Sugar alcohols are a common low calorie sweetener added to a range of different processed foods, such as chewing gum, sugar-free candy, and protein bars. Some common names of sugar alcohols are xylitol, lactilol, sorbitol, and mannitol. Sugar alcohols are not calorie free like most artificial sweeteners; they contain .2-2.7calories/gram. The benefits of sugar alcohols are that they safe, low in calories, and they don’t promote tooth decay. However, for some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive sensitivities, sugar alcohols can cause issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. This is because sugar alcohols are not completely digested and they ferment in the large intestine. Each person digests and ferments foods differently, which is why some people can tolerate sugar alcohols more easily than other. So be careful with processed foods low in sugar and take care to see how your body reacts, because the GI distress may not be worth it!
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