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Question:

From Alexandria, Virginia, USA:

Recently I found some very good sugar-free cookies. The label says they have no sugar, but do contain sugar alcohols. What are sugar alcohols and how do they affect blood glucose levels?

Answer:

Sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol are made of starch which has had extra hydrogen added to it, forming an alcohol. These alcohols have a very much lessened effect on blood glucose levels than regular starches, as in bread and pasta, and also less of an effect than sugars. Carbohydrates contribute 4 calories per gram (a small piece of fruit has about 60 calories or 15 grams of carbohydrate). However, sugar alcohols provide about 2 calories per gram.

Very importantly, these sugar alcohols can cause severe diarrhea if used in even moderate amounts. Also, oftentimes products made with these sweeteners do not taste quite right and then the real food is often craved even more. I would suggest using carbohydrate counting and including the regular food in the meal plan. Please see your local dietitian for help on this. However if you have found a food with these sugar alcohols and you enjoy the food, be sure to consume in moderation.

LSF

Original posting 2 Oct 1998
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:00
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