May 15 2010

What are sugar alcohols?

Category: Health & Beauty


Sugar alcohols (also known as polyols) are low-digestible carbohydrates with chemical structures that are similar to both sugar and alcohol. They can be found naturally in some fruits and plants and are often used to replace sugar (sucrose), making them popular for diabetics and individuals following a low-carb diet.

Sugar Alcohol Advantages

Your blood glucose level is an indicator of how much sugar is in your blood. When you eat carbohydrates or sugar, they’re digested and absorbed into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. High blood glucose levels often accompany high insulin levels which activate fat enzymes. Over time, high levels of sugar and insulin will increase body fat. Sugar alcohols will typically not create these spikes in glucose levels because they are slowly absorbed into the blood stream. The result and advantage of foods that contain sugar alcohol is a lower change in blood glucose levels compared to regular sugar.

Sugar Alcohol Disadvantages

According to Web MD, “The fact that these sugar alternatives aren’t easily digested helps explain why they have been known to produce gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea in some people. This is thanks to the part of the sugar alcohol that isn’t digested or absorbed. It goes through the intestinal tract and starts to ferment and attract water into the intestinal tract. A certain, individualized amount of discomfort, ranging from gas to diarrhea can result, depending on the amount consumed and each person’s intestinal tract”.

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