Is Sugar Alcohol Really Safe For Diabetics?
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. 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 Continue reading >>
Sugar Alcohols Fact Sheet
BACKGROUND Sugar alcohols or polyols, as they are also called, are sugar replacers and have a long history of use in a wide variety of foods. Recent technical advances have added to the range of sugar alcohols available for food use and expanded the applications of these sugar replacers in diet and health-oriented foods. They have been found useful in sugar-free and reduced-sugar products, in foods intended for individuals with diabetes, and most recently in new products developed for carbohydrate controlled eating plans. Sugar alcohols are neither sugars nor alcohols. They are carbohydrates with a chemical structure that partially resembles sugar and partially resembles alcohol, but they don’t contain ethanol as alcoholic beverages do. They are incompletely absorbed and metabolized by the body, and consequently contribute fewer calories than most sugars. The commonly used sugar alcohols include sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, lactitol, erythritol, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. Their calorie content ranges from zero to three calories per gram compared to four calories per gram for sucrose or other sugars. Most sugar alcohols are less sweet than sucrose; maltitol and xylitol are about as sweet as sucrose. Sugar alcohols occur naturally in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but are commercially produced from other carbohydrates such as sucrose, glucose, and starch. Along with adding a sweet taste, polyols (sugar alcohols) perform a variety of functions such as adding bulk and texture, providing a cooling effect or taste, inhibiting the browning that occurs during heating and retaining moisture in foods. Polyols neither prevent nor cause browning. FORMS OF SUGAR ALCOHOLS The table below shows commonly used sugar alcohols along Continue reading >>
Sugar Alcohols (polyols) And Polydextrose Used As Sweeteners In Foods - Food Safety - Health Canada
Sugar alcohols, a family of sweeteners also known as "polyols", are used as food additives. They occur naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables, including berries, apples, and plums, but for large-scale commercial use they are manufactured from common sugars. While they are chemically very similar to sugars, they are less sweet than sugars and have fewer calories per gram. Before any food additive is permitted to be used in foods sold in Canada, it is evaluated by Health Canada scientists to determine that it is safe, and achieves its intended purpose. Food additives are regulated in Canada under the Food and Drug Regulations and associated Marketing Authorizations (MAs). Approved food additives and their permitted conditions of use are set out in the Lists of Permitted Food Additives that are incorporated by reference in the MAs. Currently the following sugar alcohols are permitted for use as food additives in Canada: hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, mannitol, sorbitol, sorbitol syrup, xylitol and erythritol. Another food additive, polydextrose, a compound synthesized from dextrose (glucose), is also permitted. Because it has a low digestible energy value, it is used to provide bulk in foods, thereby reducing the caloric content. Unlike polyols, polydextrose is not sweet but has a slightly tart taste and thus can add texture to food without adding sweetness. It is often used as a replacement for sugar, starch, and fat in foods such as cakes, candies, pudding, and desserts. Health Canada scientists have studied the human health effects of these compounds and have concluded that the addition of sugar alcohols and/or polydextrose to foods is safe and effective for their accepted purposes of use. It is known, however Continue reading >>
What Are The Effects Of Sugar Alcohols?
