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From Columbus, Ohio, USA:

Food labels list dietary fibers, sugar, and sugar alcohols. What's the difference between them? Should I treat the grams in the sugar-alcohol like the sugar grams?


Be aware that the sugar alcohols such as mannitol, sorbitol and the new one on the market, lactitol, will cause delayed absorption of the carbohydrate. Also, if eaten in any amount over two to three pieces of a diet candy (with these ingredients in them ) or one serving of a food as "sugar-free cookies," diarrhea may very well result.

Usually, if not more than one serving (about four to five grams of carbohydrate) is used, we do not count the sugar alcohol as part of the carbohydrate. Otherwise, if a substantial amount of the food is consumed, then it does need to be calculated, just as a regular sugar. As far as the fiber, we do not usually recognize the fiber unless there is at least five grams in a serving, and then we usually do not count all of that since it will delay the absorption of the rest of the carbohydrate.


Original posting 30 Oct 2000
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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