Is Sugar Alcohol Bad For Health
Sugar alcohols may have a minor effect on blood sugar levels, but theyre generally safe to take as part of a well-balanced diet, explains registered dietitian Tegan Bissell, RD.
However, consuming too much sugar alcohol in your diet can have negative consequences. Bissell explains how to get the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls.
Cooking With Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols are generally not used in home cooking, but rather in large scale food manufacturing. However, there may be occasions when you want to use one of these products at home.
You can purchase sweeteners such as erythritol and xylitol in granulated or powdered form to use in sweet treats. However, since these products are not as sweet as sugar, they usually need to be combined with another sweetener to get the desired effect. For example, Truvia brand sweetener combines erythritol with stevia to get a level of sweetness that works well in recipes.
You may need to experiment with the sweetener and the recipe that you choose. You may notice a difference in texture in baked goods, although sugar alcohols are usually better at providing bulk in baked goods than artificial sweeteners.
If your recipe is for a beverage or a sweet sauce, you may notice that sugar alcohols don’t blend well. For example, erythritol may cause a grainy texture in liquids.
The use of sugar alcohols may change the taste of your food slightly. Follow product instructions and take some time to experiment in the kitchen to find the right mix.
The Best Bar With Collagen: Vital Performance Protein Bar
Protein source: Whey, collagen
Nutrition info: 230 cal, 20g protein, 11g fat, 12g total carb
Collagen is a protein produced by our bodies to strengthen joints and connective tissue, but its production declines with age. Its naturally found in cuts of meat with lots of connective tissue , and bone broth, but if you dont eat a lot of red meat, a protein bar with collagen is the next best thing to boost your skin and bodys elasticity. Vital Proteins is known for its collagen powder, and its protein bars, which also contain whey protein isolate, are a natural extension of the brand. The chocolate-covered almond butter and salty peanut flavors look and taste like candy bars, but note that like Quest Bars, they have sugar alcohols.
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Effects Of The Sugar Alcohols Found In Your Protein Bars
If youre a professional weight loss coach or dietician, or just a person wanting to lose weight in general, then this article will tell you what common sugar alcohols to avoid in protein bars. Sugar is the dearest sugar and therefore the most frequently used, and yet its also the one that produces the most damage in your body. It is also the one that can be most easily converted into fat. So, when youre looking for tips on losing weight in the gym or at home, here are three tips on cutting sugar from your protein bars.
In recent years, it has become increasingly popular to use sugar alcohols as food additives in order to make the food taste better. By using sugar alcohols in protein bars and other snack foods, you will still get the sugar high with about the same amount of calories as regular sugar, without having to worry about the health risks associated with the substance.1
Instead of settling for high-calorie, low nutritional snack foods, try incorporating organic, natural, sugar-free protein bars and baking mixes into your diet. These bars are much healthier than their counterparts and they will satisfy cravings for sugar without loading your body with it. Organic and natural ingredients loaded with nutrients are the best way to have these snacks and bars without compromising your health and sacrificing your waistline.
Rating And Reviewing Keto
The Internet is littered with articles reviewing various keto bars and not a single one uses a compelling framework for rating them objectively.
In the comparison chart below you will see that I have done just that, evaluating eight key attributes that translate into a five star rating scale.
In addition to ingredients, macros and nutrient density, I looked at Amazon reviews as a proxy for taste and quality, assuming that anything that got over four stars likely will please the majority of people.
I recommend taking a good look at the comparison chart that follows, and then scrolling down for a deep dive into whichever bar catches your fancy.
But if youre feeling impatient, you can use the list of keto protein bars below to jump ahead to individual reviews. Bon appetite!
Perfect Keto Bars are delicious and live up to their name.
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Read Also: What Is The Best Sugar Substitute To Use
May Improve Dental Health
Tooth decay is a well-documented side effect of consuming too much sugar.
When you consume sugary foods or drinks, certain bacteria in your mouth ferment the sugar. These bacteria then multiply and secrete acids that erode the protective enamel on your teeth.
In contrast, sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol may protect against tooth decay (
Some sugar alcohols may have the opposite effect as table sugar on dental health. Studies have shown that xylitol and erythritol may improve dental health and protect against cavities.
Sugar alcohols have a number of other potential benefits worth highlighting.
The Ultimate Gluten Free Protein Bar
Snack time is one of my favourite times of the day. However I dont settle for just any old type of snack, I need a snack that will keep me FULL until my next meal. Ive never understood how someone can just grab a handful of almonds and say theyre full for the next 4 hours no I need a real snack! That means that my snacks need to have a combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats and these no bake protein bars give me all of that in one!
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What Is Sugar Alcohol
Sugar alcohol gets its name because of its molecular structure, which is a hybrid between a sugar molecule and an alcohol molecule. Biochemically speaking, sugar alcohols are structurally similar to sugar but are either poorly digested , or poorly metabolized .
