Erythritol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) that occurs naturally, at low levels, in many fruits, mushrooms, and fermented foods such as wine, soy sauce, and cheese.
Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sucrose, on a weight basis. It produces a cooling effect in the mouth, similar to xylitol.
Unlike other polyols, erythritol is readily absorbed in the small intestine. It is not easily metabolized in the human body, so it provides only 0.2 calories per gram.
Erythritol is not hygroscopic (does not pick up moisture from the air). It has lower water solubility than sucrose and a higher tendency to crystallize.
Erythritol is largely absorbed in the small intestine and excreted in the urine. It is not easily metabolized in the body. Since most of it is absorbed, it is not subject to fermentation in the large intestine as most polyols are. This means there is far less gas-forming and laxative effect, compared to the other polyols.
Erythritol is sometimes used in combination with a high potency sweetener, to facilitate measuring an accurate amount of the high potency sweetener, and to round out the taste profile.