Maltitol is a popular sugar substitute readily used in making baked products, sweet items, and candies. It provides half as many calories per gram as sugar, making it a good option for those working out to lose weight or manage diabetes. Nonetheless, it is still a carb and will slightly raise blood sugar and insulin levels.
The modern market offers many sugar substitutes, and maltitol is one such product. This sugar replacement packs half of the calories the table sugar packs. As such, the baking and confectionary industries appreciate it since it has little weight increase issues. Still, maltitol is a carb with a glycemic index. Consequently, taking it will result in slight increases in blood sugar and insulin levels. Besides, it may not be a good option for you if you often experience bloating and gassing, but there are several alternatives you can opt for. Here is everything you need to know about maltitol.
Before digging deeper into what implications maltitol has on your health, let’s see what it is. Simply put, it is a sugar replacement that’s marketed for baking and making candies and other sweet products. It is a carb, and like many other carb-rich foods, it has a glycemic index. Besides, maltitol is a sugar alcohol, meaning that it’s not sugar passe. This sugar alcohol can be found naturally in some fruits and vegetables, but the commercial one is manufactured.
How is maltitol used and labeled in ingredient lists?
The primary role of maltitol is sweetening baked products, candies, and sweet items. In fact, it is popular for these very roles and is appreciated for its low-calorie profile. Apart from sweetening confectioneries and baked items, maltitol is used to prevent the browning of these products. As if that’s not enough, it is one of the few sugar substitutes that will help preserve foods or baked products by keeping them moist. Maltitol is not always indicated as maltitol in ingredient lists. However, xylitol, sorbitol, sugar alcohol, and sugar are names used to refer to maltitol in product labels.
Why is maltitol a high pick/ what are the benefits of maltitol?
Maltitol has become popularized in the sweetener market, and you might wonder why. The primary reason is that it compares to sugar in sweetening but packs half the calories in sugar. As such, it is ideal for those trying to control their weights. Besides, the low-calorie profile means that diabetic patients can comfortably consume products made with maltitol in moderation without fearing for any serious side effects.
Furthermore, many sugar substitutes have a bad aftertaste, but not maltitol. As such, its products are not only refreshing but leave one yearning for more. The other reason making maltitol a high-profile sugar substitute is how it does not cause tooth browning. Sugar and many other sweeteners offer taste, but not without compromising your teeth’ color. Because maltitol is this friendly to teeth, it’s no wonder that it is used to make mouthwashes, chewing gums, toothpaste. All these reasons make people feel comfortable using this product
or eating items containing it. However, is that all there is? Should you be so comfortable that you take maltitol products in any amounts without fearing for anything?
Precautions while using maltitol
Maltitol is generally safe as a sugar substitute. Still, don’t be too comfortable using it. Here are key reminders to keep in mind as you use maltitol:
- Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, and carb. Ideally, this means that it has a glycemic index and will pose an impact on blood glucose.
- Maltitol is not readily absorbed into the bloodstream as sugar. However, it is slow-acting, but its effect lasts long. As such, you need to lower your portion sizes of maltitol-made products since it slowly leads to blood sugar and insulin levels.
- The effects of maltitol largely depend on the amount you take and are directly proportional to it. Consequently, ensure that you carefully read through product labels to know how much maltitol is found in the unit gram of a product.
With all these reminders, diabetic patients can still enjoy maltitol or its products. Still, they must remember that portions matter and keep them in check to avoid any possible side effects.
Are there any major concerns related to maltitol or other sugar alcohols?
Generally, we have not recorded serious health concerns with maltitol consumption or products made with it, or other sugar alcohols. However, as stated before, one must keep portion sizes in check to err on the side of caution. Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, and its consumption might lead to gassing and bloating. What’s more, like other effects, gassing and bloating increase in severity as you scale up your portion sizes of this safe sugar substitute.
There are many alternatives to maltitol
Although maltitol is a safe and ideal sugar substitute, it might not be your best pick, especially if it triggers gassing and stomach pain. Besides, it is not always used in isolation, and you will need to incorporate other sweeteners as ingredients, just like maltitol is. As such, having several alternatives within your fingertips is definitely a wise course to go. Here are some alternatives to maltitol, which can also fill up your ingredient list when baking or making one of those sweet products;
Erythritol is another sugar alcohol that resembles maltitol in many dimensions. It offers tastes and lacks a bad aftertaste and still comes with even fewer calories. Besides, it will not cause you gassing or stomach pains.
Stevia is yet another maltitol replacement that will blend well with your recipes. Like maltitol, it lacks calories, making it ideal for losing weight. Besides, it is rich in other helpful compounds, including minerals such as magnesium and zinc, and also has vitamins, including B3.
iii. Agave and other natural sweeteners
Agave sweetener comes from the agave plant, but it can also be manufactured by processing the extract to some degree. It is a good source of sucrose, which table sugar also has, making it a good sweetener. Maple syrup, honey, and molasses are also good alternatives to maltitol, but they should be used cautiously since their calorie count is nearly the same as sugar.
Maltitol is a sugar substitute widely used in the baking industry and manufacturing mouthwash, toothpaste, and chewing gums because of its low-calorie profile. Although it is slow-acting and will not result in spontaneous sugar and insulin spikes, its action lasts long and must be taken in moderation. Since it causes gassing in some people, you might opt for natural sweeteners, agave, stevia, and erythritol as ready-to-use alternatives.