Sugar Alcohols?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A friend of mine asked me the other day what I knew about Sugar Alcohol. He seemed quite optimistic at the claims made on the effects for weight loss and blood sugar. As it turns out most people don't know or don't understand properly what Alcohol Sugar is or what it does. As my concerns in nutrition cover weight loss, sugar levels and carbohydrates, I looked a bit deeper in to the topic.

Sugar Alcohol is a low calorie sweetener or flavoring commonly used to replace sugar or improve tastes of artificial sweeteners. They do not contain sugar or alcohol and are considered safe for consumption. Common examples are: Glycerol, Erythritol, Xylitol, Ribitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, Isomalt, Maltitol, and Lactitol.

In short, we look forward to the advantages of Sugar Alcohols as a substitute to sugars because it's not known to cause weight gain, raise your hypoglycemic levels, or decay teeth like sugar.

Even thought all sweeteners and food products are extensively studied before FDA approval, we still need to be concerned with how much we use because it's a newly approved product, there are some known side effects, and a lot of claims are still in debate.

**Please note that Alcohol Sugars have not been "approved" as a whole, but some forms have been approved for limited use. The FDA official stand is "generally recognized as safe" and others as approved food additives.

I am always cautious of "new products" as some are ban after they have been approved for years. After all at one time we all painted our homes with lead and asbestos was the next big revolution in construction.

I am currently doing research in to the following topics of Sugar Alcohol: Pros, Cons, Warnings and Interactions, Sugar Alcohols with Dieting, Sugar Alcohols with Diabetes. There will be new articles and information found on this topic within the next few weeks.



Abrupt said...

Good post. I have been using a Log Cabin sugar free syrup containing alcohol sugar and also some Hershey bars with the same. Except for the slightest aftertaste to the syrup I would never know (actually I like the taste better). The Hershey bar I can tell no difference.

I had the initial thought of "too good to be true" regarding these alcohol sugars and being somewhat skeptical in nature I wondered what the catch was. If you find one let us know but as you say it may be a bit early before we find out anything possibly dire with it.

Sangria said...

The biggest negative side effect i know of "light"-products and sugar alcohols is that they trow the bodys balance off for the hunger mechanics.

Its a bit like is as i understand it:
If you eat products with the fake sugar, you body expects to get amout x in enegry in. If it doesnt get that amout (non with the fake sugar) you will feel hungry again in no time.

There should be studies of this effect around on the web.

Same goes for a lot of the "light" ingredients.

Best ofcourse would be to stay away from any refined sugar or artificial subtitutes.

And if you have a dire need for lets say a coke every now and then ... drink the real stuff and not the light version :)

I make a habit of reading the ingredients lists on products and stay away as muchs as posible from product that contain (artificial) sugar as flavor enhancer (salad dressing, tomato ketjup, any micro dish), dehydrated fats (they make good fats bad to enhance shelflife) or stuff that has added meat proteine (esp. meat that gets injected with a water and protine mixture).

A good basic rule is that the less food is treated the better the taste is and the better your body can cope with it.

DJ said...

I have heard of this before to, I guess I know something els I can look in to after Sugar Alcohols =)