What you need to know about sugar alcohols: Not so sweet

You’re following a low-carb diet and you’ve seen them before: those low-carb, sugar free products in the stores or sold online that promise to assuage your sweet tooth without packing on the pounds.

But what do we really know about sugar alcohols?

What are they made from?

While studies show that sugar alcohols do not contribute to tooth decay, we also tend not to know about the other nefarious results of using the stuff. From gastric upset (laxative thresholds) to cravings for sugar, sugar alcohols are a relentless promise of deliciousness without the regrets.

For many, however, the truth might be unsettling.

An online document from the Canadian Diabetes Association gives the only full-on run-down of sugar alcohols this author could locate.

Here are some of their findings.

Sorbitol: Found in mouthwashes, sugar free candies, gums, ice cream and more.
Laxative threshold? 50g/day. What natural foods have a laxative threshold?
Manufactured from (are you ready for this?) corn syrup or glucose.

Mannitol: Found in chocolate coatings for ice cream.
Laxative threshold? 20 g/day. What natural foods have a laxative threshold?
Occurs naturally in pineapple, among other things, but is manufactured from seaweed or mannose (derived from manna, which is a high-carb item).

Maltitol: Found in chocolate flavored bars, baked goods and ice cream
Laxative threshold? 100 g/day.
Manufactured from (are you ready for this?) high maltose corn syrup

Do you see a common bond among 2 of the 3?

The corn industry seems to generally benefit, whether it is convincing us that corn syrup is perfectly healthy or its lower-carb (supposedly) counterparts–also derived from corn syrups and corn products– are.

With a greater education in food choices by informed consumers, it is important to know that whether it claims to be healthy or not, it’s emanating from the same crop.

Sugar alcohols are not only not necessary to good health, but some might argue that it is furthered by an industry whose sole purpose is to make profits, regardless the cost to human health.

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  1. yikes, i had no idea. Darn it, I dont want to know this, cause now there is NO soda I can have. Great.

  2. cleochatra says

    Try Zevia soda. It's made with stevia. It's a little spendy, but worth it!

  3. adhesivesmile says

    Zevia is NOT made with stevia. It's made with erythritol. Oh, yeah, and there's some stevia mixed in there too, but saying something like "to avoid eating corn-derived sugar alcohol products, buy this corn-derived sugar alcohol product that has STEVIA mixed in!" is completely inaccurate.

    Like, what – it must be ok now, right? cuz they added stevia to the poison? Hmm I think not.

  4. You're right. Zevia is made with stevia and erythritol.

  5. Mrs. Joynes says

    and it tastes awful too! I guess I will stick with caffeine free diet coke.

  6. Mrs. Joynes says

    and it tastes awful!! I will stick to caffeine free diet coke until something better comes along.

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