Are Sugar Alcohols In Gum Keto-friendly?
The Ketogenic diet (or keto diet) is a high-fat low carb diet that has been steadily gaining popularity over the last few years.
However, following the keto diet has certain disadvantages as well. For instance, eating a lot of protein can induce what is referred to as keto breath – a euphemism for the odor of excess ammonia when you exhale. To counter this effect, many people brush at least twice a day and turn to sugar-free gum.
But are the sugar alcohols found in gum keto-friendly, or are people sabotaging their ketosis by indulging in chewing gum on keto? In order to answer that question, it’s crucial to comprehend what sugar alcohols are.
What Exactly Are Sugar Alcohols?
Sugar alcohols (also called polyols) exist naturally in fruits and vegetables. Although, most polyols you see in products like gum are artificially produced by combining sucrose, starch, and glucose. Polyols aren’t as sweet as regular sugar and are used as substitutes for table sugar. Additionally, polyols do not contain ethanol – the chemical found in soft drinks that give you a type of buzz.
Here are some of the more common types of sugar alcohols:
Sorbitol contains around 2.5 calories per gram and is produced from glucose. It’s more commonly found in products such as sugar-free gums and candies, and even frozen desserts. It leaves a cooling effect in the mouth but has no aftertaste.
Xylitol is the most popular of the sugar alcohols and is as sweet as table sugar. It has at least 2.4 calories per gram, which is around 40% fewer calories than regular sugar. Xylitol is found in mouthwash, chewing gum, toothpaste, hard candies, etc.
Maltitol is derived from sugar maltose and has approximately 2.0 calories per gram. Maltitol is used in making ice cream, baked goods, chocolate, etc. and it is also the most likely polyol to cause a blood glucose spike.
Erythritol has only 0.2 calories per gram and is made by fermenting the glucose found in cornstarch. And, unlike other types of sugar alcohols, erythritol has the least amount of impact on your gut health. Generally, erythritol is used as a sweetener in low-calorie foods.
What Sugar Alcohol Type Is Best To Maintain Ketosis?
Even though some dieticians will allow their patients to consume products that contain sugar alcohols – it doesn’t mean that polyols can’t affect your blood sugar level.
For example, maltitol is not only a disaccharide, but it also contains glucose. It’s also very likely to cause a blood sugar response after ingestion, and that can affect your ketosis. Apart from that, some sugar alcohols aren’t completely absorbed by the small intestine, and this can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or cramping.
The only acceptable form of sugar alcohol is erythritol because it does not affect your glycemic index, and it doesn’t cause much digestive discomfort. Nonetheless, if you’re ultimate aim in following the ketogenic diet is wellness, then its best you turn to natural sources such as the monk fruit extract.