Sugar substitutes are important in the dietary management of diabetes mellitus. Erythritol is a non-caloric dietary bulk sweetener that reverses endothelial dysfunction in diabetic rats. We completed a pilot study to examine the effects of erythritol on vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Participants (n = 24) consumed erythritol 36 g/day as an orange-flavored beverage for 4 weeks and a single dose of 24 g during the baseline and final visits. We assessed vascular function before and after acute (2 h) and chronic (4 weeks) erythritol consumption. Acute erythritol improved endothelial function measured by fingertip peripheral arterial tonometry (0.52 ± 0.48 to 0.87 ± 0.29 au, P = 0.005). Chronic erythritol decreased central pulse pressure (47 ± 13 to 41 ± 9 mmHg, P = 0.02) and tended to decrease carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (P = 0.06). Thus, erythritol consumption acutely improved small vessel endothelial function, and chronic treatment reduced central aortic stiffness. Erythritol may be a preferred sugar substitute for patients with diabetes mellitus.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01609088.