Sugar alcohols (also called polyhydric alcohols, polyalcohols, alditols or glycols) are organic compounds that are typically derived from sugars and include a class of polyols. They are white solids, soluble in water that are produced naturally or industrially from sugars. They are widely used in the food industry as thickeners and sweeteners. In commercial foods, sugar alcohols are commonly used in place of table sugar (sucrose), often in combination with high-intensity artificial sweeteners to counteract low sweetness. Xylitol and sorbitol are popular sugar alcohols in commercial foods. Is sugar alcohol bad for diabetics? Let’s look at it thoroughly.
Polyol is a sugar-free sweetener. Polyol is carbohydrate but not sugar. Unlike high-potency sweeteners such as aspartame used in small amounts, polyols are used in the same amount as ductus. Chemically, polyols are called polyhydric alcohols or sugar alcohols because part of the polyol structure resembles sugar and this part is similar to alcohol. But this sugar-free sweetener is not sugar and neither is it alcohol.
Polyols are derived from carbohydrates whose carbonyl groups (aldehydes or ketones, reducing sugars) are reduced to primary or secondary hydroxy groups. Polyol has a taste and sweetness almost the same as sugar cane (sucrose), even some types sweeter. Polyol is derived from sugar but not metabolized just like the metabolism of sugar by the body.
Some advantages of using polyols are:
- Foods added lower calorie polyols and sugar free than foods not added polyol
- Pain of polyol like sugar in general (sugar cane or sucrose)
- Calories lower than sugar
- Does not cause tooth decay
- Do not experience Maillard reaction in roasting
- Decrease insulin response
Some characteristics of the polyol are fewer calories, sweeteners, the ability to maintain water content (humectant), as a filler and lowerers “freeze point”. Polyol is a versatile material used in various applications to provide added value.
Sugar alcohol is classified by the number of saccharide units present in the molecule. Sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol are monosaccharides derived from glucose, mannose and xylose. Maltitol and lacitol are the derived disaccharides of maltose and lactose hydrogenation. Isomalt (also known as palatinite) is a mixture of 1: 1 α-D-glocopyranosyl- [1-6 -] – D-sorbitol (GPS) and α-D-glocopyranosyl- [1-6] -D-mannitol (GPM) .
Sorbitol, a polyol (sugar alcohol), is a bulk sweetener found in many food products. Besides giving a sweet taste, it is an excellent and texturizing Humectant agent. Sorbitol is about 60 percent as sweet as sucrose with one-third less calories. Have a subtle impression with sweet, cool and pleasant taste in mouth. Sorbitol is non-cariogenic and may be useful for diabetics.
Sorbitol has been safely used in processed foods for nearly half a century. It is also used in other products, such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. A French chemist first discovered sorbitol in a mountain ash berry in 1872. It occurs naturally in different types of fruits and berries. Currently sorbitol is commercially produced by glucose hydrogenation and is available in liquid and crystalline form.
Sorbitol has been confirmed as GRAS by the US Food and Drug Administration and has been approved for use by EU and many countries around the world, including Australia, Canada and Japan.
Characteristics of Sorbitol:
- Provides bulk and sweet with clean, cool fun taste
- Provide one-third less calories than sugar – about 2.6 calories per gram
- Humectant is excellent, and anti-texturizing agent crystallizes
- Can be used in a variety of products, including sugar free candy, chewing gum, frozen desserts and baked goods
- Not contributing to the formation of dental caries
- Useful as an alternative to sugar for diabetics on the advice of their healthcare providers
Sorbitol is used as Humectant in various types of products for protection against loss of moisture content. Its ability to stabilize moisture content and sorbitol texture properties is utilized in the production of sweets, baked goods and chocolate where the product tends to be dry or hardened. Its ability to stabilize moisture content can protect this product from drying and keep their freshness fresh during storage.
Sorbitol is very stable and not chemically reactive. Sorbitol can withstand high temperatures and does not react in the Maillard reaction (browning). This is advantageous, for example, in the production of cakes where fresh color is desired without the appearance of the desired brownish. Sorbitol also combines well with other food ingredients such as sugar, gelling agents, protein and vegetable fat.
Sorbitol works well in many food products such as chewing gum, candy, frozen desserts, pastries, and oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwash.
Polyol Does Not Cause Dental Caries
Polyols, including sorbitol, are resistant to metabolism by oral bacteria that break down sugars and starches to remove acids that can cause cavities or erode tooth enamel. Therefore, sorbitol is non-cariogenic. The use of polyols, including sorbitol, as an alternative to sugar and as part of a comprehensive program including proper dental hygiene has been recognized by the American Dental Association. The FDA has approved the use of “do not cause tooth decay” is a health claim in labeling for sugar-free foods containing sorbitol or other polyols.
