Sugar Substitutes: The Sweet Truth
Are your snacks, desserts, medicines, and even toiletries made with the healthiest sweeteners? From aspartame to stevia, we take a close look at popular sugar substitutes. By: Maureen Callahan, M.S., R.D.
Made up of carbs the body can’t digest, these low calorie sweeteners are similar in structure to sugar and alcohol. Names typically end in “ol,” including sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. The impact on blood sugar varies but is typically less than for sugars or starches.
Sweetening Power: Varies.
Precautions: Bacteria in the gut can ferment these undigestible carbs resulting in gas, bloating and diarrhea.
The Sweet Truth: With anywhere from 0.2 to 3 calories per gram (sugar contains 4 calories per gram) sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie-free.