Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

There are many types of sweeteners available in the market. In fact, each month there seems to be a new type of sweetener popping up on the shelves of our supermarkets. So much so that it has become difficult to keep a track of. The newest addition to this market is a calorie-free sweetener called Swerve Sweetener. Let us understand more about Swerve Sweetener and whether you should be trying this sugar replacement in this article.

This is flaunted to be a completely calorie-free sugar replacement that is made from natural ingredients. This brand of sweetener has already made its way to many grocery stores across Canada and the United States and you can even order it online through several online retailers. So what exactly is the Swerve Sweetener and should you be trying this sugar replacement?

What is Swerve Sweetener?

The makers of Swerve Sweetener are advertising this product as being the 'ultimate sugar replacement'. The product, a natural sweetener, is said to have absolutely zero calories, zero net carbs, and it is also certified as being non-GMO (non-genetically modified organism) and non-glycemic, meaning that it does not increase the levels of blood sugar.

Swerve Sweetener is known to taste, bake, and even measure 'cup-for-cup' like your regular sugar and it is available in both granular and confectioners’ sugar forms. You can also purchase it in individual packets.

Along with knowing what Swerve Sweetener is, you would like to know why is it preferred over the other alternatives. What sets Swerve Sweetener apart from the other artificial sweeteners available on the market, such as saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame, is that Swerve is made from only natural ingredients. All ingredients of Swerve Sweetener are sourced from France and the United States. The product is claimed to be ideal for baking, unlike other natural sweeteners such as monk fruit and stevia. It caramelizes and holds its shape similar to sugar, thus making it an ideal replacement for sugar while baking.

Should You Be Trying This Sugar Replacement?

A naturally-made sugar replacement definitely sounds appealing. But should you be trying this sugar replacement? Well, the choice completely depends on you and your requirements, but the claims made about this sugar replacement seem interesting. You may want to consider taking an opinion from your physician and also like to monitor your blood sugar to be on the safe side.

Let us look at the details of its ingredients of Swerve Sweetener and its side effects to help you decide whether you should be trying this sugar replacement.

Ingredients of Swerve Sweetener

Swerve Sweetener is made from all natural ingredients. The sweetener is made from three ingredients, which are:

  • Oligosaccharides
  • Erythritol
  • Natural Flavor

The process of making Swerve Sweetener begins with erythritol. Erythritol is produced by the fermentation of glucose with the use of a microorganism in brewery tanks. This is similar to the manner in which wine and beer are produced. After this, enzymes are added to some starchy root vegetables. This is done to break down the starch. The resulting product is oligosaccharides. At the end of the process, natural flavors are added in order to replicate the taste of regular table sugar.

Let's take a closer look at each of these ingredients to understand what sets Swerve Sweetener apart from the many other brands on the market.

  • Erythritol: This is a type of sugar alcohol, similar to sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. Erythritol can be found naturally in limited amounts in certain fruits and vegetables. However, the type of erythritol found in Swerve Sweetener is actually created by the fermentation of glucose from non-GMO corn. The process makes use of Moniliella pollinis, which is a yeast-like fungus. Erythritol is known to have nearly 70-80% of sugary sweetness and only has 0.2 calories per gram. In comparison, table sugar contains nearly 4 calories per gram.
  • Oligosaccharides: Oligosaccharides are carbohydrates that taste sweet. They are made of short chains of sugar and are also found naturally in certain fruits and starchy vegetables. The oligosaccharides that are added in Swerve Sweetener are produced with the addition of enzymes to certain starchy root vegetables. The exact names of the starchy root vegetables or enzymes that are used for making this has not been revealed by the company. Typically, oligosaccharides can be made up of simple sugars like galactose and fructose. Again, the company has not revealed which type of simple sugar is contained in Swerve Sweetener. Oligosaccharides are considered to be calorie-free because they are made up of prebiotic fibers, which cannot be broken down and processed by our digestive system. This is why they pass through the digestive tract intact and move to the colon. In the colon, they support and promote the growth of healthy bacteria.
  • Natural Flavors: These are substances that companies add to their products for improving the overall taste. However, it can, sometimes, be quite misleading to call these substances 'natural'. This is because according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), natural flavors are those substances which are extracted from edible animal and plant parts. Or they can also be produced by using enzymes or yeast. According to the website of Swerve Sweetener, the natural flavors added to their product is made with the use of 'a little natural flavor from citrus.'

Side Effects of Swerve Sweetener

This is one area that you would like to consider before deciding whether you should be trying this sugar replacement or not.

The only drawback to Swerve Sweetener could be that it may cause digestive issues. This is because oligosaccharides and erythritol are both associated with causing stomach upsets. The human body is unable to digest sugar alcohols and they travel through the digestive tract intact until they reach the colon. Once they reach the colon, they are acted upon by bacteria during the fermentation process. This can cause gas, diarrhea, and bloating, in some.

Studies, though, have shown that erythritol is relatively safe as compared to other sugar alcohols and it does not have much of an effect on your digestive system. This is because unlike some of the other sugar alcohols, erythritol gets 90% absorbed into the bloodstream and only 10% of it makes it to the colon to get fermented. Also, erythritol is more resistant to fermentation.

Conclusion

Swerve Sweetener is calorie-free and does not increase the levels of blood sugar or insulin, so it is safe for consumption, as claimed by the manufacturers. Studies have shown that erythritol does not increase the insulin levels or blood sugar levels in the body. Furthermore, studies have also shown that oligosaccharides also do not increase insulin levels or blood sugar levels. Therefore, the Swerve Sweetener can be a good alternative to table sugar for people who have diabetes. However, keep in mind not to consume in high amounts, as it may just cause a stomach upset. People having a sensitive tummy may want to be more cautious. Should you be trying this sugar substitute or not depends on your requirements, health and taste.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 17, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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