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What are sugar alcohols?

November 22nd, 2012 | no comments

Sugar alcohols are one type of reduced-calorie sweetener. You can find them in ice creams, cookies, puddings, candies, and chewing gum that are labeled as “sugar-free” or “no sugar added”. They provide fewer calories than sugar and have less of an effect on blood glucose than other carbohydrates.

Do sugar alcohols contain alcohol?

Actually, sugar alcohols aren’t made from alcohol at all! I know- confusing right? In fact, they are derived from carbohydrates. They aren’t any sweeter than sugar, but they do have fewer calories.  You can’t go to the store and pick up a box of sugar alcohols because they’re found only in certain processed foods and food products.

To spot an FDA-approved sugar alcohol, look for any of the following words on the list of ingredients:

  • Erythritol
  • Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
  • Isomalt
  • Lactitol
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
  • Stevia preparations that are highly refined (Truvia)

Beware! Sugar alcohols can have a laxative-type effect, causing gas, bloating and diarrhea in certain people, so use them in moderation. Actually, this may be your body’s way of telling you to just eat the real thing! Go ahead, suck it up and eat a REAL cookie or a REAL scoop of ice cream. I know, life’s tough isn’t it?

 

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