchase intention.

Nutrition Facts on Sweety

Most commercialized table-top powder sweeteners have vehicles with characteristics disliked by consumers, substances that can cause intolerance such as lactose, or caloric substances such as maltodextrin (4 kcal/g). In view of this problem, the objective of the research was to develop a natural sweetener, without contraindications.

Erythritol is a polyol widely found in nature, an example of its presence are some fruits, such as melon, grapes, and pears; besides being present in fermented foods such as soy sauce, wines, beers, and miso. Unlike other polyols that are produced by hydrogenation of sugars, erythritol is obtained by fermentation processes of glucose and sucrose. This substance has a sweetness content of 70% compared to sucrose and has a strong cooling effect (a positive effect detected in some studies), does not influence blood glucose and insulin levels, and is safe for diabetics.

Extra benefits

In a research conducted with patients undergoing periodontal maintenance, with application of erythritol jet, it was found to have less bone tissue damage, i.e., it has non-cariogenic property, preventing the formation of caries. In addition, it also has high digestive tolerance and antioxidant properties that protect the intestinal endothelium, one of the layers of muscle tissue. It is also valued for its stability at high temperatures and a wide pH range, allowing its use in different culinary recipes, being more indicated for the production of breads, cakes and cookies, as a substitute for sucrose (sugar).


Target Audience: obese, diabetics, athletes, individuals with controlled sugar intake.


Photo: @tabitha-turner


Rodrigues, M.J.C. Jateamento com eritritol na terapia de manutenção periodontal. Departamento de Medicina Dentária da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Coimbra. 2019.


Vargues, A.L.; Fernandes, P.; Brazão, R.; Dias, M.G. Monitorização do teor de açúcar em alimentos disponíveis no mercado português: contributo para promover uma alimentação saudável. Unidade de Observação e Vigilância. Departamento de Alimentação e Nutrição, Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge, Lisboa, Portugal.


TASSO, Ivisson de Souza. Avaliação Sensorial de um Adoçante de Mesa com a Utilização do Eritritol como Veículo. Dissertação (Mestrado Profissionalizante em Tecnologia de Alimentos) - Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná. Londrina, 2019.

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