Keto dieters need a little sweetness in their lives! Since white sugar does not contain any nutrients, you should avoid all the normal sweeteners for a Keto diet, this includes honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and agave.
As a result, a lot of people rely on sugar alcohols (which are low calorie sweeteners) to fulfill their craving for something sweet. Do not be concerned, they are not comparable to the alcoholic beverages you consume!
Chemically, sugar alcohols are composed of sugars that have an alcohol group attached. Also, for those following the ketogenic diet, drinking alcohol will probably cause them to lose their condition of ketosis.
In this article, we’ll address the questions you may have: what exactly are sugar alcohols, what are the most popular sugar alcohols, and is it okay to have sugar alcohols when following a ketogenic diet?
Sugar alcohol is a substitute for sugar that has fewer calories and won’t cause a quick jump in blood sugar levels.
Alternative phrasing: Polyols, which have another designation, are some of the most commonly employed substitutes for sugar in the food business, mainly for the purpose of reducing the amount of sugar in low-carb or low-sugar products.
Sugar alcohols are incorrectly named, since they are neither sugar nor alcohol, but rather a new type of carbohydrate combined from the two. Alcoholic drinks do not possess ethanol, the component that gives someone a high.
Certain forms of sugar alcohols can be found in some types of fruit and vegetables, however the majority of them have been manufactured from glucose, sucrose, and starches. They are not as sugary as sugar and tend to create a chill sensation in the mouth.
Sugar Alcohols Raising Blood Glucose
Consuming food that contains a lot of sugar will cause a significant increase in the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. On the other hand, if you choose to eat a meal that is low in sugar and high in fat and protein, this will greatly reduce the amount of sugar released into your bloodstream.
The greater the quantity of blood sugar, the more insulin you will require. The primary responsibility of this entity is to move the glucose from the bloodstream and supply sustenance to cells in need of energy.
If you follow a low-carb regimen or abstain from sugar due to diabetes, the number one advantage is the regulation of sugar concentrations in the bloodstream, plus maximum minimization of the insulin reaction.
How do sugar alcohols work in your body
Your body does not completely take in sugar alcohols like it does sugar and other sugar-based sweeteners.
When sugar alcohols get to the small intestine, they are not quickly taken in and delivered throughout the body, but rather they are only somewhat taken in and at a very slow speed.
The rest of the sugar alcohol that was not taken up by the digestive system goes to the large intestine, and does not end up in the blood. Erythritol is the least likely to be taken up, while sorbitol is the most likely to be absorbed.
Generally, sugar alcohols cause a decreased blood sugar reaction in comparison to fructose, sucrose, and glucose (the most ordinary nutritive forms of sugar).
A discussion still goes on whether the utilization of sugar alcohols will actually lead to a lower amount of calories or not. The type of sugar alcohol is particularly influential.
The glycemic index of the three main sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) is greater than that of most sugar alcohols, yet the rate of absorption of each sugar alcohol is not the same.
It is believed that anything with a glycemic level lower than 55 is considered low-glycemic.
Most Common Sugar Alcohols
Erythritol is dissimilar to the other sweeteners that were mentioned prior, although it is in the sugar alcohol family. To begin with, it has almost no calories, with approximately less than 0.3 calories in every gram.
Even though it contains few calories, it still has a sweetness level that is roughly 70% that of regular sugar. Erythritol is different from other sugar alcohols in that it is absorbed entirely into the bloodstream before reaching the digestion tract, rather than passing through the digestive system but being only partially or not at all absorbed.
It’s then passed through urine. Therefore, it has no influence on glucose levels. This makes erythritol an excellent choice of sweetener for individuals such as diabetics and those on a ketogenic diet who wish to keep their blood sugar levels stable.
Erythritol appears as white granules and can be utilized in any situation where regular sugar is typically used.
Isomalt has half the sweetness of normal sugar, but won’t raise your blood glucose levels as it has an extremely low glycemic index of 2. It contains about 2 calories per gram. Isomalt differs from other sweeteners in that it retains its sweetness when heated, unlike some of its counterparts that lose their sweetness when heated.
