In todays low carbohydrate landscape, consumers and marketers are reaching for anything that allows them to eat tastier foods, or market them. Since the Atkins diet was released 10 years ago, low carbohydrates foods are no longer placed in the back of the super market.
As a result, we MUST have some bars and foods that taste good for the low carbs, right?
Enter sugar alcohols and the deceiving truth behind them. As a society we’re very focused on counting our carbohydrates, I myself count them in all my diets every day.
“Net impact carbs”
That usually is splashed on low carb shakes and bars as a way to convince the consumer (YOU) that the amount of carbs on the back of the label aren’t the amount that your body will absorb. How can this be?
Most informed diabetics will tell you that the listed carbohydrates minus the fiber equals the net impact carbs. While that’s true, it’s not the whole truth.
Most prepackaged foods also contain glycerine, sugar alcohols and polydextorse. We’re told that they “have minimal impact on blood sugar”.
So is Dr.Atkins to blame? Orignially, his stance was that sweeteners such as “sorbitol, mannitol and other sugar alcohols” were not allowed in his diet. Yet in 2002, he changed his stance to say that you don’t have to count the sugar alcohols as they are “non-blood sugar impacting carbs”.
They have very little, if any, effect on blood sugar. Not sugar alcohols.
Livesey did a study in 2003 showing that only two sugar alcohols have a glycemic index of zero (mannitol and erythritol). Maltitol syrup intermediate and regular both have a higher GI index then orange juice or spaghetti.
Sugar Alcohols such as sorbitol actually raise your blood sugar slower then pure sugar but still spike blood sugar rapidly.
Maltitol and its syrups, which are the most common sugar alcohols used, impact blood sugar significantly.
Erythritol and mannitol have no blood sugar effect.
Lactitol, sorbitol, xylitol and isomalt have a minimal effect.
Sugar Alcohols are no different then other carbohydrates. They have different affects on blood sugar. Treat them like that.