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From West Point, New York, USA:

My son is 8 years old. He was diagnosed a little over a year ago with Type 1. My relatives feel bad that he can't have candy so they buy him the sugarless and sugarfree candy.

This is where I get confused. What is sugar alcohol? I noticed there is always at least 10 grams and up of this in the special candy. Wouldn't it be better just to let him have a regular piece of candy and work it into his diet?


Sugar alcohol, often found in the form of sorbitol and mannitol in "sugar free" candies, is a source of carbohydrate. The advantage to some people is that it is not completely absorbed by the body. You can calculate about half of the sugar alcohol listed as carbohydrate. The disadvantage of sugar alcohols is if they are consumed in larger amounts they can cause diarrhea. (A significant side effect that I try to make people aware of.)

Oftentimes I do feel it is just as advantageous to use the regular sugar item and substitute it into the meal plan, especially if this is the treat that is really desired.


Original posting 3 Feb 97


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