T Nation

Sugar Alcohols?


I keep seeing these in a ton of products, and besides unaccounted for carbohydrates, are there any negative side effects to them?


"Unaccounted for" has two implications, which is a "side effect" I guess. Many of the sugars (sacchrin notable exception) are metabolised just like other sugars, with several exceptions.

Other than that, there has been no conclusive evidence that any alcohol sugars have adverse effects on your body. They are better on your teeth, they can be used for energy (most), and no proven cancer link. There has been studies done before linking some to cancer, but as far as i'm aware (at least up until about 2 weeks ago!) no studies have been published showing this that either are not very flawed or published in a journal that offers peer reviews.

If you have phenylketouria (rare metabolic disease) then you are in trouble and should stay away from them. I'd also stay away from large sorbitol dosages, as there is still debate over safety in excess. Also remember that eaten in large quantities, especially sorbitol and xylitol, you can get a laxitive effect :stuck_out_tongue:

But in terms of true safety, I wouldn't worry too much.


some sugar alcohols can effect blood sugar, which is kind of what you are trying to avoid when using a sugar substitute.


Lactitol will give you the absolute worst case of diarrhea you have ever felt. I speak from experience! Its found in Hershey's sugar free chocolate items.


Ditto.....lots of G.I. issues for most people.


I dont trust them as far as the insulin effect or non effect, no/low impact goes I have seen them first hand sky rocket insulin in even small amounts in a hospital setting.

Go for one of the more proven artificial sweetners if thats what your looking for and avoid the insulin spike and possible shits. Or if wanting a treat. Have the damn real thing every once in a while in moderation.


Personally i'd rather eat real sugar than an artificial sweetener or sugar alcohol. But apparently stevia is a safe natural herb that is hundreds times sweeter than sugar.

Xylitol is also becoming popular as a healthy sweetener...not sure if it's a sugar alcohol or not.