All countries in the European Union have approved the use of erythritol, a low-calorie polyol sweetener. Other countries, including the United States, already approve erythritol.

The benefits of erythritol go beyond sugar reduction, according to Jungbunzlauer, Basel, Switzerland, a producer of the sweetener. Erythritol is a natural sweetener with a glycemic index close to zero and a low laxative effect. It may be blended with other sweeteners.

Although the European Union has no legal definition for the term natural, the number of products launched carrying a natural claim increased about 25% in both 2006 and 2007, according to Jungbunzlauer.

The ruling also means Zerose erythritol from Cargill, Minneapolis, will be available in the 27 E.U. member states.

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