What are alcohol sugars
All nosugarswiss products contain erythritol but you might be wondering what that is.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. Despite what the name suggests, alcohol sugars will not get you drunk, because they don't contain ethanol. The name comes from the fact that their chemical structure is similar to alcohol and sugar, but technically sugar alcohols are neither of those things. However, sugar alcohols behave like sugars to our taste buds which makes them a great alternative for refined sugar.
Some sugar alcohols are naturally found in fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, and even avocado. However most sugar alcohols are made by adding hydrogen to carbohydrates which changes the chemical bond, creating a sugar alcohol.
Erythritol is made by a process of fermenting glucose in cornstarch. It’s 70% as sweet as table sugar, but contains 99.99% less calories!
Most of the time sugar alcohols end in “ol”, which makes them easy to identify on an ingredient list, for example, sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol, however, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH) are also sugar alcohols.
Erythritol has a glycemic index (GI) of zero, which means it does not raise blood sugar levels. The glycemic index rates the rise in blood sugar levels two hours after eating a certain food from 0 to 100. Most chemical sugars have very low GI when compared to other types of sugar. A GI level of 0 to 55 is considered low, which is where sugar alcohols fall. White sugar has a high GI of 68, and corn syrup has a GI of 90!
Alcohol sugars are beneficial for those with diabetes due to the negligible effect on blood sugar levels. Table sugar contains 4 calories per gram, compared to erythritol which only has 0.24 calories per gram!
Sugar alcohols are popular in sugar-free chewing gum, and dental products because they don't cause cavities like other types of sugar do. They can also be used in baking as they have a similar texture to table sugar but contain less calories. Sugar alcohols also do not lose sweetness or change their taste when heated like some alternatives to refined sugar do.
Other sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect and cause cramping if taken in high quantities, but erythritol doesn't have that effect. Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and mannitol can cause cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea if consumed often and in large amounts because the small intestine is not able to absorb them properly. There are less calories in sugar alcohols when compared to refined sugar because calories are not fully absorbed by our bodies.
Erythritol is mostly absorbed into the bloodstream, whereas other types of sugar alcohol such as xylitol and sorbitol which end up in the large intestine in bigger quantities. Products with sugar alcohols that can have this effect, often come with a warning on the packaging.
The bottom line is that sugar alcohols are a highly recommended alternative to refined sugar, however, remember not to go overboard with them due to the adverse gastrointestinal side effects caused by high consumption.
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