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 >>
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 >>
Sugars, Sugar Substitutes And Sweeteners: Natural And Artificial
If you’re living with diabetes, or even if you’re not, you might think sweet foods are a barrier to your healthy, balanced diet. As a general rule,everyone should be eating less sugar– but sometimes, only something sweet will do. If want to lose weight, or you’re trying to keep your blood glucose levels stable, you may want to know whether artificial sweeteners could help. If you browse around your local supermarket, you’ll see a huge range of sweeteners on offer, so it can be baffling to know which, if any, to go for. So in this section we'll take you through: Sweeteners are ingredients that are added to food to enhance sweetness. They can be grouped in different ways: One way is to loosely group sweeteners as: sugar or sugar substitutes.Another way to group sweeteners is whether the sweetener is: natural or artificial. One of the most useful ways of grouping sweeteners is to look at those that have nutritive value, ie nutritive sweeteners, and those without nutritive value, ie non-nutritive or ‘low-calorie’ sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners There are different types of nutritive sweeteners, but they all contain carbohydrate and provide calories. They are usually referred to as ‘sugars’ or ‘added sugar’, but they can also appear in the ingredient list of food packaging as: glucose fructose sucrose maltose honey and syrup, etc. Polyols One group of nutritive sweeteners is polyols, which are sugar alcohols, and include: erythritol isomalt maltitol mannitol sorbitol xylitol. They can be natural or artificially produced. Polyols contain carbohydrates and calories, but they have fewer calories and less of an effect on blood glucose levels than sucrose (sugar). Polyols and diabetes It’s not exactly clear how the polyols should be ‘counted’ by peopl Continue reading >>
Marketing Tricks That Make Carb Counting Tough: Net Carbs, Sugar Alcohols. Etc
People who are trying to cut down on their carbs can have a tough time determining how many grams of carbs are really in the foods they buy. Every drugstore and supermarket in U.S. is filled with snack products that claim to be perfect for people with diabetes or for those eating a low carb diet for weight loss. Often the front of the package will assert that this "low carb" product provides 2 or 3 "effective" grams of carbohydrate while the nutritional panel on the back of the package--the only part of the package that the FDA regulates--lists a much higher carbohydrate and/or sugar content. If these disappearing make you suspicious, you may prefer to buy products that list only a gram or two of carbs in their nutritional information panel. But a look at their ingredient list may show that mysterious substances like maltitol, glycerine or polydextrose are major ingredients of these bars, too--and that these are the exact same substances reported on labels of the bars that claim to supply only "3 grams of Net Carbs" on the front of the package and list 20-something grams of carbs in their nutritional information panel. Deceptive Labels Trick Those Just Beginning to Cut Down on Carbs Most of these "low carb" products are sweetened with substances called "sugar alcohols," which the FDA allows manufacturers to describe as "sugar free." You will find these chemicals in almost every product found in your supermarket as suitable for people with diabetes. The most common are maltitol, lacitol, and sorbitol. Despite the name, these aren't sugars or alcohols. They are hydrogenated starch molecules which are a byproduct of grain processing. These sugar alcohols are manufactured by the three large agribusiness companies: SPI Polyols, Roquette America, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midla 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 >>
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 >>
Benefits Of Polyols
Consumers say they regularly use low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages to stay in better overall health or simply because they taste good. Many of these products contain ingredients called “sugar alcohols,” frequently referred to as “polyols.” A polyol (or sugar alcohol) is not a sugar, nor an alcohol. Polyols are a group of low-digestible carbohydrates derived from the hydrogenation of their sugar or syrup source (e.g., lactitol from lactose). These unique sweeteners taste like sugar but have special advantages. There are several polyols used as ingredients in sugar-free foods: erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (including maltitol syrups), isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. In addition to their clean sweet taste and unique functional properties, polyols offer important health benefits. For example, they are reduced in calories and do not cause sudden increases in blood sugar levels. Importantly, polyols are not readily converted to acids by bacteria in the mouth and, therefore, do not promote tooth decay. Since most polyols are not as sweet as sugar they are often used in combination with approved low-calorie sweeteners such as acesulfame potassium, aspartame, stevia, neotame, saccharin or sucralose. Scientific research supports the fact that these low-calorie sweeteners, like polyols, do not promote tooth decay. Learn more In some people, over consumption of polyol-containing foods may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, including laxative effects, similar to reactions to beans, cabbage and certain high-fiber foods. Such symptoms are dependent upon an individual’s sensitivity and the other foods eaten along with the polyol-containing product. Any gastrointestinal symptoms (such as a feeling of fullness) from consuming Continue reading >>
Effect Of Rapid Normalization Of Plasma Glucose Levels On Microvascular Dysfunction And Polyol Metabolism In Diabetic Rats.
Abstract Effects of rapid normalization of plasma glucose levels (by insulin infused via Alzet pumps implanted intraperitoneally) on plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) levels, granulation tissue polyol levels, and vascular permeation by 125I-labeled albumin were examined in male Sprague-Dawley rats with streptozocin-induced (60-65 mg/kg) diabetes. Two days after implantation of pumps, plasma insulin levels were twice normal levels and remained elevated (1.4-2.5 times normal) throughout the remainder of the study. Plasma glucose levels and granulation tissue polyol levels were normalized within 2 days after initiation of insulin treatment. Plasma IGF-I levels were significantly increased (2 times) by 2 days, but were not normalized until 7 days. In contrast, 125I-albumin permeation normalized at a much slower relatively linear rate and was still not completely normal after 14 days of insulin treatment. In view of 1) previous studies demonstrating that diabetes-induced increases in 125I-albumin permeation in this tissue are linked to increased metabolism of glucose to sorbitol and 2) the rapid normalization of tissue polyol levels in this study, the relatively linear rate of normalization of vascular permeability over 14 days in these studies suggests that impaired vascular barrier functional integrity in this model is mediated by structural and/or functional vascular alterations associated with sustained increased polyol metabolism rather than by increased polyol levels per se and/or by readily reversible functional and metabolic alterations associated with acute increases in polyol metabolism.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS). Continue reading >>
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Confused About Sugar Alcohols? What Every Diabetic Should Know
Confused about sugar alcohols? Many people with diabetes hear that sugar alcohols are not sugar, they don't raise your blood sugar, and you can subtract them from your carbohydrate count. What is the real scoop on sugar alcohols? In the past, diabetics were told they should not have any sugar whatsoever in their diet. Today, diabetics can have "certain" sugars in their diet and still meet the goals they set for themselves or by their health care professionals. One of the more confusing topics you'll run across is sugar alcohols and how it relates to Type 2 diabetes. What Are Sugar Alcohols - Sugar alcohols are Not Created Equal Sugar alcohols are a kind of reduced-calorie food sweetener often seen in sugar free or no sugar added food content; they are actually carbohydrates. The intention of these sweeteners is to prevent rapid rise of diabetics' blood sugar to dangerous levels, which will generally happen with regular sugar. You can find sugar alcohols in all kinds of products like sugar free candy, cookies, ice cream, fruit spreads, gums, etc. You can also find sugar alcohols in medicines and dental cleaning products like toothpaste and mouthwash. This type of carbohydrate energy ranging from 0.2 to 3 calories per gram compared to 4 grams per calorie of regular sugar and many carbohydrates. Sugar alcohols do not contain ethanol, which is used in alcoholic drinks so you won't get drunk from it. Make sure to look for products that contain the following sugar alcohols (carbohydrates). Below, we have listed some of the more popular sugar alcohols with the calories they deliver and their Glycemic Index. Note: in the United States 1 Calorie = 1 kilocalorie in the metric system Glycemic Index (GI) High Intermediate Low Very Low GI Values Greater than 70 55 to 70 40 to 54 Les Continue reading >>
Is The Sugar Substitute “swerve” Safe To Use For Diabetics And Does It Live Up To Its Claims?
