A little while ago, a friend sent over a couple of tubs of ice cream. He said they were a relatively new entrant to the market and claimed to be Diabetes friendly.
On examining the printed ingredients on the pack, I found the two primary sweeteners to be:
- Maltitol is a polyol or sugar alcohol, is lower (2.4 kcal/gm) in calories than sugar (4 kcal/gm), results in a reduced glycaemic response, and does not aid in tooth decay or spikes/sudden increases in blood glucose levels. It can cause flatulence and laxative effects when consumed in larger quantities. 1–3
- Fructose Oligosaccharides are a class of dietary fibre that isn’t fully digested by the body, delivers 2 kcal/gm of energy and can reduce post-prandial blood glucose response. It can cause laxative among other non-serious, undesirable gastrointestinal effects, especially with over-consumption.1
While these additives are considered safe, the combination of these two sweeteners in foods was studied, and found they can be jointly used in sugar-free foods, and do deliver the benefit of reduced post-prandial blood glucose response. The downside is a small and transient increase in non-serious gastrointestinal symptoms. 1
There is however the possibility of a hypersensitive reaction to Maltitol, as seen in a 60 year old man (with a history of hypothyroidism and cutaneous psoriasis) after consuming a candy that was sweetened with Maltitol syrup. 4
Given the product claims to have lower fat and calories in comparison to other products, and both, fat and calories are a matter of consideration for diabetics, that’s good news too. 5
All in all, based on the above findings, I thought the products safe for my own consumption and that of my family, and we proceeded to demolish the lot.
- 1.Respondek F, Hilpipre C, Chauveau P, et al. Digestive tolerance and postprandial glycaemic and insulinaemic responses after consumption of dairy desserts containing maltitol and fructo-oligosaccharides in adults. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014;68(5):575-580. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.30
- 2.Ruiz-Ojeda F, Plaza-Díaz J, Sáez-Lara M, Gil A. Effects of Sweeteners on the Gut Microbiota: A Review of Experimental Studies and Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(suppl_1):S31-S48. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy037
- 3.Saraiva A, Carrascosa C, Raheem D, Ramos F, Raposo A. Maltitol: Analytical Determination Methods, Applications in the Food Industry, Metabolism and Health Impacts. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(14). doi:10.3390/ijerph17145227
- 4.Rodríguez T, Cámara H, García-Trujillo J, Magriz T, Fernández P. A Case of Immediate Hypersensitivity Reaction to Maltitol. Case Rep Med. 2017;2017:2127167. doi:10.1155/2017/2127167
- 5.Chawla R, Madhu S, Makkar B, et al. RSSDI-ESI Clinical Practice Recommendations for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 2020. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2020;24(1):1-122. doi:10.4103/ijem.IJEM_225_20