Used as a diet for diabetics
Controlling blood sugar, lipids and heavy badab is the three main objectives of diabetes management today. Sorbitol is absorbed slowly. Therefore, when sorbitol is used, the rise in blood glucose and insulin response associated with glucose consumption can be significantly reduced. The reduction of caloric value (2.6 calories per gram versus 4.0 for sugar) from sorbitol is consistent with the goal of weight control. Sweetening products with sorbitol in the sugar site may be useful in providing more types of reduced calorie and sugar-free options for diabetics.
Recognizing that diabetes is complicated and requirements for management can vary between individuals, the benefits of sorbitol should be discussed between individuals and their health care providers. Sweet foods with sorbitol may contain other ingredients that also contribute calories and other nutrients. This should be considered in meal planning.
Metabolism in the Body
Sorbitol is absorbed imperfectly (about 50-79% absorbed) so it does not increase insulin levels as much as sugar, nor does it cause tooth decay. Absorbs of sorbitol may increase if there is glucose in the food mixture or maltitol hydrolysis results. The percentage of sorbitol that can be metabolized is only 10-20% of the sorbitol digested. Sorbitol can not be digested in the small intestine after it reaches the colon, will be fermented by colonic defenders to produce short chain saturated fatty acids such as acetic acid, propionate and butyric acid and gases such as hydrogen and methane. Short chain saturated fatty acids are absorbed and energize the body. This gas can cause flatulence, stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhea.
Sorbitol is commercially prepared from glucose (corn derivatives of corn) which are catalytically hydrogenated at high pressure, electrolyte reduction by chemical reaction or by fermentation. Conversion of sugar into the form of sorbitol is an addiction reaction of two elements of hydrogen to aldose (glucose) through the termination of double bonds C and O on functional groups of aldehyde.
Mannitol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) widely used in food and pharmaceutical industries because of its unique functional properties. Mannitol has a sweetness level of about 50% as sweet as sucrose and has the desired cooling effect often used to mask the bitter. Mannitol is non-cariogenic and has a low calorie content. Mannitol is suitable for consumption and has been used safely worldwide for over 60 years. Mannitol is found in abundance in nature, especially in the exudates of the trees, and in the fresh seas of algae and fungi. It is an isomer of sorbitol and is usually produced today by a special hydrogenation of glucose syrup. Mannitol is commercially available in various forms of powder and granular.
The characteristics of Mannitol:
- Sweetened calories with only 1.6 calories per gram
- Provides a sweet taste with a clean, cool appetite
- Possibly a useful alternative sweetener for diabetics
- Not contributing to the formation of dental caries
Unlike sorbitol, a polyol is often used for the Humectant property, mannitol is nonhygroscopic (does not pick up moisture). For this reason, it is often used as a powder for gum to prevent chewing gum from manufacturing equipment and wrapping. Due to the high melting point (165-169oC), mannitol is also used in a brown flavored agent for ice cream and candy. It has a pleasant, very stable sense for pickup humidity and is not discolored at high temperatures, which makes mannitol ideal for use in pharmaceutical and nutritional tablets.
Beneficial for Diabetes Patients
Control of blood glucose, lipids and weight loss are three primary goals in the management of diabetes. Mannitol is slowly absorbed from the digestive tract. Therefore, when mannitol is used, the rise in blood glucose and insulin demand is much less than that experienced after the consumption of sucrose. Reduced calorific value of mannitol compared to sucrose (1.6 vs 4.0 calories per gram) is consistent with the goal of controlling caloric intake and weight in diabetics.
Sweetener products with mannitol as a sugar substitute may be useful in providing more types of reduced calorie and sugar-free options for diabetics. Recognizing that diabetes is complicated and requirements for management can vary between individuals, the benefits of mannitol should be discussed between individuals and their health care providers. Sweet foods with mannitol may contain other ingredients that also contribute calories and other nutrients. This should be considered in meal planning.
How to Use Mannitol
Mannitol, like all polyols, is a low-digestible carbohydrate that is only partially absorbed from the small intestine and is not metabolized. At the bottom of the gastrointestinal tract, colonic bacteria ferment a few unabsorbed parts. In some people, this may sometimes cause stools to be softer than usual, similar to the effects of complex carbohydrate foods such as beans or prunes. Individual low carbohydrate responses of individuals vary depending on factors such as quantity and frequency of consumption.
The US Food and Drug Administration’s regulation for mannitol requires the following labeling statements for consumption-worthy foods thought to result in daily consumption of 20 grams of mannitol: “Excess consumption may have a laxative effect.” Mannitol is used in very small amounts in food so some Sensitive people are usually not a problem if they gradually increase the consumption of low-digested carbohydrates.