Beware Of Sneaky Sugar Alcohols
If you see maltitol in your low-carb food, then avoid it completely
I constantly tell people READ THE LABELS on anything that purports to be low-carb. That keeps you from falling prey to a dishonest marketing tactic implored by many food companies to get people who are livin' la vida low-carb to buy their products. They use phrases like "no sugar carbs" or even put "low carb" right on the box and it's anything but.
However, something else you should look out for when you are reading nutritional labels is the ingredients list. I discuss this topic in my book, but it annoys me to no end for a sugar-free candy company to proudly display the Splenda symbol on the front of their packaging and then use a sugar alcohol such as maltitol as the primary sweetener. That's false advertising if you ask me!
For those of you who have never consumed anything made with maltitol (believe me, you would know if you did!), this sugar alcohol is one of the worst sugar alternatives known to man. If you don't mind (excuse the graphic but accurate description) pooping and flatulating your brains out for hours after eating something with maltitol in it, then EAT UP!
But most people find this nasty side effect just a wee bit too uncomfortable to indulge too often in products containing maltitol. I know I try to avoid them as much as possible myself because the gas they cause is very painful and disgusting.
One of my faithful readers shared with me her recent experience after accidentally consuming maltitol:
The other day while on the road, I stopped at a truck stop, and they had fudge and sugar-free fudge for sale. My dormant sweet tooth kicked in, and I got a pound of the sugar-free kind. I consumed a 2-inch square of this fudge and it was yummy!
Unfortunately, I neglected to ask what was in the sugar-free fudge, and boy did I pay for it later! I was up all night with incredible intestinal problems that were only relieved when I got very sick. I'm sure, like most sugar-free chocolate candy, it was loaded with maltitol. I'd eaten a small bit of candy with maltitol several months ago and knew how bad it would affect me.
I guess this is just a good reminder to ALWAYS check what sweetener is used in anything labeled sugar-free. Splenda is best, erythritol is okay, and aspartame and maltitol are no-nos! Now if we can only get the candy and soft drink manufacturers to follow along!
Amen! I've long held the belief that Russell Stover could replace the maltitol syrup that they use in their excellent line of sugar-free/low-carb chocolates with erithyritol, Splenda and/or ACE-K. But will they listen to me? Noooooooooo! The only way to make them change is for enough people to write them a letter sharing their concerns about maltitol and simultaneously boycotting the purchase of their products until they change. If they feel it in their pocketbook, then they will heed your opinions.
The lesson here is to always be cognizant of what is in the foods you are eating. Although you don't have to count the carbs in the sugar alcohols you consume while livin' la vida low-carb, there are better ones out there to enjoy without the unpleasant side effects that come from maltitol. Try erythritol or oligofructose instead.
I went out to a popular ice cream place in Spartanburg, South Carolina with my wife the other day called Bruester's. They had a sugar-free raspberry chocolate ice cream that looked delicious and it was. When I inquired what the sugar substitute was they told me it was sweetened with Splenda, but I knew it had maltitol in it as well a little later on when my stomach started break dancing an hour after I ate it.
It just goes to show you how important reading those labels can be so you can beware of sneaky sugar alcohols!