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Is Sugar Alcohol Ok For Diabetics

Types Of Artificial Sweeteners

Sweeteners For Diabetics {Sugar Alcohols}

There are various artificial sweeteners licensed for use in the UK. These include:

  • aspartame, used in Canderel, Hermesetas granulated
  • saccharin, used in Hermesetas mini sweeteners
  • sucralose, used in Splenda
  • acesulfame potassium , used in Hermesetas Gold sweetener
  • cyclamate, used in Hermesetas liquid.

Some products are made from a combination of two artificial sweeteners. For example, Hermesetas Gold sweetener is made from a blend of aspartame and acesulfame-K.

Insulin And Blood Sugar

Insulin is an important hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels. The pancreas makes insulin. It helps control your blood sugar levels by assisting the cells that absorb sugar from the bloodstream.

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesnt make insulin. This means you have to inject insulin every day.

If diet and exercise arent enough to manage blood sugar, those with type 2 diabetes may be prescribed medications to help keep blood sugar levels within target ranges.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, but may not use it properly or produce enough of it. Your cells dont respond to insulin, so more sugar keeps circulating in the blood.

Exercise can help the cells respond better and be more sensitive to insulin. The proper diet can also help you avoid spikes in blood sugar. This can help keep your pancreas functioning well since high blood sugar levels decrease pancreatic function.

Alcohol Alternatives For Diabetics

Health-conscious people are always looking for ways to improve their lifestyles. One such way is to cut down on alcohol intake and replace it with healthy alternatives. Diabetics, in particular, should steer clear of alcohol as too much can adversely affect their blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Some of the substitutes for alcohol and alcoholic beverages that diabetics can opt for include:

Non-alcoholic cocktails: These drinks contain no more than 0.5% of alcohol and are a great alternative at any cocktail party or celebration where alcoholic beverages are served. A glass of non-alcoholic punch contains about 125 calories as opposed to 355 calories in a glass of regular wine.

Another option is virgin mojitos which have about 100 calories as compared to 190 calories in a regular mojito.

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Types Of Sugar Alcohols

The sugar alcohols youve probably seen on older packaged sugar-free foods include sorbitol and maltitol, but there are many different kinds.

  • Erythritol: made from wheat or corn, used in food considered the safest!
  • Sorbitol: Made mostly from potatoes, used in food
  • Lactitol: Made from whey , used in food and as a laxative
  • Maltitol: Made from wheat, tapioca, or corn, used in food
  • Xylitol: Made from birchwood, used in medications and food
  • Glycerol / Glycerin / Glycerine: used primarily in medications, not food
  • Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates: made from potato, corn, or wheat, used in food
  • Isomalt: Made from beets, used in food
  • Mannitol: Made from sugar, used in medications and food

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Sugar Alcohols

Is Sugar Alcohol Bad For Diabetes?

There are both possible health benefits and potential downsides of consuming sugar alcohols.


  • Sugar alcohols taste sweet but provide minimal calories, which may help with weight management.

  • They will not raise your blood sugar much. This benefits people with conditions like diabetes.

  • Sugar alcohols wont promote tooth decay. Unlike sugar, many sugar alcohols can actually improve the health of teeth. This is why they are added to oral care products.

  • Some sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, serve as a prebiotic, which helps feed probiotics to support gut health.

  • Sugar alcohols are not known to contribute to conditions associated with eating too much sugar, such as diabetes and heart disease.


  • Some sugar alcohols may cause digestive upset for some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome . Eating them may cause symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. The exception to this is erythritol, which does not get fermented by your large intestine.

  • The sugar alcohol xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and can cause serious health problems or death if accidentally ingested.

  • Like with any food, overeating foods with sugar alcohols may contribute to weight gain as they still contain some calories and carbohydrates.

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Diabetes Management: Sugar And Diabetes

A major part of diabetes management involves keeping your blood sugar levels stable. This is an ongoing challenge no matter which of these types of diabetes you have:

  • Type 1 People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin, the hormone the body uses to regulate blood glucose levels. The amount of sugar or alcohol you consume has a direct effect on the amount of insulin and other diabetes medication you must take.
  • Type 2 With type 2 diabetes, youve developed a resistance to insulin, but can still produce the hormone. Controlling blood sugar levels can help you avoid having to take insulin or another diabetes medication.
  • Gestational Developing diabetes during pregnancy means you’ll have high blood glucose levels, which can do damage to both you and your unborn child.

