Download Sugar alcohols – not sugar, not alcohol!

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Sugar alcohols – not sugar, not alcohol!
ÿ Sugar alcohols are used to add sweetness to food without adding
sugar. They have fewer calories than sugar, but more calories than
“non-nutritive sweeteners” such as SplendaJ, EqualJ, Sweet n=LowJ,
or Sweet OneJ.
ÿ Sugar alcohols are not sugar and not alcohol. They are carbohydrates
that have a chemical structure similar to sugar and similar to alcohol –
but are neither!
ÿ The sugar alcohols are, lactitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol sometimes called “polyols”. They can replace sugar, usually on a oneto-one basis and contain fewer calories than sugar. Remember- they
are not calorie-free!
ÿ Sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol are found in plant products such as
fruits and berries but are usually artificially synthesized. Lactitol is
made from lactose, the carbohydrate in milk.
ÿ Sugar alcohols are often found in “sugar-free” candy, gum and
cookies – remember they still have calories!
ÿ A large amount of polyols (eg, greater than 50 grams of sorbitol per
day, or greater than 20 grams of mannitol per day) may cause
diarrhea. Products with sorbitol and mannitol may have the following
statement on the label: "excess consumption may have a laxative
Martha Winter, MS, RD and Karen Chapman-Novakofski, RD, LD, PhD
State County Local Groups United States Department of Agriculture Cooperating
University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.
University of Illinois Extension is based in the U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)., 2003
reviewed 2004.