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TOPIC: Sugar Alcohol Grams versus Sugar Grams

 
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September 12, 2008 5:11 PM
Note that many food items labeled as "Sugar Free" actually contain "sugar alcohols." According to the Diabetes Institutes Foundation, sugar alcohol is neither a sugar nor an alcohol. Sugar alcohol is considered a "nutritive sweetener". Sugar alcohols generally have half the sweetness and half the calories of sugar, so this is why they are frequently used by the food industry to sweeten foods.

What is important for myfitnesspal.com members is that when you are entering a new food item to share with the group, please note that when reading the food label, take the number of grams of sugar alcohol and divide in half. For example, if a food label has no sugar but has 18 grams of sugar alcohol, this is actually equal to about 9 grams of sugar. I've noticed that people not familiar with sugar alcohol just list the total grams as if they were regular sugar grams. For everyone watching their sugar intake, you're actually taking in 1/2 the grams of real sugar when you use a food item containing sugar alcohol:)

Also, if all the grams of carbohydrate come from sugar alcohol and the grams of sugar alcohol are less than 10, it can be considered a free food. If the grams of sugar alcohol are greater than 10, subtract half of the sugar alcohol grams from the total carbohydrate grams and count the remaining grams as actual carbohydrate. For example, if the label shows 14 grams of sugar alcohol and 30 grams of total carbohydrate (14 - 7 = 7 and 30 - 7 = 23), there are 23 grams of actual carbohydrate (1).
September 12, 2008 5:31 PM
frown
No idea what any of that meant, crap. Can anyone dumb that down for me?
  80078
September 12, 2008 5:36 PM
But where is the sugar alcohol listed? Can you give us an example food?

Ken
September 12, 2008 5:38 PM
They'll be on sugar-free foods that use sugar alcohols instead of sugar to sweeten. I don't pay that much attention to them myself (diabetic here). but then sugar alcohols do terrible things to my digestion so I usually avoid them like the plague.
  53226
September 13, 2008 10:11 AM
Take a look at the back of a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's Sugar Free Syrup. You'll see a listing for Sugar Alc 12g. This means there are 12 grams of Sugar Alcohol (Alc) which translates into ONLY 6g of regular sugar.

Sugar Alcohols are regularly used as substitutes for sugar. With everyone counting calories you'd hate to credit yourself with more sugar than is actually included:)
September 13, 2008 10:14 AM
I agree that if you consume a large amount of sugar alcohol you COULD suffer from bloating, gas and other digestive discomfort. One of the downsides to sugar alcohol is that they are not as easily digested as regular sugars. The plus to this is that since your body doesn't digest it as completely it also doesn't store it in your body like sugar, hence the reason for its use as a sugar substitute.
September 13, 2008 10:21 AM
I've never heard this about sugar alcohol, thanks for the info. I try to avoid the sugar alcohols, it doesn't take much for me to have stomach problems with it.

Anita
  88906

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