When we set about formulating a better-for-you ice cream, we knew that we had to seriously look into how to reduce the amount of sugar in our bases.
Don't get us wrong, we love sugar. We are as addicted to it as you are.
Caramelize it in a pan and toss in a slice of pineapple, it turns into a beautiful crisp disc of toffee that you can slather up with vanilla ice cream. My sister used to spend her days after primary school at the kitchen counter, delicately cutting up specific sized cubes of butter with a knife and then carefully rolling said butter cube into a plate of sugar. She would sit there, in her own little meditation - cutting and rolling and popping it in her mouth, letting that knob melt into oblivion. I joined in a few times, until mom found out and hid it.
Then again, we can't all stay kids forever. Soon enough, we stumbled into adulthood, waxed bikini lines and all - peering into the unknown abyss of mid-life crisis, asking hard questions like "Can we make really good ice cream - the kind that won't give you diabetes and kill you in 10 years time?"
Apparently we can.
Which brings us to the ingredient - Erythritol.
Yes, I too have tried to figure out how to properly pronounce it. Shamelessly, every time i say it in my head vs out loud it comes out completely different.
In this quick guide , we're going to be covering what we've learnt.
- Where its naturally found
- How it's made
- Effects on your body
- Why we use it in our ice cream bases
Erythritol is naturally found in fruits like grapes, peaches, pears and watermelons... and mushrooms! (the non magic kind) This compound is a byproduct of naturally fermenting sugars, basically when the good bacteria eats the natural sugars found in that old bag of grapes in your fridge - it spews out Erythritol.
Easy enough and not so scary stuff here, so lets move on to How its Made!
How it's Made
Like how all great discoveries were made, the accidental findings of Erythritol was by a Scottish scientist fermenting blackstrap molasses back in 1980s.
These days, it's made in large vats of boiling old boyfriends and stirred ferociously by witches. (I wish!)
How it's really made is by fermenting large amounts of natural sugars (glucose) from corn or wheat, a lovely yeast strain called Moniliella pollinis, grows into the mix and utilizes the glucose as food - producing Erythritol in return.
Ps: In regards to 'fermentation' we want to assure you that our Erythritol used is 100% certified halal.
Effects on your Body
Lets make things clear, it wont make you grow a booty overnight. But here is what we can promise:
Our bodies do not digest or breakdown Erythritol naturally, hence it simply passes through our gut. That is great news if you're not a fan of sugar crashes or if you're diabetic.
- Zero calories
Because it is not digested or processed by our bodies, Erythritol does not provide any form of energy or calorie count.
- Hooray for dental health!
Studies have found that erythritol may suppress the growth of bacteria in the mouth, and more importantly it does not feed and proliferate bacteria growth. Cavities begone.
- A lot of it may cause stomach discomfort
You guessed it right, too much of something is always bad. Too much of Oscar Isaac however, is perfectly fine.
Studies have found eating 50g of Erythritol caused tummy discomfort in people. Our pints have a total of 20g of Erythritol and about 5g/serving size. So unless you're eating three whole pints by yourself in a single sitting, you're gold.
Why we use it in our ice cream bases
We initially started our base development using Allulose, which we think will be the next big thing for sugar substitutes. Allulose however, is not currently approved for use in Malaysia and has only recently gained approval in USA and Singapore. Allulose tastes exactly like sugar, and caramelizes perfectly making it the perfect sweetener to work with.
We had to then explore the rest of the sugar-alcohol range. (the word alcohol here refers to the nomenclature of the chemical group properties rather than actual drinking/drunk alcohol)
Here's why we stayed clear from the other 2 most common sugar-alcohol sweeteners:
- Poisonous to dogs. We strongly believe ice creams should be shared with your best friends, human or doggo.
- Has a lower threshold for tummy trouble - up to 30-40gs may cause some diarrhea.
- There are enough horror stories out there about eating sugar free chocolates with maltitol and running to the toilet for an emergency dump. More hilarious details here on reddit if you are interested.
All in all, we found that Erythritol was the best sweetener available that could substitute sugar in our bases. It doesn't mess with our bodies, is made from a natural fermentation process, has zero calories and does not spike blood sugar.