Sugar alcohol has grown in popularity as a sugar replacement in foods such as protein bars because they contain few calories, minimally impact insulin levels, are safe for those with diabetes, and are better for your teeth.
Heres a list of some popular sugar alcohols so you can identify them when you look at a nutrition label:
The two major sugar alcohols found in protein bars and most low sugar foods are maltitol and erythritol, which are explored in more detail below.
What Is The Protein To Calorie Ratio
Just as it sounds, the protein to calorie ratio looks at the number of grams of protein per serving compared to the number of calories per serving.
This can be very useful for comparing protein bars when you want to get the most protein bang for your buck, since protein bars also contain carbohydrates and fat.
If you are looking at a protein bar primarily as a source of protein, you will want to look for a bar that provides relatively more of its calories from protein than from any other macronutrient.
Or, you might be looking for a protein bar that provides a 2:1 carb to protein ratio to optimize pre- and post-workout nutrition, meaning that twice as many calories come from carbohydrates as from protein.
The bars in this round up are ranked in order based on protein to calorie ratio.
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Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars
We are so sad to see Nature Valley on this list because they taste so good! If its too good to be true, it probably is. With 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of sugar, this looks like a wonderful optionbut the kicker? Its highly processed. The protein and fat you see in these bars comes from soy protein isolate and palm oil. In other words: fillers.
Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil
- Dont let the name of this oil fool you into thinking that it is healthy.
- The process of creating this Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil actually results in higher levels of saturated fats, which is ultimately more than Regular Palm Kernel Oil and butter in some cases.
- Also, on the environmental side, its not so eco-friendly because it is linked to deforestation and destruction of animal habitats such as the Orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra. You can learn more about the side effects Palm Oil has on these endangered animals at the Orangutan International Foundation website.
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Are Sugar Alcohols Safe
Like most things, unless they are consumed in a large dose, they appear to be perfectly fine.
One study concluded:
“The available clinical data generally suggest that moderate consumption of the above polyols is not harmful to human metabolism.”
Research suggests it could create some IBS issues, so if you notice this, then like anything, stop eating it.
Xylitol Is Toxic To Dogs
While xylitol is well tolerated by humans, its highly toxic to dogs.
When dogs eat xylitol, their bodies mistake it for sugar and start producing large amounts of insulin.
When insulin goes up, dogs cells start pulling sugar out of their bloodstream. This can lead to low blood sugar and other side effects including liver failure, which can be fatal .
If you have a dog, keep xylitol out of reach or just dont buy it.
This reaction appears to only occur in dogs, and xylitol seems to be the only culprit.
Xylitol is toxic to dogs. If you own a dog, make sure to keep xylitol out of reach. Other sugar alcohols dont have this effect.
Out of all the sugar alcohols, erythritol seems to be one of the best options. Its also one of the most popular and commonly used types of sugar alcohol.
Heres what makes erythritol a good option:
- closely mimics the taste of sugar
- contains almost no calories
- minimally affects blood sugar levels
- causes significantly less digestive problems than other sugar alcohols
- good for your teeth
- wont harm your dog
However, even though erythritol is considered to be safe and well tolerated by humans, it doesnt mean that you should consume large amounts of erythritol or any other sugar alcohol regularly.
To promote overall health, its a good idea to cut back on your consumption of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and low calorie sweeteners like sugar alcohols.
Read Also: What Is Good For Low Blood Sugar
If You Wonder Which Protein Bars Are Not Good For You Here Are The 7 Worst Protein Bars:
Even though these low-sugar protein bars meet the same low-sugar, high-protein requirements as our best protein bars, they don’t meet other important nutritional marks.
The following worst protein bars landed a spot on our list of bars to avoid for numerous reasons:
- They contain more than 10 grams of sugar alcohol, which can have laxative-like effects.
- The protein is from highly-processed sources rather than whole foods.
- The higher fat content is from inflammatory vegetable oils rather than healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
- They contain artificial flavors and/or sweeteners.
Safety & Metabolic Effects Of Erythritol
Erythritol lacks maltitols laxative and pro-gut bacteria effects because it is almost completely absorbed .
One group looked at the insulin response to a chocolate snack containing either erythritol or sugar.5 The figure to your right has been color-coded and edited for simplicity. Red = 24 grams of sugar blue = 48 grams of erythritol.
After breakfast , which was identical in both groups, insulin went up to a similar degree confirming that subjects in both groups had a normal insulin response. After the snack , however, insulin only increased in the subjects who ate the sugar-containing chocolate . And at twice the dose, the erythritol-containing chocolate snack was probably much sweeter. As mentioned above, unlike maltitol, erythritol has no GI side effects its almost completely absorbed. But the other half of the story is that it is excreted almost completely intact . Did I forget to mention erythritol has virtually no calories?
