How should one count sugar alcohol when computing the net carb value? Treat it like normal carb, subtract it like fiber, or something in between?
Q: How should one count sugar alcohol when computing the net carb value? Treat it like normal carb, subtract it like fiber, or something in between?
Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, have a similar but slightly different molecular structure to sugar, which results in them being only partially absorbed in your small intestine. Because of this, they have a much lower impact on blood sugar than sugar, honey, agave and other nutritive sweeteners.
As far as computing the net carb value, certain types of sugar alcohols may result in a slight to moderate rise in blood sugar.
For instance, one of the most common sugar alcohols found in sugar-free products, maltitol, seems to raise blood sugar considerably more than others. Therefore, it's a good idea to count at least half of the sugar alcohol carbs. On the other hand, erythritol has a minimal impact on blood sugar, if any. If a sugar-free product's sole sugar alcohol is erythritol, you can probably subtract all of those carbs from the total. Other sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol fall somewhere in between maltitol and erythritol in terms of glycemic impact.
However, blood sugar response to the various sugar alcohols may vary from person to person, so testing your blood sugar after consuming these sweeteners is your best bet.
Answered by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE
Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE
Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California.
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