DAY TWO: Emma learns about Erythritol

Day Two - So far so good. I’m using PurAqua Bell Vie (offbrand Aldi LaCroix) to help curb cravings for something sweet, and eating meals without much sugar has been pretty easy so far. Today looked something like*:

day2lunch

B: a peach with plain greek yogurt and plain oatmeal
L: Salmon with caesar salad (1 tbsp dressing) and vegan pesto with quinoa/brown rice pasta
D: Javier made delicious enchiladas for dinner with beef, beans, cheese, and a green sauce.
A: An apple. Some popcorn. PB on rice cakes with strawberries.

I finished my day with a decaf spiced Chai to help curb sweet cravings (no Stevia, mind you). Javier and I also tried some Bai sparkling water because according to the can it contained only 1g of sugar. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Emma! The whole point is to not consume sugar!” and yeah, it is, but I’ve been a fan of Bai products for awhile now and was curious as to whether this product would qualify as something I could sip on during this sugar reduction, since it claimed to contain only 1g of sugar. I immediately checked out the ingredients list. One of the very first ingredients on the bottle is listed as “Erythritol,” and I’m going to be honest I didn’t know exactly what Erythritol was, but I knew it had to be a sweetener. So, I visited Bai’s website for more information and this is what I learned:

What is Erythritol?

Naturally found erythritol is a sugar alcohol made from simple sugars derived from plant starches. It looks and tastes like table sugar, though it is about 30% less sweet…Erythritol is the largest ingredient in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend by weight, and is used as an ingredient to provide bulk and the sugar-like crystalline appearance and texture in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend. The erythritol used in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend is produced through a natural fermentation process…In the case of erythritol, a natural yeast digests the simple sugars such as dextrose and other nutrients and produces erythritol. After fermentation, the erythritol is filtered and dried into crystals. Erythritol is small; found naturally in a variety of fruits, such as grapes and pears, as well as in mushrooms, and certain fermented foods such as soy sauce and wine.

Is it true that the stevia leaf extract and erythritol in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend are highly processed or made with toxic chemicals?

As with almost all finished food products, the journey from field to table involves some processing. The sweet components of the stevia leaf need to be extracted from the leaf, like vanilla needs to be extracted from vanilla beans. The erythritol in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend is made from a natural fermentation process. Like in other finished foods, including table sugar, processing aids suitable for use in food are used in the production of both stevia leaf extract and erythritol. These aids help either extract, isolate or purify components of the ingredients. Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, our processing aids are not subject to labeling requirements because they do not have a technical or functional effect in the finished food and because they are either not present or are present at insignificant levels in the finished product.

Now, I’m not here to determine if Bai products are “good” or “bad” or “safe” or “dangerous.” It’s juice. It’s tea. It’s sparkling water, and I’m probably not going to drink it every day, but I think having one every now and then isn’t going to kill me or put this sugar reduction in horrible jeopardy. But I’ll save it for when I really need it.

baisparklingwater

*FYI I will not be tallying calories or describing in detail exactly how much I eat. I’m embracing intuitive eating right now. Like most people, I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food in the past. Sometimes counting calories is a helpful tool, other times it turns into a harmful one. Or I just get tired of counting them!

Also disclaimer: Please know I’m not trying to convince you what to eat or not eat. I don’t mean to promote any particular products (except maybe Aldi b/c I just love that store). I’m not being paid to do this, I’m not even trying to promote my own brand. I’m just documenting an experiment.

See you on day three!