Q: Is the sugar substitute “Swerve” safe to use for diabetics and does it live up to its claims? Swerve is a sugar-free sweetener that contains erythritol, oligosaccharides, and natural flavors. Erythritol is a member of the polyol family, also known as sugar alcohols. Unlike other sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and maltitol, erythritol doesn't seem to cause digestive issues like abdominal pain, bloating, gas or loose stools. The FDA classifies erythritol as a zero-calorie sweetener that doesn't affect blood sugar levels. Oligosaccharides are a type of prebiotic fiber found in plants. Like erythritol, oligosaccharides don't raise blood sugar. The natural flavors in Swerve also contain no carbs or sugar. Clinical trials have confirmed that Swerve is safe for people with diabetes and does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels. Because Swerve and sugar are very similar in sweetness, taste and texture, Swerve can be substituted for the same amount of sugar in recipes. It is heat stable and can be used for baking and high-heat cooking. Originally answered by Liz Quintana, RD, CDE; edited by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California. The content of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material on the site (collectively, “Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for, and dLife does not provide, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you 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 >>
The Best And Worst Low Carb Sweeteners
Most people that start a keto diet plan find that they have some intense cravings for sugar in the beginning, but will dissipate after a few weeks. Even the seasoned low carber will tell you that they have cravings every once in a while, sometimes burning inside them so deep they want to give up to temptation. That’s where sweeteners come in, where you can make or bake things you usually can’t eat. Of course, you will have to watch out because most things that say “carb free” actually still contain carbs. Make sure you take the net carbs of any impacting sweetener into consideration when tracking your macros. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to try to avoid sweeteners in the beginning. They’re well known to cause cravings and some may stall your progress with over-use. Stay strict and try to only occasionally consume sweet treats when you are on a low carb diet. Types of Sweeteners In general, there are a few classifications of sweeteners. There are natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and synthetic sweeteners (or artificial sweeteners). There are a few others that aren’t exactly classified in these categories (like glycerin based sweeteners) but they are quite uncommon and rarely used, so we’ll skip going over them. For a ketogenic diet, I personally suggest sticking with erythritol and stevia (or a blend) because they are both naturally occurring, don’t cause blood sugar or insulin spikes, and sweeten just perfectly. When used in combination, they seem to cancel out the aftertaste that each has, and work like a charm. When you purchase sweeteners, make sure to take a look at the ingredients on the packaging. You normally want the pure sweetener, rather than having fillers such as maltodextrin, dextrose, or polydextrose which can cause spik Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
Definition Of Sugar Alcohols (polyols)
Sugar alcohols are low-calorie sweeteners similar to sugars but with additional “alcohol” (OH) groups, so they are also called polyols [poly = multiple; -ol refers to alcohol] . Sugar alcohols are not true sugars; they are usually less sweet than sugars and are poorly digestible and incompletely absorbed. They provide 2.4 kilocalories per gram (except erythritol, which provides no calories), as opposed to sugars, which provide about 4 kilocalories per gram . Sugar alcohols have nothing with the drinking alcohol (ethanol): they do not make you drunk and are not toxic. Chart 1. Examples of Sugar Alcohols in Foods SUGAR ALCOHOL E-NUMBER Erythrytol E968 Glycerol (Glycerin) E422; GRAS Isomalt E953 Lactitol E966 Maltitol E965 Mannitol E421 Polyglycitol syrup or hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH) E964 Sorbitol E420; GRAS Xylitol E967; GRAS Are sugar alcohols good for you? Tooth Decay Unlike sugars, sugar alcohols do not promote tooth decay, since the bacteria in mouth do not readily convert them to acids . Xylitol and, to a lesser extent, sorbitol may even have a protective effect on teeth [8,9,10]. Blood Glucose and Diabetes Sugar alcohols raise blood glucose levels less than sugars ─ they have low glycemic index (GI <10) [11,12,14]. Are sugar alcohols bad for you? Side Effects Polyols belong to FODMAPs, that is fermentable oligo-, di- or monosaccharides and polyols, which are poorly digestible but can be broken down (fermented) by normal large intestinal bacteria. In sensitive individuals, they can cause abdominal bloating, excessive gas or diarrhea within several hours of ingestion. When consumed in large amounts (probably more than 20 grams) by healthy adults or in small amounts (few grams) by children or individuals with fructose malabsorption or irrita Continue reading >>