Erythritol is a polyol or sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute, and people use it in foods that contain fats and carbohydrates, such as baked goods. Pears, grapes, soy sauce, cheese and wine naturally contain erythritol.
Oral bacteria cannot metabolize erythritol, so the sweetener does not cause tooth decay. It has only 0.2 kilocalories per gram, which is 95 percent less than sugar. It does not affect blood glucose or insulin levels, which make it safe for diabetics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepted a petition to grant erythritol Generally Recognized As Safe status in 1997, which allows manufacturers to produce and sell food and beverages containing erythritol in the United States.