Sweeteners and Sugar Alcohols - What to use and what to avoid
With many sweeteners on the market, what is truly the best sweetener and which ones should you avoid?
We are all know that sugar is not an option when you are eating a low carb, keto or a diabetic style diet. Luckily, there are many options readily available that can allow some sweetness in our lives. The big question is which ones should you use, and which ones should you avoid?
Artificial Sweeteners & Sugar Alcohols are definitely not the same breed. Our preference is to use Sugar Alcohols, keep reading to learn why.
Generally, artificial sweeteners are man made chemicals that are approved for human consumption. Not all artificial sweeteners are created equal, and some may cause health complications. The FDA has approved 5 artificial sweeteners, which are considered synthetic sugar substitutes.
- Saccharin - Best known for its use in "Sweet n Low". There were concerns of this sweetener causing cancer, however, this has not been proven with human consumption. The sweetener is approved for use in the USA and Canada, however, it is not currently allowed in certain countries such as France. Source - Wikipedia
- Acesulfame - Best known for its use in "Sweet One". This sweetener tends to have a bitter after taste, and is commonly used with other sweeteners to mask the others aftertaste. Source - Wikipedia
- Aspartame - 180 to 200 times sweeter than sugar, aspartame is one of the most widely known sweeteners. There are many concerns with this specific form of artificial sweetener. Many allegations include symptoms of neurological effects and commonly caused headaches or migraines. Source - Wikipedia
- Neotame - 8000 times sweeter than sugar is also known by its trade name Newtame. It is commonly used in carbonated soft drinks, yogurts, drink powders and chewing gum. Source - Wikipedia
- Sucralose - Commonly sold as the Splenda brand, sucralose is used in many food and beverage products. There are health concerns with Sucralose when heating it to 120° or more. Source - Wikipedia
Sugar Alcohols are organic compounds that are typically derived from natural sugars. They are widely used for keto/low carb/diabetic diets, but like Artificial Sweeteners, they are not created equally.
It is important to understand the differences between each sugar alcohol. Since your small intestine does not absorb sugar alcohols well, you absorb fewer calories but in turn you may get gas, bloating and/or diarrhea. Maltitol and Sorbitol are the most common culprits here. Products which use these ingredients commonly include a warning label that they cause a laxative effect.
When counting your carbs - you can deduct the sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrate. The total amount that you are able to deduct depends on the type of sugar alcohol that is being used.
- Erythritol - Erythritol occurs naturally in fruit and fermented foods. It is safely used in many food and drink products across more than 60 countries. Swerve is one the main brands of available erythritol on the market . There are some reports that it may cause stomach distress in some individuals, but is the least probable of all sugar alcohols. When using erythritol, you may deduct the total amount of sugar alcohols from the carbohydrates - to get your net carb amount. It has no effect on blood sugar or blood insulin levels. This is currently the only sweetener that SugarFreeIQ uses. Source - Wikipedia
- Maltitol - This is commonly used in candy manufacturing - sugar free candy, chocolate, ice cream and baked goods tend to use maltitol as the primary sweetener. Maltitol has a laxative effect and should be used in moderation. It may cause bloating, flatulence, and borborygmus. Source - Wikipedia
- Xylitol - Xylitol is well known to promote better dental health and is used in many mints and gums commonly found. It is naturally occurring in plums, strawberries, cauliflower and pumpkin. There is no known toxicity to humans, however, when ingested in high doses it can (like most sugar alcohols) cause gastrointestinal discomfort. It is important to keep xylitol away from your dogs as it can be toxic and cause life threatening symptoms. Source - Wikipedia
- Sorbitol - Sorbitol occurs in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus. Sorbitol may cause gastrointestinal distress, like other sugar alcohols. It is found in dried fruits like prunes, and in apples, plums, pears, cherries, dates, peaches and apricots. Source - Wikipedia
In our personal experiences, we would much rather use sugar alcohols than artificial sweeteners. We are all about using real ingredients for our products sold at SugarFreeIQ as well as for our own personal consumption. Erythritol is currently the only sweetener that we are using in our products, however, we do sell erythritol, monk fruit and xylitol in store. Ultimately - the choice is yours on what you want to put in your body, but the winner in our personal opinion is Erythritol.