It doesn’t absorb a lot of liquid, so it is typically used in solid items like hard candies and throat lozenges.
Bakers and pastry chefs avidly use Isomalt due to its controlling over nearly all of the desirable qualities of sugar when cake decorating, such as resisting crystallization and preventing the sugar from clumping in damp conditions.
Maltitol has 2.1 calories per gram, and it is 75% as sweet as sugar. It is widely used to make hard candy, but it is also commonly incorporated into various other items such as chewing gum, chocolate, ice cream, and baked goods. Maltitol has the most capability to provoke a change in blood sugar levels out of all the sugar alcohols.
Mannitol has a lower calorie count than sucrose, with each gram containing 1.6 calories, and has a sweetness that is about half to two-thirds that of table sugar. This is a component that can be used for a coating of chocolate taste used for ice cream and other sweets. The body doesn’t absorb it effectively in the kidneys, so it might act like a diuretic.
Fruits such as apples and berries have sorbitol in them naturally. Its manufacturing is the basis of corn syrup.
Sorbitol is not quite as sweet as sugar, offering about 60% of sugar’s sweetness, and also has fewer calories per gram with 2.6, which is around 30% fewer than table sugar. Sorbitol can be used in confectionery items such as candy, gum, cakes, and ice cream. It has a glycemic index of 4.
Xylitol can be found in various types of plants such as corn cobs, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and several types of grains. It is just as pleasant tasting as sugar yet holds nearly 60% fewer calories (2.4 per gram instead of 4 calories per gram for sugar).
Xylitol has a glycemic ranking of 7, and about 4 grams total of carbohydrates for every teaspoon. Xylitol can be located in chewing gum, sweets that do not contain sugar, mints, and products used for dental care such as toothpaste.
You can find it in stores in a sugar-like crystalline form, which makes it perfect for adding to smoothies or blending in coffee. It is important for those who own pets to be aware that this type of sugar alcohol, although harmless to people, can cause harm to dogs even if given in only a tiny amount.
The Health Pros of Sugar Alcohols
Given that the process of making and using sugar alcohols has been explained, the inquiry persists – are they healthy? They do have health benefits, but must be taken with some reservation. Examine the pros and cons of sugar alcohols.
They Help to Prevent Cavities
It is a widely accepted fact that excessive amounts of sugar can be the primary catalyst for tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth are nourished by sugar, resulting in the formation of acids that can erode the enamel that protects your teeth. When the enamel breaks down, cavities form.
Toothpaste and mouthwash that contain xylitol have been studied to see if it is beneficial for oral healthcare. When the bacteria consume xylitol, it cannot be broken down, thus disrupting their growth. The acid remains blocked off, thus shielding your teeth.
Research into Erythritol has been conducted, albeit not to the same extent as Xylitol. Evidence suggests that school-aged children may be safeguarded against tooth decay.
They Act as Prebiotics
Sugar alcohols are not totally broken down during digestion, so they can help to cultivate beneficial bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that cannot be broken down by the human body.
The microbes ultimately end up in the digestive system, where they provide nourishment to the beneficial bacteria. In addition, prebiotics can help reduce blood sugar spikes. Xylitol acts as a prebiotic.
They May Protect Against Osteoporosis
Research using rats has indicated that Xylitol could elevate bone mineral content and density. This study has not yet been conducted on humans, but the results appear to be optimistic.
They May Promote Skin Health
Research has revealed that xylitol has the potential to upsurge collagen synthesis in rats. Collagen is a plentiful protein in the body that binds the structures together. Collagen is located in the epidermis, as well as the connective tissue, musculature, and skeletal system.
The Health Cons of Sugar Alcohols
They Can Cause Digestive Issues
If you eat a great deal of sugar alcohols, they can result in symptoms such as swelling, flatulence, and loose stools.