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Nugo Protein Bar Vanilla Yogurt: Best Low
With only 3g of fat in per bar, the NuGo Protein bar has the lowest fat content overall. Its only a tiny fraction of the 17g in a Kind Protein Bar. This makes it the best low-fat bar without sugar alcohols, which is important for people looking to manage their fat intake.
The NuGo Protein bar does only offer 11g of protein per bar. This is the second-lowest protein content of any bar in the list, after the Zing bar.
This bar does have several forms of added sugar. It has the highest sugar content of any bar on the list.
NuGo Protein Bar – Vanilla Yogurt
Maltitol Glycerol And Sorbitol
These are the common sugar alcohols in protein bars, and are present for three reasons:
- They add sweetness
- Have fewer calories than sugar
- Help to improve the texture of bars and help to retain moisture.
But what about their caloric value?
Maltitol = 2.1 calories
Glycerol = somewhere between 1.98 to 2.26 calories
Sorbitol = 2.7 calories
Now, remember carbohydrates have a value of 4 calories per gram. So 50 per cent of the calorie value of sugar ain’t bad.
So when you’re tracking your macronutrients, just make sure for every 2 grams of any sugar alcohol, you count it as a gram of carbohydrates.
So for example:
Sorbitol = 7 grams
Total = 15 grams .
Now it’s not going to break your diet. But if you’re having a few of them, and having other snacks where these sugar alcohols exist, then you just need to be aware of it.
But as I’ve said in a previous blog — don’t consume these bars thinking they are any “healthier”.
Seriously, just eat a chocolate bar and consume your protein shake with it, to get the best of both worlds: the protein, plus the snack.
Where you can, forget sugar alcohols, and just have real sugar if you want it.
But, these sugar alcohols are all converted into glucose anyway.
When you’re getting enough fibre daily, and vitamins and minerals, a chocolate bar in concert with your active lifestyle isn’t going to destroy you or your progress.
It’s all about balance.
Here’s a look at the other sugar alcohols and their caloric value ” to the right of the table).
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Protein Bars With No Sugar Alcohols
Many protein bars may appear to be low in sugar or not have any sugar, but its important to watch out for sugar alcohols when youre shopping for low-sugar protein bars. We know just how bad sugar alcohols can be for you, which is why Dr. Jens Ultimate Protein Bars are formulated without the use of sugar alcohols.
Instead of sugar alcohols, Dr. Jens Ultimate Protein Bars are made with a low sugar content and use natural and organic ingredients to give them great flavor. Not only does this make our protein bars better for you than most other brands, but it cuts the digestive issues that come with sugar alcohols.
What About A Healthy Smores Protein Bar Recipe
Feel free to make these as is make sure you try the smores variation of these bars. I promise you the few extra ingredients is WORTH IT. These literally taste like summer in all the best ways.
I love seeing you make my recipes! If you make these gluten free dairy free protein bars be sure to tag me on Instagram @nourishedbynic or leave a comment here letting me know how it was
- 1tbspcoconut oilmelted
- 1/4cupflavoured proteinof choice
- 1/3cuphoney or maple syrup
- 1handfulchocolate chipsoptional
- 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
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Protein Bars Free Of Sugar Alcohols
Since we know just how bad sugar alcohols can be for your digestive system, we chose to formulate delicious protein bars that are sugar alcohol-free. We want to provide our customers with the healthiest and best protein bar, which is why we choose to use low amounts of natural sugar instead of sugar alcohols or other artificial sweeteners in our bars.
Even without sugar alcohols as an ingredient, we have created a deliciously sweet and nutritious protein bar for you to enjoy in a variety of flavors. With our all-natural ingredients and use of natural sugar, you can enjoy our protein bars without the worry of digestive issues that might arise from sugar alcohols.
Why Is Sugar Bad For You
Simply put, sugar seems like its in everythingbut you should stay away from it when you can. Read some of our tips to cut out sugar from your diet, as its one of the best ways to see results sugar is usually the one factor people miss when they are trying to figure out why they arent breaking through their plateaus. Too much sugar over time will promote insulin resistance, which in turn causes the pancreas to work harder. When an organ is overworked, it fails early. Too much sugar in our diet also puts us at risk for weight gain, which leads to obesity and diabetes. Protein bar companies will often stuff a ton of sugar along with 20 grams of protein in a 7-ounce bar to make the whey protein taste goodso be careful about your protein bars.
Most of us, however, dont want to carry around 6 containers of chicken, brown rice, and egg whites, so the next best recovery option is often the protein bar. Theyre easy to carry, easily accessible, and convenient, especially for fitness lovers who are always on-the-go. So here are three protein bars thatll get the job donewithout compromising your health with loads of sugar.
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