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The physicochemical properties and physiological functions of erythritol

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The physicochemical properties and physiological functions of erythritol

The physicochemical properties and physiological functions of erythritol


1.1The physical and chemical properties of erythritol


Erythritol is a natural four-carbon polyol with a chemical name of 1,2,3,4-butanetetraol, a molecular formula of C4H10O4, a relative molecular weight of 122.12, and a symmetrical molecular structure. Erythritol does not contain reducing aldehyde groups in its molecular structure, and its chemical properties are similar to other polyols. Erythritol has a pure sweetness. Its sweetness is similar to that of sucrose. Its relative sweetness is 70%~80% of that of sucrose. The important thing is that it can be combined with some high-strength sweeteners, such as potassium acetoiodate and aspartame. It can be used in combination with methyl carboxylate to replace sucrose used in food. Its appearance is white crystal or powder, easily soluble in water, and its aqueous solution is a colorless, transparent and non-viscous liquid, almost non-hygroscopic, and will not absorb moisture even at 90% air humidity. The melting point of erythritol is 118 ℃~122 ℃, and it can absorb more heat when it is dissolved. The heat of dissolution in water can reach 3 times that of glucose. It can be used for the manufacture of refreshing foods. Erythritol has high stability to acid and high temperature. Studies have shown that the recovery rate of erythritol in finished foods can reach 100%, so it can be used in baked or acidic foods.


1.2 Physiological and functional characteristics

1.2.1  Low calorific value

The calorific value of erythritol is about 1/10 of that of sucrose. It is a non-metabolic low-calorie sugar alcohol. In the process of metabolism, its smaller molecular weight enables it to be absorbed without being decomposed in the small intestine, and then with urine. The fluid is excreted from the body and has no effect on the body's fat. Therefore, it can be used alone or with other sweeteners are compounded and used to replace sucrose to make low-calorie foods. In addition, since erythritol cannot be metabolized by the body's enzyme system, it does not cause changes in the body's blood sugar and insulin levels, and has no effect on sugar metabolism, so it can be used to develop foods suitable for obesity and diabetes patients.


1.2.2  Anti-caries

The occurrence of dental caries is mainly due to the fermentation of the carbohydrate matrix in the oral cavity under the action of bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans, to produce acid, which can destroy the enamel of the tooth through deionization and produce caries. On the other hand, erythritol is difficult to be used by bacteria that induce dental caries in the oral cavity, and cannot be digested by enzymes in the oral cavity to produce acid, which has no effect on teeth. According to reports by Yang Qingling and others, erythritol has a certain inhibitory effect on the fermentation of sugars by bacteria in the oral cavity.


1.2.3  Promote the proliferation of probiotics

Erythritol is not only difficult to use by bacteria in the oral cavity, but also for bacteria in the intestines. However, it has a significant proliferation effect on the intestinal probiotics-Bifidobacterium, thereby improving the body's immunity.


1.2.4  Antioxidant

Erythritol has antioxidant activity, can effectively scavenge free radicals in the body, and has a good inhibitory effect on the generation of free radicals, so it helps prevent blood vessel damage induced by hyperglycemia. According to reports in the literature, erythritol can react with free radicals to generate erythritol sugar and erythrose. The results of zoology experiments also show that erythritol has the effect of protecting endothelial cells.


1.2.5  High tolerance

According to reports in the literature, 80% of the erythritol ingested by the body is absorbed by the small intestine, and the amount that enters the large intestine is very small, of which 50% is excreted in the feces, and the amount retained in the large intestine is very small, which effectively avoids Absorbed substances cause side effects such as diarrhea and flatulence, so erythritol is the most tolerated sugar alcohol. A large number of animal and clinical experiments have also shown that erythritol is safe and non-toxic. A study by the Health Science Research Center of the University of Nebraska in the United States has shown that the safe intake of human erythritol is 1 g/(kg body weight).

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