What Are Sugar Alcohols and Are They Healthy?



What Are the Effects of Sugar Alcohols?

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I am confused about the effects of sugar alcohols. How do I figure them into my daily sugar intake?

— Penny, Ohio

Sugar alcohols (polyols) are carbohydrates that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. They are also made by food manufacturers from starches, glucose, and sucrose, and are commonly added to foods. Corn syrup is most commonly used to make polyols.

Sugar alcohols have a couple of properties that make them attractive for people who would like to reduce their carbohydrate intake but still enjoy sweets. Here are a few things to remember: First, polyols are slowly and not completely absorbed from the gut. This reduces the quantity of carbohydrates the body absorbs and converts into glucose in the bloodstream. Second, most polyols have fewer calories than table sugar.

The most common polyols are:

  • Sorbitol (2.6 calories per gram)
  • Maltitol (2.1 calories per gram)
  • Lactilol(2 calories per gram)
  • Erythritol (0.2 calories per gram)
  • Isomalt (2 calories per gram)
  • Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (3 calories per gram)
  • Mannitol (1.6 calories per gram)
  • Xylitol (2.4 calories per gram)
  • Maltitol syrup (4.32 calories per gram)

These substances have been used extensively by food manufacturers to make sugar-free and reduced-carb products. Their texture and feel can help make artificial sweeteners palatable, and they're often used as bulking agents. They are found in sugar-free candies, chewing gum, desserts, baked goods, chocolates, and ice cream. They're also found in some over-the-counter medications, including throat lozenges, cough syrup, and chewable vitamins.

Many diabetics, in their efforts to reduce their carbohydrate consumption or lose weight, have turned to reduced-sugar, sugar-free, or low-carb food products. Although polyols can raise after-meal sugar levels, they raise them less than does table sugar.

To determine the amount of carbohydrates in polyols, you should look at a food's nutrition label. The label will have a carbohydrate section under which the number of grams of polyols are listed. Reduce that number by 50 percent — divide by 2 — to arrive at the total amount of carbohydrate you will absorb. For example, if 10 grams of polyols are listed for one serving of a food, you will absorb about 5 grams. You should also consider the total number of calories in low-carb foods.

Ultimately, here's what you should remember: You don't need to completely eliminate natural sugar, including sugar alcohols, from your diet. Any kind of sugar should, however, be eaten in moderation and with consideration given for the total number of calories you're consuming.

The long-term effect of polyols on people with diabetes is as yet unknown. They might be safe, but limiting them is prudent.






Video: Ketosis Foods: Sugar Alcohol Effect on Low Carb: Thomas DeLauer

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Date: 10.12.2018, 20:35 / Views: 34342