EFSA Approves Erythritol Health Claims

August 23rd, 2012 No Comments »

The EFSA has been reviewing the health claims made on the packaging of consumer products. After disallowing many, most notably the claim that prebiotic products are beneficial to digestive health through increasing the numbers of gastrointestinal “healthy” bacteria (The EFSA Opinion can be found here), the health effects for erythritol have been approved.

Erythritol is a bulk sweetener, or polyol, which can be used as a direct sugar substitute. The EFSA has approved two health claims for the product.

Erythritol Prevents Tooth Decay

Frequent consumption of sugars contributes to tooth demineralisation. Consumption of foods containing erythritol instead of sugar may help maintain tooth mineralisation by decreasing tooth demineralisation.

In order to bear the claim, sugars should be replaced in foods (which reduce plaque pH below 5.7 due to bacterial fermentation) by erythritol so that consumption of such foods does not lower plaque pH below 5.7 during and up to 30 minutes after consumption, and does not lead to dental erosion.

Proposed wording includes:

  • food X is kind to teeth
  • food X is safe for teeth
  • X food helps keep teeth healthy when used between meals in place of [food] made with fermentable sugars
  • promotes remineralisation of teeth when used after meals
  • helps keep teeth healthy

Usage of a tooth-friendly logo is also permitted.

Erythritol Has a Low Glycaemic Response

Consumption of foods containing erythritol instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after meals compared to sugar-containing foods.

In order to bear the claim, sugars should be replaced in foods or drinks by erythritol so that foods contain reduced amounts of sugars (in accordance with the reduced sugar claim guidelines of EC/1924/2006).

Proposed wording includes:

  • erythritol induces a low glycemic response
  • erythritol induces a low blood sugar rise (+ explanation + simplified figure of blood glucose response curves)
  • erythritol helps to regulate blood sugar levels
  • erythritol helps to maintain blood sugar levels
  • erythritol has a lower impact on blood sugar levels than traditional product
  • suitable for those following a low glycemic diet

Despite erythritol having the lowest laxative effect of the polyols, products containing greater than 10% of added erythritol must also carry the warning that excessive consumption may produce laxative effects.

If you would like to receive further information on erythritol, including specifications, samples or pricing, please e-mail us or fill in our contact form.

The full EFSA opinion, as published in the EFSA Jornal 2011, can be found here (online pdf version).

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