Applications and uses of alcohol sugars
Alcohol sugars, which are also known as polyols, are neither alcohol nor sugar, but carbohydrates that do not get absorbed by the body completely. The sugar alcohols or alcohol sugars do not cause much increase in blood sugar levels in human body as regular table sugar. The positive effects of alcohol sugars are many. When used properly, alcohol sugars may have a role in weight management and controlling diabetics. Foods containing alcohol sugars should be consumed under guidelines as part of a healthy eating plan. To document the alcohol sugars side effects, further research is needed.
Applications of alcohol sugars:
One of the best advantages of alcohol sugars is it contains few calories than regular sugar and it varies between 0-3 Calories per gram, which is less than that of sugar having 4 Calories per gram. This is why large amounts of sugar alcohols are produced to be used in commercial food products. Alcohol sugars can impart various degrees of sweetness and are hugely used by the food industry as substitutes for sugar in order to lower the sugar and calorie content of foods. The variety of polyol-containing foods is increasing rapidly on supermarket shelves.
The Most Common Sugar Alcohols and Their Applications:
Sorbitol : This less calories Alcohol Sugar provides 2.6 kilocalories dietary energy per gram.
Sorbitol is widely used in sugar-free candies, frozen desserts, baked goods, cough syrups and chewing gums. It can also be used as a non-stimulant laxative by means of an oral suspension or enema. Sorbitol is commonly used in modern cosmetics as a thickener and humectants. It is used in mouthwash and toothpaste and to manufacture transparent gels. It has some medical applications including use in bacterial culture media as well.
Xylitol : This low calorie sugar alcohol contains 2.4 kilocalories (kcal) per gram and comes as a lower-calorie alternative to table sugar. When it is about alcohol sugars and diabetes, xylitol does not contribute to high blood sugar levels.
The use of Xylitol is found in a variety of products including hard candy, chewing gum, gum drops and also in toothpastes and mouthwashes. It is also used in manufacturing drugs, cough syrups, cough drops and children’s chewable vitamins. Xylitol is also used in preparing foods for special dietary purposes.
Maltitol : One of the major advantages of alcohol sugars like Maltitol is it has food energy value 2.1 kilocalories (Cal) per gram and is a better substitute for table sugar when it is about alcohol sugars weight loss or weight management.
Maltitol is an alcohol sugar used in making chocolates, chewing gums, hard candies, ice creams and baked goods. Large amount of maltitol can have a laxative effect.
Isomalt : This sugar alcohol has energy value 2 kcal/g, which is half that of sugars. One of the less calories Alcohol Sugar, Isomalt does not promote tooth decay and has a little impact on blood sugar levels.
Isomalt is commonly used in candies, lollipops, toffee, wafers, fudge and cough drops.
Lactitol : Lactitol has only 2.4 Calories per gram and therefore, can be used in a wide variety of low food energy or low fat foods products. It is commonly used in cookies (biscuits), sugar-free candies, ice cream and chocolate. Lactitol is a laxative and is used for treating or preventing constipation.
Mannitol : As Mannitol increases the level of blood glucose to a lesser extent than regular sugar, it is used as a sweetener for people with diabetes. Mannitol is used in chewing gums, chocolates, confections and flavored coating for ice cream.
Erythritol : It is one of the sugar alcohols, which does not affect blood sugar or insulin. Erythritol is used as a sweetener in low calorie foods.