Sugar is a form of carbohydrate that the body quickly converts to glucose. This means that, when eaten, it has the ability to cause blood glucose levels to quickly rise, creating a condition known as hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. “This is why doctors and diabetes educators warn people to track and limit the amount of sugar they consume,” explains Cynthia Herrick, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University and an endocrinologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

What Is The Safest Sweetener For Diabetics

Sweeteners extracted from the leaf of the stevia plant, which is native to Central and South America, are known as steviol glycosides. Truvia and Pure Via, two stevia-based sweetener brands, are both calorie-free, and stevia is commonly used in meals and beverages. Nonnutritive sweeteners, such as stevia, have little to no effect on blood sugar, according to the 2019 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, published in January 2019 in Diabetes Care. The FDA has cleared the use of certain stevia extracts that have been deemed safe by the agency .

People have reported gastrointestinal issues after ingesting large amounts of stevia, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. However, there is no sufficient scientific evidence to back up these assertions.

An ADI of 4 mg or less of Truvia per kilogram of body weight per day is recommended by the FDA. To meet that level, a 132-pound person would need to consume nine tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener every day.

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Forms Of Sugar Alcohol

Mannitol occurs naturally in pineapples, olives, asparagus, sweet potatoes and carrots. It is extracted from seaweed for use in food manufacturing. Mannitol has 50-70 percent of the relative sweetness of sugar, which means more must be used to equal the sweetness of sugar. Mannitol lingers in the intestines for a long time and therefore often causes bloating and diarrhea.

Sorbitol is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is manufactured from corn syrup. Sorbitol has only 50 percent of the relative sweetness of sugar which means twice as much must be used to deliver a similar amount of sweetness to a product. It has less of a tendency to cause diarrhea compared to mannitol. It is often an ingredient in sugar-free gums and candies.

Xylitol is also called “wood sugar” and occurs naturally in straw, corncobs, fruit, vegetables, cereals, mushrooms and some cereals. Xylitol has the same relative sweetness as sugar. It is found in chewing gums.

Lactitol has about 30-40 percent of sugar’s sweetening power, but its taste and solubility profile resembles sugar so it is often found in sugar-free ice cream, chocolate, hard and soft candies, baked goods, sugar-reduced preserves and chewing gums.

Isomalt is 45 – 65 percent as sweet as sugar and does not tend to lose its sweetness or break down during the heating process. Isomalt absorbs little water, so it is often used in hard candies, toffee, cough drops and lollipops.

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Absorption From The Small Intestine

What Are Sugar Alcohols and Are They Healthy?

Sugar alcohols are usually incompletely absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestine which generally results in a smaller change in blood glucose than “regular” sugar . This property makes them popular sweeteners among diabetics and people on low-carbohydrate diets. As an exception, erythritol is actually absorbed in the small intestine and excreted unchanged through urine, so it contributes no calories even though it is rather sweet.

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How To Count Sugar Alcohols

You might already be a carb-counting wiz when it comes to regular carbohydrates and sugarsbut what about sugar alcohols?

In our experience, many people calculate them incorrectly, even product manufacturers!

To calculate how many carbs are in a food that contains sugar alcohols, start by looking at the number of total carbohydrates and then look a little further down the label to determine how many grams of sugar alcohols there are.

Next, take the amount of sugar alcohol and cut that number in half before subtracting it from the number of total carbs.

Using the above food label as an example, you would look at the amount of sugar alcohol and cut that in half and then subtract that from the number of total carbohydrates .

The 5g of total carbs minus 1.5g of sugar alcohol leaves you with 3.5g of carbs.

Sugar alcohols are difficult to digest, which means that your body only absorbs about half of the carbs from them, which is why theyre a little easier on your blood sugar than regular cane sugar would be.

Because of this it can be easy to think of sugar alcohols as free carbs that you dont have to count, but remember that they can still affect your blood sugar so they should still be taken into consideration when youre making food choices.

Coors Banquet Lager Beer

Coors Banquet is a golden lager beer with a slight sweetness. It contains 5% alcohol by volume and has the aroma of freshly baked bread and the taste of banana and pear that are mouthwatering and crisp.

It offers a well-balanced flavor and is another favorite brand for diabetics since it is a low-carb version. Like Miller Lite, it is a light American-style drink that has 5 grams of carbs per 10-ounces bottle.

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What Are The Benefits Of Using Sugar Alcohols

Unlike sugar, sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestines.

As a result, the have less of an impact on blood glucose than regular sugar and provide fewer calories per gram, making them popular sweeteners among diabetics and people on low-carb diets.

In addition, sugar alcohols do not contribute to tooth decay, so are often added as a sweetener to chewing gum. In fact, one sugar alcohol actually inhibits bacterial growth in the mouth.

Pros And Cons Of Sugar Alcohols

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On the positive side, sugar alcohols contain less calories than sugar , and they do not cause tooth decay like sugar does. Therefore, many “sugar-free” gums including Trident┬« and Extra┬« are made with sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols also add texture to foods, retain moisture better and prevent foods from browning when they are heated.

