When following a keto diet, you must also check your sugar intake. Usually, approx. 50 gm of sugar intake is permitted per day during a keto diet. Reducing sugar and increasing your healthy fat is critical when following a keto diet. When your body enters ketosis, it burns fat instead of sugar for fuel. Therefore, keeping your sugar intake to the recommended limit is important. One effective way to do this is by including sugar alcohols in your diet.
Sugar alcohols have a similar taste and texture to sugar, and the best part is they have fewer calories and less of an effect on blood sugar levels. Hence, it could be an excellent choice for you if you feel sugar cravings while following the keto diet, since maintaining a healthy weight requires a reduced sugar intake. Let us try to understand more about sugar alcohol so that you know exactly how to use them in your daily diet.
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What Are Sugar Alcohols?
Sugar alcohols fall into the category of carbohydrates known as “polyol.” They resemble alcohol and sugar to some extent, they are sweeteners with several distinct chemical properties compared to other sugar molecules. Unlike most sugars, which contain only a few carbon atoms, sugar alcohols typically have five or more carbons.
These sugar alcohols have become a substitute for sugar in various foods. Especially when consuming something with a “sugar-free” label, you could assume it could have sorbitol, erythritol, and other types of sugar alcohol in it.
They also tend to have multiple hydroxyl groups, which give them their characteristic sweetness. In addition, although many sugars are water-soluble, most forms of sugar alcohol are not.
It means you could add these to food without altering its texture or making it soggy. Sugar alcohols’ distinct chemical composition and physical properties make them essential ingredients in various foods and beverages if you want to consume lower sugar daily. Sugary beverages may also cause an increased risk of early colorectal cancer.
When it comes to the sugar composition in them, sugar alcohol has fewer calories as compared to normal sugar, making them a preferred choice for people wishing to lose weight and improve their health if consumed in moderations along with dietary supplements for weight loss.
Types Of Sugar Alcohols
Several types of sugar alcohols occur naturally in plants. The most common include erythritol isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. These compounds share many similar chemical properties, including a sweet taste and the ability to undergo fermentation. However, they differ in terms of their origin and glycemic index. Which reflects how quickly a substance is converted into glucose by the body.
Xylitol: Xylitol is derived from birch bark or other hardwood trees and is said to have around 39-40% fewer calories than normal sugar.
Sorbitol: This type of sugar is obtained from glucose or fruit syrup, which could be around 59-60% as sweet as normal sugar and a one-third percentage of calories.
Erythritol: It has a low glycemic index. It tends to impact blood sugar levels less than other sugar alcohols. These different sugar alcohols offer unique benefits and should be considered when choosing a sugar substitute for cooking or baking.
Isomalt: This sugar is a combination of sorbitol and mannitol sugar alcohol. It could provide around 49-50% lesser amount of sugar calories and is usually found in sugar candies. It is around 50% of the sweetness of pure sugar.
Maltitol: It is made from sugar maltose and is about 90% as sweet as sugar but has half the number of calories than it.
Glycemic Index Of Sugar Alcohols
When adding sweeteners to your daily diet, you should check their effects on the body. You could do so by checking their glycemic index or GI. This metric could measure how quickly various foods can raise blood sugar levels, with a lower GI indicating a slower and more gradual increase in blood sugar.
Given this information, it becomes clear that one of the significant differences between sugar alcohols and traditional sweeteners is the speed at which the body absorbs them.
For example, erythritol has an extremely low GI of 0, meaning it does not affect blood sugar levels much compared to other sweeteners. Meanwhile, sugars like maltitol and sorbitol have higher GIs of 35-52 and 9, respectively. Finally, some sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, have even higher GI values nearing the 7-13 range.
It means that foods and drinks containing these sugars will cause a much quicker rise in blood sugar than those with erythritol or isomalt. Comparing sweeteners based on their GI can provide valuable insight into their effects on the body. And help people make more informed choices about what they consume daily.
Sugar Alcohols And Keto
When on the keto diet, sugar intake should be limited to prevent blood sugar levels from rising. In daily life, consuming too much sugar could also be problematic, and it can also hurt your body’s ability to function in ketosis. As a result, when looking for decent results, it is essential to maintain a low sugar intake when it comes to the keto diet.
Sugar alcohol and its effects on blood sugar levels should be researched and studied so that the scientific community can reach an appropriate conclusion. Some believe all sugar alcohols are detectable in the bloodstream and should be avoided on a keto diet. In contrast, others argue that certain sugar alcohols have little effect on blood sugar levels or insulin production and can even be considered keto-friendly. However, you should stay within the 50 grams of sugar intake limit when following a keto diet.
At the outset, it’s important to note that all sources of carbohydrates affect blood glucose and insulin in some way. There is no “negligible” regarding carb consumption and its impact on blood glucose levels. However, the effect of most sugar alcohols is considerably less pronounced than that of other familiar sources of carbohydrates like starches or added sugars.
Having said all that, one type of sugar alcohol that does affect blood glucose significantly more than others is maltitol. This compound has been shown to raise blood glucose by up to 40%, which makes it unsuitable for individuals with diabetes or on a strict keto diet. When it comes to managing your intake of sugar alcohol to keep your blood glucose under control while following a keto diet, maltitol should be limited or avoided altogether. For everyone else, however, moderate amounts of different types of sugar alcohol can have a few ill effects on your overall health – if any at all!
Absorption And Digestions
Sugar alcohols are often considered more healthful than traditionally added sugars. That’s because sugar alcohols contain fewer calories per gram, and even this study suggests, they may benefit blood glucose control. Furthermore, sugar alcohols are believed to not raise blood pressure or promote tooth decay, unlike many other sweeteners.
Despite their numerous health benefits, sugar alcohols can cause digestive upset when consumed in high amounts. Although most people tolerate them well, even when consumed in moderate quantities.
People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) condition should be cautious and avoid large quantities together if necessary. It is because sugar alcohols act as a food source for gut bacteria, producing gas that can lead to cramping and diarrhea.
So while these sweet additives are generally safe for most individuals, those with sensitive digestive tracts should take precautions when using them in their diet. Further studies and research is needed to point out the exact side effects when it comes to the regular usage of sugar alcohol.
Sugar alcohols are low-calorie sweeteners and may have a little or very negligible effect on blood sugar levels. It makes them an excellent choice for you if you are diabetic or are following the keto diet. They support healthy blood sugar levels and have fewer carbs than regular sugar. Several types of sugar alcohols are available, each with unique characteristics and benefits.
To specifically point out while concluding this article about sugar alcohols, Erythritol is popular due to its chemical makeup and flavor profile. At the same time, xylitol is frequently used as an alternative sweetener for those with allergies or sensitivities. However, you should avoid adding Maltitol for its increased effect on blood sugar, and you may avoid adding it to your keto meals. Ultimately, the usage of the best sugar alcohol depends on your needs and preferences. So if you’re looking for a low-calorie keto-friendly sweetener, be sure to research and consider all your options before making a final decision.