Sugar Alcohols

sugar-alcohols-post

This week has been very eye opening for me.

When I took on flexible dieting over 3 years ago, I was VERY in tune with my body.  When I ate something that didn’t agree with me, I noticed it almost immediately.  I’m certain that was from avoiding processed foods, most sugar, artificial sweeteners, copious amounts of fiber found in certain “diet items” that I kept out as well as being much leaner than I am currently. There is nothing wrong with having these items in a diet and they can be very helpful in warding off cravings and helping us stay on track when we are pinched for time but if they cause inflammation and digestive troubles for you they may hide your results on the scale and in the mirror. Knowing that can help our frustration with the movement of the scale and put our minds at ease.  A peaceful mind equals not only faster physical results but optimal health.

Story time

I love Halo Top.  I really love it. The issue: my body doesn’t seem to like sugar alcohols in the quantity I would prefer to consume them (a lot).  I was fitting in a pint of Halo top on the regular and noticing I felt puffier.  I did a little experiment on myself and after removing the sugar alcohols for a few days, my bloating was down and I felt tighter all over.

There is no need for me to avoid having Halo Top.  Knowing what I know, I can choose what to have, when to have it, and if I am ok with the reaction I have to these items. Same with the insoluble fiber in some protein bars such as Quest bars. I am in charge of my health, my nutritional decisions, and ultimately my results in the gym.  I used to feel like food controlled me but changing my mindset and realizing that is not the case has been paramount in my success to lose the pounds I put on during my full time job in 2015.

Sugar alcohols and insoluble fiber are difficult for your body to digest.  The insoluble fiber keeps you feeling full longer which is wonderful but with that being said when food sits in your digestive tract too long it can cause bloating and gas.  It also can cause extra weight on the scale in undigested food sitting in your digestive tract.

Sugar alcohols although they are typically counted in the carb count impact the calories of a food differently as they do not impact blood sugar levels the same as glucose.  Diabetics are instructed to count half the number of sugar alcohols in a food when deciding on insulin coverage for the carbs as opposed to the carbs in sugar.

List of common sugar alcohols:

•Erythritol.

•Glycerol (also known as glycerin or glycerine)

•hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.

•isomalt.

•lactitol.

•maltitol.

•mannitol.

•sorbitol.

Maltitol has the highest glycemic index of the sugar alcohols but it is still very low in comparison to sugar and refined carbs.

The best choice is erythritol which is found in Truvia and Halo Top since the glycemic index is zero.

Bottom line:

Practice having these items in moderation.  Keep in mind they are there for convenience options but should not be the focal point of a nutritious and well rounded diet.  Remember when you do have them, there is a chance the scale can go up from undigested food in your gut and you may experience bloating.

My favorite sweeteners are Stevia and Truvia.  I attempt to keep sugar alcohols to a minimum and work on having one protein bar, one protein shake, or less per day.  The days I’m pressed for time and go over this guideline happen but understanding that all food is not created equal is important when practicing flexible dieting and making the connection that sprinkling in treats is helpful psychologically when dieting with sustainability and consistency which leads to adherence which leads to results.  The most optimal program won’t be optimal for you if you can’t stick with it.  The best program for you is one you can adhere to for years and years to come.  From my experience that translates to room for the low quality foods I love and a program with the consideration of my quality of life.

Health is wealth,

Karey

 

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