What are Sugar Alcohols
Contrary to their name, sugar alcohols are neither sugar, nor alcohol. They are compounds derived (mostly chemically) from sugars that also have properties of alcohol molecules, hence the name. Sugar alcohols due occur naturally, but most found in food are man-made via chemical reactions.
What is Sugar Alcohols’ Role in Food
Sugar alcohols primary role in food is that of a sweetener. Since sugar alcohols cannot be fully digested by the body, they do not provide a source of energy or calories, which is why some foods can be listed as “zero sugars” and “zero calories” and still be sweet through the use of sugar alcohols.
What Foods Contain Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols can mainly be found in sweets and snacks that boast “low carb”, “no carb”, and “zero sugar” claims. Many of these foods are marketed to low carb diets like the Keto Diet and Adkins Diet because sugar alcohols do not count as sugars (or carbs) on the nutrition label since they are not digested by the body and therefore do not have the same effect on blood sugar like sugar does.
Are Sugar Alcohols Healthy?
The short answer: In our opinion, no. While sugar alcohols can provide some specific benefits for health-related conditions such as diabetes (due to their lack of effect on blood sugar), and do not contribute to tooth decay like normal sugars, we feel as if there are too many adverse effects and reasons why sugar alcohols should not be a part of a healthy diet. Here are the six reasons we think so: