Last Updated on 7 August 2021 by Ray Plumlee
Sugar alcohols are starches with a compound structure that mostly takes after sugar and partly takes after alcohol, yet they don’t contain ethanol as alcoholic drinks do. They are neither sugars nor alcohols. They are natural compounds, for the most part, from sugars, that include a class of polyols. They are also referred to as polyhydric alcohols, polyalcohols, alditols or glycitols).
These compounds are white, water-dis-solvable solids that can occur frequently or be made mechanically from sugars.
They are also essential photosynthetic products that are collected briefly in leaves amid light and are circulated to other plant organs during the evening.
When contrasted with the sugar, sugar alcohols have an extra hydroxyl group, and therefore, are designated as polyols, polyalcohols, or polyhydric alcohols.
Mannitol, sorbitol, galactitol, and galactinol are the primary sugar alcohols, which have been examined in plants. These compounds are uncommon in monocots (flowering plants whose seeds typically contain only one embryonic leaf, or cotyledon.) yet contribute significantly to transported and stored carbon in some horticultural plants, for example, individuals from the Rosaceae, Rubiaceae, and Plantaginaceae families.
Xylitol contains 100 percent of the sweetness of sugar yet just 2.4 calories per gram or 60 percent of the calories of ordinary sugar.
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate (or HSH) has only 25-50 percent of the sweetness of sugar, however, gives three calories for each gram 75 percent of the calories of regular sugar.
Erythritol has 55-80 percent of the sweetness of sugar however just about 0.2 calories per gram, a small amount of what’s in regular sugar.
An advantage of sugar alcohols is that, although they’re starches, they’re not absorbed as fast in the body as regular sugar seems to be, and they are processed differently, requiring next to zero insulin. If you have diabetes, that could be essential, as they won’t raise your glucose when you eat them.
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HISTORY OF SUGAR ALCOHOL
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is viewed as healthy as a food additive substance in the United States and all through a significant part of the world. It was found in 1848 by Scottish scientific expert John Stenhouse yet didn’t end up marketed as sugar alcohol until the 1990s in Japan.
In contrast to sugars, which will, in general, exist as rings, sugar alcohols don’t. Sugar alcohols occur naturally, and at one time, mannitol was obtained from natural sources. Today, they are often obtained by hydrogenation of sugars, using Raney nickel catalysts
USES OF SUGAR ALCOHOL
One of the most significant issues faced with eating an excess measure of sugar is tooth decay. In any case, the use of sugar alcohol does not cause tooth decay. For example, chewing gums makers use Xylitol in their products. It is used to compel oral microbes which avoid tooth decay.
Sugar alcohols bring down the number of calories present in the food items. It additionally helps in decreasing weight.
It can likewise be used to direct the glycemic index, by reducing the starch rate.
Sugar alcohols are in like manner used in low calorie or low starch foods. This is because they are used in replacing the more energy dense starch sugars in the eating routine, hence bringing down the total energy/calories of a food product. This is valuable in the management of weight control and can help individuals trying to get in shape. Sugar alcohols can likewise be used to control the glycemic record of food by bringing down the starch rate. It ought to be noticed that excess intake of anything, even an item containing sugar alcohol can prompt weight gain.
In food production, sugar alcohols are typically utilized in place of table sugar (sucrose), regularly in combination with high-intensity artificial sugars to counter the low sweetness. Xylitol and sorbitol are natural sugar alcohols used in the food industry. Diverse sorts of sugar alcohol have different levels of sweetness and varying quantities of calories per gram.
Erythritol (sugar alcohol) can be used as a pesticide and food laced with erythritol is deadly to fruit flies. Fruit flies that consume the substance can’t lay new eggs, and recently laid eggs won’t hatch. While erythritol’s effect on fruit flies does not necessarily suggest an adverse impact on humans, it understandably could be troubling for some consumers. An increasing variety of polyol-containing foods appears on supermarket shelves.
Can Enhance Skin Health
We know collagen is one of the essential proteins in the skin and connective tissues. Studies show how xylitol supplementation can help boost collagen production in the human body.
Impressive benefits, right? But does this mean sugar alcohols are the new health foods? Probably not. There are some concerns too.
Can Boost Dental Health
Sugar causes tooth decay. It feeds certain microbes in the mouth, which, in turn, secrete acids and erode the enamel. But with sugar alcohols, this is not the case. Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol were found to prevent tooth decay
May Promote Bone Health
Sugar alcohol could be useful in diabetes patients. Dietary supplementation of sugar alcohols (xylitol, in particular) can prevent the bones from weakening. The compounds were found to preserve bone mineral content. In another study, xylitol was also found to increase bone volume.
Sugar alcohols are not bad and can be used in a lower calorie diet just as a low-carb diet for better weight the management and minimal glucose control. With an excessive intake of anything comes problems. For reasons unknown, over consumption of sugar alcohols may not only add to weight gain but also stomach pain and possibly increased blood sugars if not watched.
So whenever you buy a food marked “sugar-free,” make sure to check the name to be sure if the sugar alcohols are recorded. In particular, make sure to check what the absolute sugar count is per serving of any food, and imbibe based on that carb sum in your general routine.