Partially digested sugar alcohols go to your large intestine, where they are then broken down. If someone has a big intake of it, it might cause some unpleasant feelings, but this will vary according to how much was taken and the particular person’s physique.
Maltitol Can Raise Blood Sugar
Maltitol is composed of sugars that are held together, and once ingested, the bond is separated and the glucose is freed into the system. Eating certain foods can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels when digested in the small intestine.
It Is Easy to Accidentally Consume Too Much
It is possible for someone to consume an excessive amount of food when they are aware that it is without sugar.
The issue is that while these sugar alcohols usually have fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular sugar, eating a lot of them could still produce the same outcome. Do not be fooled by the fact that a product claims to be sugar-free and consequently consume more of it.
Xylitol Is Toxic to Dogs
It is imperative to be aware that dogs should not be given xylitol. When individuals consume sugar, their organs recognize it and an excessive amount of insulin is then generated.
Their physical response is to draw sugar out of the blood, which can create an abnormal drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). This condition could lead to death, so make sure to keep your canine away from xylitol.
The Healthiest Sugar Alcohol
Erythritol is deemed the most beneficial sugar alcohol overall. No appreciable amount of calories are present and it will not alter blood sugar levels. Furthermore, it induces the least digestive disorders because mostly it is expelled through urinary function.
Sugar Alcohols as Keto-Friendly
The answer is “it depends”.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that doesn’t increase blood glucose levels, and it is easy to digest. It is essential to manage one’s blood sugar while following the keto diet, but it is also important to consider how the quality of food and the potential long-term consequences of foods and beverages like sugar and alcohol could affect one’s health.
Although some sugar alcohols have no effect on blood sugar levels, it is too hard to make the determination if they are part of a healthy ketogenic diet.
Processed foods lack essential nutrition and can cause unwanted digestive difficulties. Further investigation is necessary to understand the impacts of taking high doses regularly over an extended period. But it doesn’t indicate that you can’t savor some sugar substitutes on occasion.
It is essential to make sure your keto lifestyle is interesting if you want to remain on the diet for the long haul.
It’s important to be mindful of how much sugar alcohols you are consuming, as they may result in some digestive discomfort, so make sure you pick the right type for yourself. Choosing the reliable sugar substitutes such as stevia and monk fruit is a secure and equally tasty wager.
Researchers have done a lot of work to make sure that artificial sweeteners are safe to use as an alternative to sugar in food.
The flavor is almost identical to sugar, in addition, they are far more intense in sweetness so only a small quantity is required. The advantage is that they give off minimal, if any, calories to the food or drink, and they are not linked to the formation of cavities.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed rules and regulations surrounding the use of low-calorie sweeteners, mandating that food and beverage suppliers only employ quantities which completely remove any possible health risks associated with consuming the usual daily recommendation over the entire course of an individual’s life.
They reduced the expected risk level by a factor of 100, guaranteeing that these goods are secure.
Furthermore, these items have been found to be secure for almost everyone, with only a few exceptions. Research has indicated that there is no association between them and cancer or any other health issues. In addition, they can help with weight loss.
Sweeteners with a low number of calories that typically don’t cause a change in your blood sugar levels are called sugar alcohols. Therefore, they are a common option for individuals on a low-carbohydrate diet for adding sweetness to food and drinks.
Remember that some choices may be more desirable than others. When it comes to sweetening coffee or making low-carb desserts and snacks, consider using sugar alcohols such as erythritol or xylitol.
Limit your intake of these sweeteners in order to prevent any potential stomach issues.
Erythritol stands out to those on the keto diet specifically because it is almost completely processed in the small intestine before being released in the urine. Unlike many other sugar alcohols, it does not have any noticeable effects on the large intestine.
When talking about low-calorie sweeteners that are appropriate for keto diets, Stevia and Monks Fruit are both good choices, and Sucralose offers many advantages. It is sensible to restrain your consumption of these items that help you to remain within the state of ketosis and still have a treat now and then.