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, Continue reading >>
Primer On Sugar Alcohols
Confused about, as a client referred them: “those sugar alcohols”? If so, check out my cut to the chase answers below: What are Sugar Alcohols? Sugar alcohols, also called polyols, are neither sugar or alcohol. They’re called sugar alcohols because part of their structure resembles sugar and part alcohol. Keep in mind they do contain carbohydrate. Today polyols are in “sugar-free” foods, such as candy, cookies, ice creams and gums. They’re used alone or combined with a sugar substitute (e.g. sucralose, aspartame) to both sweeten and provide bulk (volume). (FYI: you couldn’t make a sugar-free ice cream or cookie with a sugar substitute only. The polyol provides necessary bulk.) Commonly used polyols are sorbitol, erythritol, and mannitol. Do they raise blood glucose? Sugar alcohols cause a lower rise in blood glucose (however, not zero rise) because they’re only partially digested and thus contain, on average, contain 2 calories per gram vs. 4 calories per gram for most other sources of carbohydrate. (Don’t forget: foods that contain sugar alcohols also contain other ingredients which may or may not contain carbohydrate. If they contain carbohydrate, they will impact blood glucose.) However, because people most often eat foods that contains sugar alcohol on occasion vs. regularly, the American Diabetes Association notes: “there’s no evidence that the amount of sugar alcohols likely to be consumed reduce glucose, calorie intake or weight.” And it’s certainly easy for people to fool themselves because foods with sugar alcohols often brag about being “sugar-free” (see next: What’s the meaning of “sugar-free”?) What’s the meaning of “sugar-free”? You’ve got to understand what “sugars” means. Sugars (note the plural), per FDA, i Continue reading >>
Complete Guide To Sweeteners On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet
Most people on low-carb find that once they get used to the diet, the cravings for sugar go away. Many even claim not to use any sweeteners at all. However, you may find it hard to give up sweets, especially at the beginning. I've been researching for natural low-carb sweeteners as well as other healthy alternatives to sugar. As always, there are many sweeteners you should avoid. I personally avoid using sweeteners regularly and only use them for occasional treats. In fact, most of my recipes in KetoDiet, KetoDiet Basic and my new cookbook don't include any sweeteners at all. If your target is weight loss, sweeteners may impair your progress, as even so-called "zero-carb" sweeteners may cause cravings. If your weight is stalling, avoiding sweeteners or joining my 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge is a good way to break the weight loss plateau. You can download a print-friendly version of this guide here! Best Natural Low-carb Sweeteners Following is an overview of healthy sweeteners you could use provided your net carbs limit allows for it. People with very low net carbs limit should avoid using anything other than "zero-carb" sweeteners, like Stevia, Monk fruit sweetener or Erythritol. 1. Stevia Stevia is an herb, which is commonly known as "sugar leaf". The extract from this herb is used as a sweetener and sugar substitute. Based on the USDA database, Stevia belongs to a group of non-nutritive sweeteners. This means there are no calories, vitamins or any other nutrients. The availability of Stevia can vary from country to country. Nowadays, it is commonly used in the US and was approved for use in the EU in 2011. The health effects of Stevia have been questioned for the past few decades. However, based on recent studies of the WHO (World Health Organization), Stevia extra Continue reading >>
