Sugar alcohol is a kind of sweetener with fewer calories in it. It is mainly extracted from the plants like berries and fruits. The carbohydrate present in these products is modified through various chemical processes. These substitutes of sugar are with reduced calories as compared to normal table sugar. The physiology behind the low-calorie content is that they are less absorbed by the small intestine and can also produce laxative effects. Thus, exhibit the least effect on blood glucose present in our body. Sugar alcohols are mainly used in food items that are labelled as “no sugar added” or “sugar free” products. These are widely used in ice cream, puddings, cookies, chewing gum and candies that claim to be sugar-free products.These sugar alcohols don’t contain any alcoholic content though they are named so.
Different types of Sugar Alcohol
- hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
- Glycerol (other names are glycerine orglycerin)
Almost all dietetic food items that claim to be sugar-free products contain these sugar alcohols. Diabetic people always remain in this misconception that the products that are being labelled as no sugar added or sugar-free will not pose any effect on their body blood sugar levels which is not true. These types of food products always contain a significant amount of carbohydrate content as well that has a direct effect on the blood sugar levels. So with this misconception, diabetic people start overeating these food items that lead to increasing blood sugar levels in their body. Therefore, all the diabetic people should take precautions while picking such food items. They should surely check the total carbohydrate content in the product and which type of sugar alcohol is present in the product and should plan their diet according to that information.
Advantages of Sugar Alcohol
Some advantages are given below
- Foods that contain sugar alcohol have low-calorie content.
- Helpful in losing weight and are also helpful in maintaining weight as they prevent weight gain.
- Some of the products contain sugar alcohol also contain less carbohydrate that is helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels.
- These low-calorie sugar alcoholic products also add flavour to desserts and help in sweetening the food without much calorie intake.
- One can add sugar alcohol to his own recipes that help in reducing calorie intake.
Disadvantages of Sugar Alcohol
Some disadvantages are given below:
- In some people, sugar alcohol products can also exhibit laxative effect or other gastro intestinal symptoms. It is especially observed in children.
- If we compare the other contents in sugar free labelled products, especially fat content, then these products contain more saturated fat or trans-fat in them.
- These sugar free labelled products are more costly and are expensive as compared to normal products thus giving no extra advantage to the people who are on a diet especially.
- These sugar-free labelled products containing sugar alcohol keep the diabetics in misconception thus making them more vulnerable to the risk of the increase in blood sugar levels in their body. One must check nutritional information on the product before buying it.