You see them next to the checkout counter at your natural health food supermarket or whole foods – think thin bars with zero sugars. You mean I can have fudge with 0 grams of sugar? you ask yourself, while curiously examining the back of the label to see if it’s too good to be true.
Indeed, zero sugars… but what do those kazillion grams of sugar alcohols mean? You whip out the smart phone and do a little google glossing before determining you’re good to go and toss a variety of delicious sounding flavors into your basket of unprocessed foods. Sold!
But the question is, are sugar alcohols actually any better than sugar, which is bad for you because it causes huge insulin spikes that prevent fat loss? Will it slow down your weight loss and be stored in the body just like carbohydrates and regular sugar is? Does it count towards your carb consumption? And of course, the number one question on your mind: “Does sugar alcohols make you fat?”
What are Sugar Alcohols?
Is it sugar? it it alcohol? Try neither. The definition of Sugar alcohols is: one type of reduced-calorie sweetener. You can find them in ice creams, cookies, puddings, candies and chewing gum that is labeled as “sugar-free” or “no sugar added.
So, to me it sounds like they are the latest and ‘greatest’ sugar substitutes or sweeteners. We all know how well other synthetic sweeteners touted as low calorie worked out. If you’re not aware, this article from HOW STUFF WORKS will give you some insight.
Are Sugar Alcohols healthy or bad for you? Just say yes or no!
I know, you want the truth and nothing but the truth. No wishy washy, well… maybe, stuff. Ok, I’ll give it to you straight. A huge disadvantage is that you will have a harder time kicking your penchant for sweet foods if you continue to stoke your sugar cravings fire within with sugar alcohol filled foods. So, that’s one strike right there.
Sugar alcohols are indeed a carbohydrate and they do raise blood sugar. You don’t get free carbs here, so if you’re keeping your carbs low like you should be on my ‘thigh gap diet’, you’re cutting into your real meals that’ll keep you full a heck of a lot longer than some candy bar, big time! So, that’s strike two.
The fact of the matter is, sugar alcohols are not good for you and just like other artificial sweeteners, will make you gain weight. But I have to say, overall they are a blessing in disguise!
Sugar Alcohols are a Blessing in Disguise
So why do I call sugar alcohols a blessing in disguise after saying they are not good for your health, and make you gain weight? Did I leave out some redeeming quality that trumps all the bad stuff? Not quite.
However, there is one thing that I haven’t mentioned about sugar alcohol (strike three if you will) and it’s that they stimulate diarrhea and make any irritable bowel syndrome you may have a lot worse. Be prepared for abdominal pain, bloating, gas and a lot of embarrassing tummy sounds if you’re out in public.
Hence, my opinion that they are a blessing in disguise.
TRUE STORY that’ll make you Kick Sugar Alcohols to the Curb
You see, a friend of mine found out the hard way when she shoveled down a few think thin protein bars touting zero sugar (but a lot of sugar alcohol) and ended up with a seriously upset stomach, crazy abdominal pain and vicious gas.
She couldn’t sleep for the entire night and vowed off the stuff for good. “Never again!” She exclaimed when I called the following day to find out if she was feeling any better. If you’ve ever experienced gorging one food so much that it starts to taste gross or it gives you ill consequences, you’ll understand perfectly why I say this!
There’s almost no faster way to kick your habit than being met with undesirable side effects like the ones sugar alcohol causes.
Have you ever experienced painful tummy aches from sugar alcohol or any other food that helped you swear off that food forever? Are you an anomaly who eats sugar alcohol and still manage to stay in shape? Tell me about it in the comments