aka Digestion Resistant, Slow-Digestible, Non-Digestible Sweeteners
On my quest to discover all sweeteners that are partially or minimally digested,
I found about 200 products
Make your selection below:
ErythritolErythritol-based Sweeteners. Erythritol is a polyol or sugar alcohol - a type of carbohydrate that, unlike sugar, is not completely digested. It is less sweet than sugar (~70% the sweetness of regular sugar). It is promoted as a natural sweetener as is found in nature but is synthetically produced by fermentation or an electrochemical process. It is considered a zero-calorie sweetener as it provides 0.2 kcal/g.
XylitolXylitol-based Sweeteners. Xylitol is a polyol or sugar alcohol - a type of carbohydrate that, unlike sugar, is digested slowly, having little impact on blood sugar or insulin levels. Xylitol provides about half the calories of regular sugar (sucrose). Xylitol is the sweetest of the polyols and is as sweet as sucrose.
Sorbitol | Mannitol | Isomaltorbitol and mannitol were the first polyols to become available as sweeteners; suited for sugar free recipes, they attracted diabetics
Are found in nature, but the store-bought sorbitol and mannitol are synthetically produced from glucose & fructose, respectively
Fibers | Yacon, Inulin, FOS, IMOProducts containing no-digestible sweeteners | Fructooligosacharides (FOS): a carbohydrate with linear chains of (< 9) fructoses.
Inulin (from Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, or agave): a carbohydrate with long chains of ( > 10) fructoses.
Isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO): a short-chain carbohydrate, produced from starch.
FOS, inulin & IMO have 1/2 the calories of table sugar and are prebiotics (are minimally digested in the small intestine and stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria)
Rare Sugars | Allulose, TagatoseRare sugars, as the name implies, are rare in nature but can be synthetically produced. Examples are allulose (aka D-psicose), D-xylose, and tagatose. They are slightly sweet; typically half as sweet as table sugar. (allulose is 70% as sweet as sugar). Their sweetness profile is very similar to table sugar. Are low in calories. Have low GI. D-xylose is a synthetic sugar produced from coconut shells, corn cobs, and other plants rich in hemicellulose.
Quick Facts about Low-Digestible Sweteners
Low-digestible sweeteners have sweet carbohydrates that resist digestion and so, provide 25 to 90% less calories than table sugar. These products are not calorie free, but by law may be labeled as zero-calorie if they provide <5 cal/serving (note on that here).
Low-digestible carbohydrates used as sweeteners include polyols (erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, isomalt), rare sugars (allulose, tagatose, xylitol), and some soluble fibers (inulin, fructo- and isomalto-oligosaccharides). As opposed to high-intensity sweeteners, all of these carbs have bulking properties which is the ability to add weight and volume to foods, impacting mouthfeel and texture, like regular sugar does.
Being less sweet than table sugar (xylitol is an exception), these carbs are often blended with high-intensity sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K, and neotame. See erythritol blends, xylitol blends, sorbitol blends, soluble fiber blends, and allulose blends.
Advantages of these carbs: sweet taste, lower in calories, bulking properties, and digestive health benefits. Disadvantage: Eaten alone in empty stomach or in excess may cause diarrhea or other adverse gastrointestinal effects.
How do Low-Digestible Sweeteners Behave in our Body?
As opposed to table sugar, which is completely digested (broken down and absorbed in the small intestine as simple sugars glucose and fructose), low-digestible sweeteners are carbohydrates that are partially or not digested at all. As a consequence, these carbohydrates contribute less calories than table sugar. To differentiate from high-intensity sweeteners, which are completely free of calories, I refer to those low-digestible carbs as reduced calorie sweeteners
When in comes to the effect of blood sugar levels, low-digestible sweeteners may act in one of two ways: (1) be slowly converted into glucose, not causing a sudden increase in blood sugar; or (2) have no effect on blood glucose. They are often promoted by their manufacturers or distributors as low glycemic index sweeteners
The portion of low-digestible sweeteners that is not digested by gut enzymes, reaches the large intestine intact and is fermented by microbiota (healthy bacteria in the gut). They provide health benefits as a prebiotics by stimulating the growth and activity of gut microbes or as a fiber by improving bowel function. When they enter the large intestine, they may act by drawing water from the body, causing loose stools or diarrhea. Adverse effects, consequence of undigested sweeteners reaching the large intestine, include a variety of digestive issues. Bloating, stomach rumble, flatulence, and diarrhea are commonly associated with excessive intake. The uncomfortable digestive effects you might feel are similar to that experienced when having too much high-fiber foods (beans). All low-digestible sweeteners are FODMAP carbohydrates, an acronym for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols, and should not be consumed by people with "irritable bowel syndrome" (IBS).
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