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Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols, also know as polyols, are ingredients used as sweeteners and bulking agents. Despite name, these aren't sugars or alcohols. They occur naturally in foods and come from plant products such as fruits and berries. As a sugar substitute, they provide fewer calories than regular sugar. This is because they are converted to glucose more slowly, require little or no insulin to be metabolized and don't cause sudden increases in blood sugar.

Count the "Net Impact Carbs" provided by the manufacturer of the low-carb product. To do this take the Total Carbohydrates listed and subtract both the fiber and the sugar alcohols from the total.

Example:

  • CarboLite Dark Chocolate Bar (50g)
  • Serving Size: 1 Bar (50g)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar Alcohols: 22g
  • 27g - 3g - 22g = 2g net impact carbs to count

There are some negatives associated with sugar alcohols. The most common side effect is the possibility of bloating and diarrhea when sugar alcohols are eaten in excessive amounts. There is also some evidence that sugar alcohols, can cause a laxative effect.

Beware as these products do not affect everyone in same way. For some people they are a godsend. For others, they can cause stalls.

Forms of sugar alcohol

The sugar alcohols commonly found in foods are sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.


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