Erythritol is a polyol -- a sugar alcohol -- that is a common ingredient in many reduced-calorie foods. Erythritol is commonly substituted for sugar, and comes in a powdery white form. Erythritol is used because it has zero calories, is safe for diabetics and because it does not cause cavities, but the product is not without its downsides. Erythritol -- when consumed in large quantities -- can cause certain gastric side effects.
Bloating and Gas
People who eat many products with erythritol have experienced bloating and gas. However, because the body has trouble digesting erythritol, these symptoms -- which are frequently observed with other alcohol sugars -- are minimal.
Frequent consumers of erythritol have complained of the product's laxative effect. However, most people should be safely able to ingest a gram of erythritol without encountering the laxative effect, as erythritol is not digested by the large intestine like most alcohol sugars. Side effects are most common in individuals who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
People who are allergic to erythritol have come down with uticaria -- a scientific name for hives -- and swelling. However, though there are a few recorded cases of erythritol allergies, this allergy is very rare.