Maltitol: Just Say No

Maltitol: Just Say No
Why Maltitol is Often More Trouble Than It’s Worth

By Laura Dolson, About.com

Updated: February 24, 2009

Let’s cut to the chase:
Maltitol has ¾ of the sweetness of sugar, ¾ the calories of sugar, and ¾ the glycemic index of sugar, it isn’t a far leap to the conclusion that you need ¼ more maltitol to get the same effect of sugar.
I ask you, how could using this kind of product be called No Sugar Added.
As I have told you countless times, if you can just cut back on the amount of real sugar that you use.
If things are used in moderation, you will be better off. (John)

Occasionally, someone will ask why their low-carb diet isn’t working as they think it should be. One of the first questions I ask is whether they are eating products with a lot of sugar alcohols such as maltitol. Although it doesn’t have the same impact on every individual, this one ingredient has been known to stall many a well-intentioned dieter. Here’s why.

What is Maltitol?
Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, an ingredient commonly used in low-carb or “sugar-free” products such as candy and nutrition bars. It is used so much because of its similarity to sugar in terms of taste, mouth feel, and interaction with other ingredients. Products which use maltitol and other sugar alcohols as sweeteners can be called “sugar free.” Although claims are often made that maltitol has little impact on blood sugar, this turns out not to be the case.

Maltitol Has Carbs
Maltitol is a carbohydrate. Although our bodies do not absorb all the calories in maltitol, this substance does provide us with 2 to 3 calories per gram, compared to the 4 calories per gram of sugar. (For what its worth, I have noticed that the claim of 2 calories per gram usually comes from literature provided by the manufacturer or the low calorie food industry whereas other analyses tend to be closer to 3 calories.) Since maltitol is a carbohydrate, and since it provides calories, you would expect it to impact blood glucose. You would be correct.

Maltitol Has a Relatively High Glycemic Index
In particular, maltitol syrup has a glycemic index of 52, which approaches that of table sugar at 60. The powdered form has a glycemic index of 36, which is still higher than most other sugar alcohols and all artificial sweeteners.

Maltitol is Not as Sweet As Sugar
Estimates run from 75% to 90% of the sweetness of sugar. Again, the information provided by industry groups tends to give the 90% figure, while other sources say 75%. So, if maltitol has ¾ of the sweetness of sugar, ¾ the calories of sugar, and ¾ the glycemic index of sugar, it isn’t a far leap to the conclusion that you need ¼ more maltitol to get the same effect of sugar, which will give you close to the same effect in most other ways (except for dental cavities). You are basically getting expensive sugar. And…a bonus:

Maltitol can Cause Intestinal Discomfort
Usually this takes the form of intestinal gas and cramping, but some people may find themselves with diarrhea. If you decide to eat products with maltitol, you’d be wise to start with a small amount and judge the reaction — as well whether you’ll be in a crowded room a few hours later.

Alternatives to Maltitol:
Guess that will require more research, for the place that first did this article says the best alternatives to products with maltitol are products made with erythritol often in combination with artificial sweetners such as sucralose (Splenda). However the problem with Splenda is it is extracted with a chemical, so it is hardly natural and many people including me have problems with Splenda.(John)

Again I can’t tell you enough times not to go by the word of the companies who make things, the FDA and the USDA. Your health is not their bottom line. Their bottom line is greed. Your health depends on knowledge. Make sure the knowledge you are living on is correct. Until the world stops living by greed, you will remain just an experiment to play with.(John)

And the reason I brought this up is because I was given a No Sugar Added candy bar called Almond With Smooth Milk Chocolate Candy made by Ross Chocolates. And it’s first ingredient is Maltitol.
11 October 2009

Info from:
www.about.com
www.thecookinginn.com

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