Discuss this article! Sugar Alcohols ALL ABOUT SUGAR ALCOHOLS (MALTITOL, SORBITOL, ISOMALT , etc..) These sweeteners are neither sugars, nor alcohols, but they are carbohydrates nonetheless. They are sometimes called POLYOLS, to avoid confusion. At the present time, they have not been legally classified for product labelling purposes, as are sugars, starch and fiber. So, some manufacturers are choosing to omit them from the total carb count in the nutrient data panel of the label (they MUST however declare the amount of sugar alcohol in the ingredient list). Because they aren't actually SUGAR, products that contain them may use the term "sugar free" on the label. Some manufacturers and distributors (esp. in Canada and Europe) are choosing to declare the full carbs in the nutrient data panel, and some diabetes associations and consumer groups are pressuring for gov't legislation to make this a legal requirement. There are some claims that sugar alcohols don't have carbs, and therefore don't count; that they can be completely subtracted if listed on the label. This statement is not entirely "false" but it is misleading. Sugar alcohols do have carbs, and approx. 1/2 to 3/4 the calories of regular sugar. They are more slowly and incompletely absorbed from the small intestine than sugar, thus producing a much smaller and slower rise in blood sugar ... and consequently insulin. But this is a YMMV thing. Some Type 1 diabetics have reported that they sense an immediate "sugar rush" from eating even a small amount. Others notice no change, and absolutely no effect on ketosis. Sugar alcohols do have carb calories, and the body will use these as fuel, or store as fat, whether or not insulin is involved. You need to look at the total CALORIES for one serving of the product. Subtrac Continue reading >>
Ask The Nutritionist: The Scoop On Sugar Alcohols
Q: What are sugar alcohols and how do they impact Net Carb count? A: Many low-carb products are sweetened with a form of sugar called sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols come in the form of ingredients such as glycerin, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, lactitol and maltitol. Sugar alcohols provide a sweetness and mouth feel similar to sugar, without all the calories and unwanted metabolic effects. Sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed by the gut, which means they provide roughly half the calories that sugar does. Thanks to this incomplete and slower absorption, there is a minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin response. Because of this, sugar alcohols don’t significantly interfere with fat burning, which makes them acceptable on Atkins. However, since a portion of sugar alcohols aren’t fully absorbed in the gut, there is the potential that consuming too much may produce a laxative effect or cause some gastrointestinal problems. Most people can usually handle 20 to 30 grams a day. To calculate Net Carb count with sugar alcohols, simply subtract grams of sugar alcohols (including glycerin), as well as fiber, from total grams of carbs. Continue reading >>
“low-carbohydrate” Food Facts And Fallacies
Ten years ago, weight-conscious Americans jumped on the fat-free bandwagon. Supermarket shelves were replete with products touting “reduced-fat” and “fat-free” labels, which implied that these products were healthier and lower-calorie alternatives to standard “high-fat” fare. Yet, in the same 10-year time interval, Americans have continued to struggle with ever-expanding waistlines, gaining an average of 1 lb/year.1 The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen simultaneously.2 Thirty-eight percent of our population is currently attempting to lose weight.3 The latest trend in the highly lucrative, yet often fickle, diet industry is a resurgence of low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diets. Findings of a February 2004 survey by A.C. Nielsen, a leading market information company, revealed that 17.2% of households included someone on a low-carbohydrate diet. Slightly more, 19.2%, included someone who had tried a low-carb diet but had quit.4 This current diet trend directly counters the decade-old focus on low-fat diets and implicates carbohydrates as the culprit in America's obesity problem. In response to the low-carb resurgence, food manufacturers have rapidly revised food products and package claims to seemingly reduce the carbohydrate content of their products and increase consumer demand for them. Restaurant menus have incorporated purportedly low-carb entrees to accommodate demand for low-carb meals away from home. Aggressive marketing schemes imply that these products are healthier alternatives to standard high-carb fare and that they promote weight loss. For individuals with diabetes who are counting carbohydrates or attempting to lose weight, the current marketplace can be a source of a great deal of misinformation, cause considerable confusion, and Continue reading >>
Sugar Alcohols: Good Or Bad?
