Sugar alcohols are a combination of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules. Over the years, they have become a popular alternative to traditional sugar because they have fewer adverse effects. However, this doesn't mean they are suitable for regular consumption.
While you can use them when you need to flavor your beverage once in a while, taking them every day can cause some health problems. At Dr. Jen's, we encourage people to consider natural alternatives or give up sugar entirely. Here's a look at some reasons why you should avoid sugar alcohols:
1. They Aren’t Good For Digestion
Most people experience digestive problems after consuming excessive amounts of sugar alcohol. Our body can't digest these compounds, so they reach the large intestine relatively intact. The gut bacteria are tasked with breaking them down, which can lead to gas, bloating, and even diarrhea. People with IBS and other such digestive disorders are particularly vulnerable to this and should avoid the compound as much as possible. Regular consumption can cause significant gastrointestinal distress, which can take a toll on your overall health.
2. Sugar Cravings
Everyone experiences the desire to eat something sweet once in a while. It is common to seek out a sugary beverage, chocolate, candy, or other such items to satisfy this craving. Most sugar alcohols have a low glycemic index or GI, which makes them a much healthier alternative. They are also low in calories, so you are less likely to put on weight after consuming it. However, the body has a specific response to sugar and will expect a sweet item to deliver a set amount of calories. If your food doesn't provide the calories, it will trigger an intense sugar craving that will compel you to eat something else. That defeats the purpose of consuming sugar alcohol in the first place.
4. We Don’t Know About the Long-Term Effects
While research does suggest that these compounds are better than sugar in the short term, there’s very little conclusive evidence to indicate they are safe for long-term consumption. It is much better to consume fruits and vegetables with natural sweetness than to take sugar alcohol. Unless there’s any concrete proof that these compounds don’t cause long-term side-effects, it is a good idea to avoid them.
Different Types of Sugar Alcohols
You can only avoid sugar alcohols if you know how to identify them. These compounds are present in a surprising number of processed food products and ‘sugar-free’ items. When products mention ‘sugar-free or no-sugar’ on the label, they often contain sugar alcohols as a substitute. You need to look at the ingredient list to see if any of the following compounds are mentioned:
All of these compounds have different GIs and are considered good alternatives to processed sugar. If you want to avoid sugar alcohol, don't consume the ingredients mentioned above, or just consume them in limited amounts. They are often found in baked goods, cough drops and syrups, candies, gums, chocolates, chewable vitamins, ice creams, puddings, and toothpaste.
People can live without added sugar and still enjoy a little sweetness in life. This is an addictive substance, and you will experience a few withdrawal symptoms at first. Consuming low-sugar items like our protein bars can help you get on the right track to eliminating sugar from your diet. Consider getting Dr. Jen's Ultimate Protein Bars if you experience a craving and need an energizing sweet snack. They are sweet but have low sugar content and are full of nutritious ingredients that are good for your health.