Sugar alcohol is neither sugar nor alcohol. It is a substance that occurs naturally in plants, and it is a sweetener that is used in candies, desserts and is also found in chewing gum under the name of xylitol. Unlike sugar, sugar alcohol does not cause the sudden spikes in blood glucose because it takes longer to be absorbed into the body, making it ideal for use by anyone with diabetes. But it should still be consumed in moderation because large amounts of any type of sugar can be bad for your health.
Sugar alcohol tends to cause gas and bloating. This is caused by the small amounts that are not absorbed into the blood, and instead, sit and ferment in the intestines. Diarrhea is another side effect from sugar alcohol consumption. If you experience any of the symptoms after consuming something with sugar alcohol in it, then you should avoid products with the sweetener.
Sugar alcohol contains far fewer calories than regular sugar, which makes it ideal for someone who is on a weight loss diet. It also does not promote tooth decay, which is why it is used to sweeten chewing gum. There are no sudden blood sugar spikes, so it is safe for use by a diabetic person. Sugar alcohol has all the perks you get from consuming sugar without all of the adverse effects that come from eating sugar.
Sugar Alcohol vs. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, known as saccharin and aspartame, contain no calories at all, while the sugar alcohol has about 2.6 calories per gram. It is a matter of choice as to which one you use. Sugar alcohol is not as sweet as regular sugar and you may find that you are using more to get that 'sweet' taste you crave, thus defeating your purpose if you are trying to lose weight. But if the calories are not your concern, sugar alcohol is healthier than the artificial sweeteners because it is a natural sweetener.
It all depends on what you are using it for. If you are a diabetic, sugar alcohol is ideal for keeping your blood glucose levels under control. If you are trying to lose weight, then sugar alcohol in place of table or regular sugar is what you should be using. So, it simply depends on any health issues you have, or if you simply are looking for a better alternative to sugar.
Whether you use sugar alcohol, artificial sweeteners or regular sugar is a matter you will have to decide for yourself. If you have health issues such as diabetes, it would be beneficial for you to discuss your options with your health care provider. As with any form of sugar or sweetener, large amounts of it can cause a person with diabetes to go into what is called a diabetic shock. So, sugar alcohol should be used in moderation as you would with any other sweetner.