Can I Eat Sugar Alcohols?

"Polyols" or sugar alcohols are a number of different
carbohydrates that are neither sugars nor alcohols--and are
commonly used as artificial sweeteners in a range of products,
from ice cream to chewing gum.

While these tasty sweeteners appear to be the perfect solution
for both low-carb dieters and low-carb food producers, recent
studies of sugar alcohols have painted a somewhat different

To begin with, sugar alcohols are not entirely carb-free. Most
studies have indicated that sugar alcohols contain
approximately 1/2 to 1/3 the amount of calories as sugar--and
in the form of carbohydrates.

In addition, studies have shown that sugar alcohols are
absorbed by the small intestine, but the process is slower and
fractured. This affects a rise in blood sugar, but again is
smaller and more gradual than with sugar--and the rise tends to
vary from person to person.

Sugar alcohols also have a laxative effect on some consumers.
Since they are only partially absorbed, they bring water into
the bowel--and undigested carbs into the colon, creating gas
and bloating as the carbs are acted on by bacteria.

Over-consumption of sugar alcohols can often have an adverse
effect on low carb dieters, even when they can digest them
properly. Sugar alcohols can trigger cravings in low carb
dieters, causing them to deviate from dietary restrictions.

In addition, sugar alcohols can often cause low carb dieters to
choose an unhealthy diet of sweets, which appear to be
carb-free, over a varied diet that includes essential

If you are currently on a low carb diet and want to mix sugar
alcohol products into your diet, it is very important that you
monitor your total sugar alcohol intake--and keep it at a
minimum while consuming a healthy diet.

One easy way to do this is to determine the total amount of
carbs in sugar alcohol products you are consuming. You can do
this by subtracting the amount of fat and protein calories per
serving from the total amount of calories per serving. Simply
multiply the grams of protein by four and the grams of fat by
nine. Now subtract the sum of the two from the total amount of
calories per serving.

Using these figures, you can determine whether or not carbs are
being "hidden" in "carb free" sugar alcohol products you
consume, allowing you to make a better-informed decision that
fits the prescriptions of your low-carb diet.

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About The Author, Benji Paras
Benji Paras runs, specializing in the
benefits of the low-carb lifestyle. The site contains a
treasure trove of information for losing weight, and includes a
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