Sugar alcohols are one form of reduced-calorie sweetener which is used in a variety of products including gummy supplements, ice creams, candy bars, cookies, puddings, and chewing gums. Sugar alcohols hold fewer calories as compared to sugar. They also have a lower impact on blood sugar within the body. Sugar alcohols, do not contain actual alcohol, nor do they contain any sugar, making them a great component when private labeling a supplement.
Examples of Sugar Alcohols
Naturally Found vs. Manufactured
Some sugar alcohols transpire naturally in plants and can be extracted, such as mannitol from seaweed. Most sugar alcohols are manufactured and are derived from sugars as well as starches.
Reactions to Alcohol Sugars
Individuals eating foods containing alcohol sugars can have discomforting reactions to the ingredient. Notable reactions include diarrhea, bloating, and gastric discomfort. When using these sugar-free products, cautious experimentation is recommended.
Impact on Blood Sugar
Although alcohol sugars are “similar” to sugar in some ways, they are not completely absorbed by the body. For this reason, alcohol sugars do not “fully impact” blood sugar levels like sugar does. Each type of alcohol sugar will respond differently in the body.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a standard measurement tool which provides information about how food, or product, impacts blood sugar. The figure assigned is based on the type of carbohydrate contained in the food item.
Low GI foods will range from 0 to 55, followed by medium GI foods in the range from 56 to 69. High GI foods will range 70 and above. Meats will hold a value of zero (0) since they do not have any carbohydrates.
Comparison of Alcohol Sugars
The Glycemic Index for sugar is 60, so it is considered a medium GI ingredient. Maltitol holds a GI of 36 is lowering the impact on one’s blood sugar, although it is not as sweet as sugar itself. Isomalt and sorbitol hold a very low GI of 9 while lactitol has a GI of 6. Different alcohol sugars impact blood sugar in a different way within the body.