For many decades, sugar alcohols have been popular alternatives to sugar. They look and taste like sugar, but have fewer calories and fewer negative health effects. In fact, many studies show that sugar alcohols can actually lead to health improvements. This article takes a detailed look at sugar alcohols and their health effects. Sugar alcohols (or "polyols") are types of sweet carbohydrates. As the name implies, they are like hybrids of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules. Despite the "alcohol" part of the name, they do not contain any ethanol, the compound that gets you drunk. Sugar alcohols are safe for alcoholics. Several sugar alcohols are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. However, most are produced industrially, where they are processed from other sugars, such as the glucose in corn starch. Sugar alcohols look like white crystals, just like sugar. Because sugar alcohols have a similar chemical structure as sugar, they are able to activate the sweet taste receptors on the tongue. Unlike artificial and low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols do contain calories, just fewer than plain sugar. Sugar alcohols are types of sweet carbohydrates that are found naturally or processed from other sugars. They are widely used as sweeteners. There are many different sugar alcohols that are commonly used as sweeteners. There are several differences between them, including their taste, calorie content and health effects (1). Xylitol Xylitol is the most common and well-researched sugar alcohol. It has a distinct mint flavor, and is a common ingredient in sugar-free chewing gums, mints and oral care products like toothpaste. It is about as sweet as regular sugar, but has 40% fewer calories. Aside from some digestive symptoms when consumed in large amounts, xylitol is well Continue reading >>
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. It is 60–70% as sweet as sugar but contributes considerably fewer calories when consumed. Sugar alcohols (also called polyhydric alcohols, polyalcohols, alditols or glycitols) are organic compounds, typically derived from sugars, that comprise a class of polyols. They are white, water-soluble solids that can occur naturally or be produced industrially from sugars. They are used widely in the food industry as thickeners and sweeteners. In commercial foodstuffs, sugar alcohols are commonly used in place of table sugar (sucrose), often in combination with high intensity artificial sweeteners to counter the low sweetness. Xylitol and sorbitol are popular sugar alcohols in commercial foods. Production and chemical structure Sugar alcohols have the general formula HOCH2(CHOH)nCH2OH. In contrast, sugars have two fewer hydrogen atoms, for example HOCH2(CHOH)nCHO or HOCH2(CHOH)n−1C(O)CH2OH. The sugar alcohols differ in chain length. Most have five- or six-carbon chains, because they are derived from pentoses (five-carbon sugars) and hexoses (six-carbon sugars), respectively. They have one OH group attached to each carbon. They are further differentiated by the relative orientation (stereochemistry) of these OH groups. Unlike sugars, which tend to exist as rings, sugar alcohols do not. They can however be dehydrated to give cyclic ethers, e.g. sorbitol can be dehydrated to isosorbide. Sugar alcohols occur naturally and at one time, mannitol was obtained from natural sources. Today, they are often obtained by hydrogenation of sugars, using Raney nickel catalysts. The conversion of glucose and mannose to sorbitol and mannitol is given: HOCH2CH(OH)CH(OH)CH(OH)CH(OH)CHO + H2 → HOCH2CH(OH)CH(OH)CH(OH)CH(OH)CHHOH More than a million tons Continue reading >>
Polyols, also called sugar alcohols, are a group of versatile, reduced-calorie carbohydrates that provide the taste and texture of sugar with about half the calories. They are used as food ingredients to replace sugar in an increasing variety of sugar-free and reduced-calorie foods and beverages for their functional and health benefits. These products include chewing gums, candies, ice cream, baked goods and fruit spreads. In addition, they function well in fillings and frostings, canned fruits, beverages, yogurt and tabletop sweeteners. What sugar replacers (polyols) are now used in the U.S.? TECHNICAL NOTES The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) Sugar replacers (polyols) do not participate in the Maillard reaction. A significant amount of the unabsorbed sugar replacer (polyol) is metabolized to short chain fatty acids and gases by bacteria in the large intestine. Absorbed sugar replacers (polyols) are generally metabolized by insulin-independent mechanisms. Continue reading >>
What Is Sugar Alcohol And Can Sugar Alcohol Get You Drunk?
