"Polyols" or sugar alcohols are a number of differentcarbohydrates that are neither sugars nor alcohols--andare commonly used as artificial sweeteners in a rangeof products, from ice cream to chewing gum.
While these tasty sweeteners appear to be the perfectsolution for both low-carb dieters and low-carbfood producers, recent studies of sugar alcoholshave painted a somewhat different picture.
To begin with, sugar alcohols are not entirely carb-free.Most studies have indicated that sugar alcohols containapproximately 1/2 to 1/3 the amount of calories assugar--and in the form of carbohydrates.
In addition, studies have shown that sugar alcoholsare absorbed by the small intestine, but the processis slower and fractured. This affects a risein blood sugar, but again is smaller and more gradualthan with sugar--and the rise tends to vary fromperson to person.
Sugar alcohols also have a laxative effect on someconsumers. Since they are only partially absorbed,they bring water into the bowel--and undigestedcarbs into the colon, creating gas and bloatingas the carbs are acted on by bacteria.
Over-consumption of sugar alcohols can oftenhave an adverse effect on low carb dieters,even when they can digest them properly.Sugar alcohols can trigger cravings inlow carb dieters, causing them to deviatefrom dietary restrictions.
In addition, sugar alcohols can often causelow carb dieters to choose an unhealthydiet of sweets, which appear to be carb-free,over a varied diet that includes essential nutrients.
If you are currently on a low carb diet and wantto mix sugar alcohol products into your diet,it is very important that you monitor your totalsugar alcohol intake--and keep it at a minimum whileconsuming a healthy diet.
One easy way to do this is to determine the totalamount of carbs in sugar alcohol products you areconsuming. You can do this by subtracting theamount of fat and protein calories per serving from the total amount of calories per serving. Simply multiply the grams of protein by four and the grams of fat by nine. Now subtractthe sum of the two from the total amount ofcalories per serving.
Using these figures, you can determine whetheror not carbs are being "hidden" in "carb free"sugar alcohol products you consume, allowingyou to make a better-informed decision thatfits the prescriptions of your low-carb diet.
Benji Paras runs http://www.list-of-low-carb-food.com, specializing in the benefits of the low-carb lifestyle. The site contains a treasure trove of information for losing weight, and includes a list of low carb foods along with informative articles and the latest low-carb headlines.
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