What are sugar alcohols and how do they affect us?

Let’s talk about what sugar alcohols and and how they affect us? 

If you’ve been following a ketogenic diet for a while, then you’ve probably come across foods containing sugar alcohols. These sugar substitutes are widely used in the food industry to reduce the amount of added sugar in low-carb or low-sugar products.


Sugar alcohols come in many forms. Things like glycerin, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, lactitol and maltitol. 


Sugar alcohols provide a sweetness similar to sugar, but without all the calories and the unwanted metabolic effects. Unlike sugar and sugar-containing sweeteners, sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed by your body.


Sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed in the gut, which means they provide roughly half the calories that sugar does. Thanks to this incomplete and slower absorption, there is a minimal effect on your blood sugar and insulin response. 


When sugar alcohols reach your small intestine, instead of being rapidly absorbed and entering circulation, they are only partly absorbed. The remaining unabsorbed sugar alcohol moves on to your large intestine and never make it into your bloodstream so they don’t significantly interfere with the fat burning process. However, since some of the sugar alcohols aren’t fully absorbed in the gut, there is the potential that consuming too much may have a laxative effect or cause you some gastrointestinal problems.

 

Since Sugar alcohols are just a type of carbohydrate and they don’t usually have a big impact on blood sugar levels some of them are great for keto desserts,but there are different types of sugar alcohols and they can all act in different ways in your body. 


So Let’s talk about the different sugar alcohols. 

My favorite is Erythritol it’s almost completely excreted in your urine so it does not affect blood sugar, and is less likely to cause adverse intestinal symptoms.In my opinion, it’s the perfect sugar substitute on keto.

Next there’s Xylitol it’s sweetness is very close to the sweetness of regular sugar and it has a relatively low glycemic index, which means it does not affect blood sugar levels very much. It can also help with dental health, it promotes good bacteria in the gut, and it has also been linked to increased collagen production. Unfortunately though, it can cause gastric problems, so if you’re considering it for your keto desserts or to sweeten a cup of tea, it should be used sparingly until you know how it affects you.You should also be weary of using xylitol if you have animals because it is extremely toxic and can even be lethal for them. 

Other sugar alcohols include Maltitol, sorbitol, lactitol, glycerol, and isomalt, The problem with these sugar alcohols is,they have a very high glycemic index, which means that they can spike your blood sugar levels,  because of this they are not recommended on the keto diet.




Sugar alcohols tend to produce a lower glucose response overall,.However, there is still a debate as to whether the amount of sugar alcohols used will actually give you a reduction in carbs or not. Some people choose to count all sugar alcohols as if they were carbs, which is what I do. But if you decide to subtract sugar alcohols from your carb counts to get net carbs, remember to subtract only 5 grams of the sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrate count to get the net carb count in order to make sure the sugar alcohol does not have a negative effect on your blood sugar levels.


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