Unfortunately, there are some negatives associated with sugar alcohols. The most common side effect is the possibility of bloating and diarrhea when sugar alcohols are eaten in excessive amounts. There is also some evidence that sugar alcohols, much like fructose in fruit and fruit juice can cause a “laxative effect.” Weight gain has been seen when these products are overeaten. The American Diabetes Association claims that sugar alcohols are acceptable in a moderate amount but should not be eaten in excess. Some people with diabetes, especially Type I diabetics, have found that their blood sugars rise if sugar alcohols are eaten in uncontrolled amounts.

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What Is The Purpose Of Sugar Alcohols

Some sugar alcohols naturally occur in fruits and vegetables, but most are produced from other sugars, such as glucose from cornstarch. Manufacturers add them to foods to sweeten them and improve flavor while still allowing them to label the foods as sugar-free. Sugar alcohols are also added to help keep products moist and to add texture to foods.

How Much Sugar Can You Eat If You Have Diabetes

There is no set limit for people with diabetes, though general dietary recommendations say to limit added sugars to less than 10% of your daily calories. The most important thing is to track your carbohydrate intake and account for them in your diabetes management plan. Work with your healthcare provider on the amount that’s right for you.

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Should Diabetics Eat Sugar Free Foods

I dont advise consuming a lot of sugar-free foods. The reason for this is that if you have diabetes, you should limit your intake of processed sugars. Foods prepared with sugar-free sweeteners typically contain processed flours and minimal fiber, making them poor choices for diabetics. Plus, sweets, of any kind, elicit a craving for more. Using sugar-free foods on occasion, on the other hand, is OK and can help you enjoy in a healthy manner. Sugar cravings will be reduced if you eat more whole foods.

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Use In Cooking And Baking

Because many sugar substitutes are much sweeter than sugar, it takes a smaller amount to achieve the desired sweetness. Therefore, when cooking or baking, your recipe may need to be adjusted if you’re swapping white table sugar for a sweeter alternative.

While the sweetener package may have specific instructions for cooking and baking, this may come down to trial and error , or you can search for specific recipes that use sugar substitutes or natural sweeteners in place of white sugar.

A few other things to be aware of when cooking and baking with alternative sweeteners:

  • Your baked goods may be lighter in color as natural sugar browns more deeply when baked and artificial sweeteners don’t brown as nicely.
  • Cooking time may need to be adjusted.
  • There may be a texture or aftertaste you’re not used to.
  • The volume of cakes or cookies may be slightly decreased as you’re using much less sweetener.

How Can You Tell If A Food Contains Sugar Alcohols

Just as sugar lurks behind different terms on food labels, sugar alcohol also has many names. When you see one of these products on a label, heres what you are getting:

  • Xylitol, often used in gum, is about as sweet as sugar. It comes from wheat straw and some cereals. Food makers produce it from corncobs.
  • Maltitol is about 75% as sweet as sugar and comes from corn syrup.
  • Erythritol is 60% to 80% as sweet as sugar. It comes from things like pears, soy sauce and watermelon. Manufacturers make it by fermenting corn.
  • Mannitol is 50% to 70% as sweet as sugar. Naturally, it occurs in carrots, olives and asparagus. Manufacturers make it from seaweed.
  • Isomalt is about 45% to 65% as sweet as sugar. It comes from beet sugar.
  • Sorbitol is about half as sweet as sugar. Naturally, its in apples and pears. Food manufacturers make it from corn syrup.
  • Lactitol provides about 40% of the sweetness of sugar. Manufacturers make it from milk.
  • Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates range between 40% and 90% as sweet as sugar. Manufacturers produce them by mixing different sugar alcohols.

Besides reading the ingredients on food labels, Bissell says you can identify products containing sugar alcohol by looking for:

  • Baked goods, candy and gums labeled sugar-free.
  • Labels that state: Excessive consumption can cause a laxative effect.

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What Are The Different Types Of Alcohol And How Does It Affect The Body Differently

Alcohol is a substance that is made from the sugars in fruits, vegetables, or grains. It is also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol, and it can be found in beer, wine, distilled spirits , and other drinks. The effects of alcohol vary depending on factors such as age, gender, weight, how fast the person drinks it, and how much he/she weighs.

Alcohol in moderation is not bad for you. however, if you are diabetic you should limit your alcohol intake more so than someone without diabetes. Drinking alcohol can lead to a number of health problems. In people with diabetes, it can cause dehydration and lead to low blood sugar levels.

The American Diabetes Association advises people with diabetes to drink in small amounts and avoid drinking on an empty stomach. If you have diabetes, you should avoid drinking alcohol altogether since it contains a lot of calories and sugar which can worsen your condition or lead to weight gain.


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