The Harmful Effects of Sugar Alcohols
Planet Protein bars aren’t made with any sugar alcohols. But what exactly are sugar alcohols—and do they have side effects? According to The Healthy Home Economist, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol, but are chemicals derived from natural, plant-based sources. These chemicals are carefully refined until safe for human consumption. Sugar alcohols are often used in foods as well as pharmaceutical products. While many think sugar alcohols are a healthy alternative to traditional sugars, this simply isn’t true. In fact, some of sugar alcohol’s effects can be dangerous for those suffering from diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and IBS.
Types of Sugar Alcohols
- Xylitol – A carbohydrate naturally found in birch trees, Xylitol is most often manufactured from genetically modified (GMO) corn.
- Erythritol – This corn sugar is made from GMO corn.
- Mannitol – Mannitol is manufactured through a process called sugar hydrogenation.
- Sorbitol – This slow-metabolizing sugar alcohol is often found in fruits and seaweed, but it’s commercially produced from GMO cornstarch.
Unpleasant Effects of Sugar AlcoholsWhile many believe sugar alcohols to be healthy due to their low glycemic indexes and fewer calories, this doesn’t make them safer to consume. There are a variety of unwanted side effects that are worth knowing about:
- Sugar alcohols are not completely digestible, which is why they can create or contribute to imbalances in the gut.
- Sugar alcohols can cause gastric distress, including bloating and diarrhea.
- For those with diabetes and autoimmune disorders, the gut’s lining is already compromised, and sugar alcohols can disrupt everything even further.
- Sugar alcohols can create a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria, pathogens, and other microbes. This unbalanced environment further compromises the gut’s lining and its enterocytes, encourages symptom progression for those with autoimmune diseases, and may exacerbate yeast problems.