If you’re on this site, you likely care (or are starting to care) about your health. And if you care about your health, you probably read a fair number of food labels. But do you fully understand them or do you go straight to the calorie line? If so, you’re only getting part of the picture. For instance, “sugar alcohol” is showing up more and more under the carbohydrate section. Do you know what sugar alcohol is? Do you know how sugar alcohol will affect your diet? And yes, you may even want to know if sugar alcohol get you drunk. Sugar Alcohol According to the Internets Now yes, you could look sugar alcohol up on Wikipedia thinking it will be helpful, but it’s not. Why? Cause it reads like this: A sugar alcohol (also known as a polyol, polyhydric alcohol, or polyalcohol) is a hydrogenated form of carbohydrate, whose carbonyl group (aldehyde or ketone, reducing sugar) has been reduced to a primary or secondary hydroxyl group (hence the alcohol). Sugar alcohols have the general formula H(HCHO)n+1H, whereas sugars have H(HCHO)nHCO. In commercial foodstuffs sugar alcohols are commonly used in place of table sugar (sucrose), often in combination with high intensity artificial sweeteners to counter the low sweetness. Of these, xylitol is perhaps the most popular due to its similarity to sucrose in visual appearance and sweetness. You lost me at “… also known as a polyol, polyhydric alcohol, or polyalcohol.” Sugar Alcohol According to the Gurus Fortunately, we’re here to help decode this nutritional mumbo jumbo. Sugar alcohol has a structure that resembles part sugar and part alcohol, hence the name. However, the tricky thing is that sugar alcohol is neither sugar nor alcohol. Sugar alcohols, at their simplest, are a type of carbohydrate. If you don’t know Continue reading >>
The concept sounds simple — only carbohydrates have more than minimal effect on blood glucose. The problem with understanding it is, however, that different carbohydrates affect blood glucose to different degrees. That’s the basis of the glycemic index, which is having more and more influence on low-carb diets like that of the late Dr. Robert C. Atkins. Carbohydrates We call them carbohydrates because they are essentially hydrates of carbon. That means one carbon atom links one atom of water. Their composition is CxH2xOx. We call the simple sugars — glucose, fructose, and galactose — monosaccharides. Their structural formula is C6H12O6. What we call disaccharides have two sugar units bonded together. For example, common table sugar (sucrose) is a disaccharide that consists of a glucose unit bonded to a fructose unit. Other carbohydrates are long chains of simple sugar units bonded together. That’s why we often refer to them as polysaccharides. Starch, a polymer of glucose, is the principal polysaccharide that plants use to store glucose for later use as energy. Glycogen is another polymer of glucose. It is the polysaccharide that animals (including humans) use to store energy. Excess glucose bonds together to form glycogen molecules, which animals store in the liver and muscle tissue as a quick source of energy. Alpha cells of the pancreas secrete glucagon, which stimulates liver cells to break down glycogen and release glucose to the blood stream. We use it to treat hypoglycemia. Cellulose is a third polymer of glucose. It’s different from starch and glycogen because it has hydrogen bonds holding together nearby polymers, which gives it added stability. Humans can’t digest cellulose, which we also know as plant fiber. Consequently, it passes through the d Continue reading >>
Sweeteners And Diabetes
Artificial sweeteners that contain either saccharine, aspartame or acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K, Ace K) are suitable for use by people with diabetes as a replacement for sugar as they are very low in calories and do not affect blood glucose levels. Examples of products which contain these sweeteners include Hermesetas, Flix, Natrena, Canderel, Sweetex, Sweet’N Low, and NutraSweet. These products are available in tablet and/or powder form. Add sweeteners after cooking as heat can change their taste. Products Which Are Not Recommended For People With Diabetes Some sweeteners contain sugar (e.g. Sucron, Half Spoon) and should not be used by people with diabetes as an alternative to sugar. Sugar substitutes (e.g. sorbitol, fructose) are high in calories and in large amounts can cause diarrhoea, and therefore these are also not recommended. Foods containing sorbitol, xylitol, fructose or mannitol are not recommended for people with diabetes, in part because they are expensive, but also because they are often high in calories and can still cause a rise in blood glucose and blood fats. Polyols, such as xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and isomalt are usually used in significant quantities in manufactured foods. They have been used as a substitute for sucrose in products such as chocolates, confectionary, biscuits and chewing gum and most are labelled as sugar free. This can be perceived as being healthier and often consumers do not realise that these foods still contain significant amount of CHO, calories and fat. Hence they need to be accounted in the daily nutritional intake. Polyols have a slightly lower glycaemic response than sucrose and provide less energy 2.4kcal /g compared with 3.75kcal/g of other sugars due to incomplete digestion and absorption. But most polyols Continue reading >>