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What is Sugar Alcohol

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2019-08-26      Origin: Site

What is Sugar Alcohol?

Sugar alcohols (also called polyhydric alcohols, polyalcohols, alditols or glycitols) are organic compounds, typically derived from sugars, that comprise a class of polyols. They are white, water-soluble solids that can occur naturally or be produced industrially from sugars. They are used widely in the food industry as thickeners and sweeteners. In commercial foodstuffs, sugar alcohols are commonly used in place of table sugar (Sucrose), often in combination with high intensity artificial sweeteners to counter the low sweetness. Xylitol and sorbitol are popular sugar alcohols in commercial foods.

Sugar alcohol as food additives

As a group, sugar alcohols are not as sweet as Sucrose, and they have slightly less food energy than Sucrose.Their flavor is like Sucrose, and they can be used to mask the unpleasant aftertastes of some high intensity sweeteners. Sugar alcohols are not metabolized by oral bacteria, and so they do not contribute to tooth decay. They do not brown or caramelize when heated.

In addition to their sweetness, some sugar alcohols can produce a noticeable cooling sensation in the mouth when highly concentrated, for instance in sugar-free hard candyor chewing gum. This happens, for example, with the crystalline phase of sorbitol, erythritol, Xylitol, maltitol. The cooling sensation is due to the dissolution of the sugar alcohol being an endothermic (heat-absorbing) reaction, one with a strong heat of solution.

Sugar alcohols are usually incompletely absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestine which generally results in a smaller change in blood glucose than "regular" sugar. This property makes them popular sweeteners among diabetics and people on low-carbohydrate diets. However, like many other incompletely digestible substances, overconsumption of sugar alcohols can lead to bloating, diarrhea and flatulence because they are not fully absorbed in the small intestine. Some individuals experience such symptoms even in a single-serving quantity. With continued use, most people develop a degree of tolerance to sugar alcohols and no longer experience these symptoms. As an exception, erythritol is actually absorbed in the small intestine and excreted unchanged through urine, so it contributes no calories even though it is rather sweet.


What's the benefits of Sugar alcohol?

Tooth decay is a well-documented side effect of excess sugar consumption.The sugar feeds certain bacteria in your mouth, which multiply and secrete acids that erode the protective enamel on your teeth.In contrast, sugar alcohols protect against tooth decay .That's one of the main reasons they are so popular in many chewing gums and toothpastes.Xylitol is well known for its beneficial effects on dental health and has been studied thoroughly .In fact, the bad bacteria in your mouth feed on Xylitol but are unable to metabolize it, so it ends up clogging their metabolic machinery and inhibiting their growth. Erythritol has not been studied as extensively as Xylitol, but one three-year study in 485 schoolchildren found that it was more protective against dental cavities than Xylitol and sorbitol.


Sugar alcohols have a number of other potential benefits worth highlighting:

Prebiotic: Sugar alcohols may feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, having a prebiotic effect like dietary fiber.

Bone health: Many rat studies indicate that xylitol can increase bone volume and mineral content, which should protect against osteoporosis.

Skin health: Collagen is the main structural protein in your skin and connective tissues. Studies in rats demonstrate that xylitol can increase collagen production.




Tags:Sugar alcohols, Xylitol, Erythritol, Sorbitol, Maltitol, Sucrose


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