Skip Nav
Workouts
12 Emotional Stages of Going to the Gym First Thing in the Morning
What is 18:6 Intermittent Fasting?
intermittent fasting
If You Prefer an Early Dinner, This Intermittent Fasting Method Will be Easy For You
Workouts
I'm a 32G, and These Are the Only Sports Bras I Trust For Huge Boobs
Healthy Living
Activewear Sale Buys You Wont Regret Impulse Purchasing
Healthy Living
Meet the Woman Literally Boxing Her Way Through the Glass Ceiling

What Is Sugar Alcohol?

Confused What Sugar Alcohols Actually Are? This Dietitian Explains


Grabbing a sugar-free protein bar or sugar-free candy may seem like a healthier option; you'll save calories from the lack of sugar, won't experience blood sugar spikes, and it's (usually) safe for people who are keto or have diabetes. But what exactly are the sugar alcohols used instead? They're different from the traditional sweeteners we think of (stevia, sucralose, aspartame, etc.), but still add zero to minimal calories.

Sugar alcohols are naturally found in some fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms in small amounts explained Kristin Koskinen, RDN. But the most common ones are found in processed foods to add sweetness without the calories. Sugar alcohols are a carbohydrate with a unique chemical compound that's not quite sugar, but not quite alcohol.

"Different sugar alcohols include sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, and lactitol; the '-ol' is what tells us it's an alcohol, though not to be confused with ethanol [grain or drinking alcohol]," Koskinen told POPSUGAR.

Although they typically have zero to a couple calories per serving, they are poorly digested, which can have a laxative effect, she explained. Since sugar alcohols aren't completely digested, they become a food source for your gut flora, which metabolize the sugar alcohols and produce short-chain fatty acids and gas. If eaten in excess, people may experience bloating, flatulence, or stomach discomfort — not necessarily pleasant.

And while the negative side effects make sugar alcohols not seem worth it, they are considered safe when eaten in moderation. Currently, there hasn't been a set recommendation for a daily intake, but if you're worried about digestive issues, it's best to eat them in moderation. Check the label for any of the "-ol" ingredients, and luckily, most packaged food now contains grams of sugar alcohols on the nutrition label.

More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Can the Pill Affect Libido?
Personal Essay on Starting New Year's Resolutions Early
Celery Juice Benefits
Best Activewear to Shop at The Iconic Click Frenzy Sale
Tayla Harris Interview 2019
What Is Circadic Rhythm Hacking?
What is Andrographis?
How Quiting Snooze Button Makes You Feel
Best Wellness Podcasts 2018
Easy Keto Recipes
Best Wellness Christmas Gifts
Cute Swimmers for Swimming
From Our Partners
Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds