Sugar Alcohols and Low Carb Diets

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What should you know about sugar alcohols? During a very low carb diet, you will begin reading labels on anything and everything you purchase. While cutting back on processed and packaged foods is highly recommended, there are still times when you might want to get a low carb treat or snack from your nearby grocery store. One thing you will notice with low-carb packaged foods is that they often include something about sugar alcohols. Here is more information on these and why they are important.

Sugar- Free Isn’t Really Sugar- Free

This is one of the most common misconceptions about sugar alcohols. While the artificial sweeteners and “natural” sugars found in your favorite low-carb or sugar-free foods don’t affect your daily carb count the way normal sugar does, they are still there. These are known as sugar alcohols, which react in different ways. There are some sugar alcohols that don’t metabolize right, so while they are from natural sources, you might hit a stall eating too many of them. Other sugar alcohols, like maltitol, should be avoided because they are difficult to digest and can cause a lot of digestive issues.

Types of Sugar Alcohols

When you are on a low carb diet, you should get used to reading labels on everything you eat. One thing you might notice is when looking at the nutritional label, there is something in there called “sugar alcohols.” This label is there to remind you that you can remove it-more on that later. But you might also see them listed under the ingredients. You probably recognize some sugar alcohols, while others aren’t as obvious right away. Some sugar alcohols include maltitol, erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, and isomalt.

The Bottom Line

Sugar alcohols aren’t necessarily bad for you, but you should note how you feel after consuming them. If you get a low-carb candy bar that is made with certain types of sugar alcohols, and you notice it keeps giving you stomach cramps, them your body is not digesting it properly. Some people tend to be more sensitive than others.

As far as their impact on keto or low carb itself, that will depend on how much you consume. In general, you can remove the sugar alcohols when determining net carbs, which many labels will show you. This makes it easier to fit them into your daily low carb allotment. You should eat these treats sparingly and try to stick to more whole, natural, low carb food options instead.

I hope this helps. When I first started doing low carb, the sugar alcohols confused me. I hope you have a great weekend.

Talk to you soon,

Tammy 🙂


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