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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine   GeniSoy’s Low Carb Crunch Bars
    August 2004    Page 13       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Keeping a Food Diary
 Cooking With Rhubarb
 Notes From The Field
 Shop Since You've Dropped
 Here's What's New!
 I Have a Metabolism?
 Jonny Bowden Weighs In
 Flawless Summer Skin!
 Dining at 14,000 Feet
 Makeup Tips: Part Two
 Open Letter from CarbSmart
 Not Losing Weight?
 The Sugar Alcohol Question
 Make Your Summer Spicy!



  DaVinci Gourmet

                   Sugar Alcohols: Our Expert Panel Speaks Out

From Elaine Payne
Owner, Low Carb Connoisseur

As a long time low carb retailer and dieter, I have seen the arrival of most of the low carb products currently on the market today. In today’s market place, sugar alcohols appear on the ingredient lists of numerous low carb products from candy and cookies to crackers, and even pasta.

When you look at the array of sugar alcohol laden candies and other products available now, it’s hard to believe that we early dieters had to satisfy our cravings for sweets by trading homemade chocolate candy recipes on Internet message boards. Back when it was hard to come by commercially made low carb candies and sweets, we still craved them. But our cravings were tempered not so much by willpower, but by the mere lack of available products.

Many have accused Low Carb diets of being a bit boring back then because of this lack of commercially prepared products, but I have to think that we were successful because of this very fact. More successful I believe, today’s dieter who is new to the low carb way of eating and is being inundated with polyol filled products designed to cater to — not reduce — their sweet tooth.

The key to being successful on a low carb diet is the same today as it was before this barrage of specialty processed food. The successful low carb dieter builds their diet by laying a solid foundation of whole, natural, and most of all healthy, foods. It is unfair for manufacturers to deceive the low carb consumer into believing that they are following a low carb diet merely by substituting one junk food for another.

When and if processed foods are added to the diet, the consumer must look beyond the words “low carb” and consider the product's complete nutritional profile. The consumer will be well served when a final determination is made as to how they should count the carbs in sugar alcohols, but in the meantime, a conservative approach to these types of products is best.

From Mark Uhrmacher
VP of Sales & Marketing
Expert Foods, Inc.

Low carb products are absolutely everywhere and with them come controversial ingredients like sugar alcohols. The unfortunate fact is sugar alcohols really serve the interests of manufacturers far better than they do consumers. Manufacturers like them because they are easy to use as a replacement for granulated sugar and various forms of corn syrup. This property helps existing manufacturers adapt their conventional products into low-carb ones without huge investments in new machinery and R&D.

Many of the early producers of low-carb products limited their use. However, it seems each new player in the low-carb market increases the amount of sugar alcohols per serving creating what I call a "race to the bottom." Of course, anyone who has consumed too much of a product containing sugar alcohols knows the double entendre in that statement.

The disservice to the consumer comes from a couple of major issues:

  • Every product that contains sugar alcohols includes a statement on its packaging that is similar to this one: "Sugar Alcohols have a negligible affect on blood glucose levels." Unfortunately, the scientific research doesn?t back up this claim. In fact, some recent studies have refuted it. In my July, 2004 column I referenced a few of these. What is known is that they produce a blood glucose lower reaction than sugar. However, "less than sugar" (four calories/gram) and "negligible" (close to 0) are two very different statements. When a product has a gram or two of these ingredients per serving it probably isn't a huge problem. However, when products have 10+ grams the holes in the "negligible" argument are significant.

  • Sugar alcohols are laxatives. The FDA requires a warning on any packaged product that uses them. It usually reads something like, "Excessive consumption can cause laxation." This is a polite way of describing what can be an incredible uncomfortable state. Unfortunately, this warning doesn't provide what level is "excessive." That's because a person's threshold is different from everyone else's. Honestly, the real problem is that the FDA doesn't require these warnings on food service products. More and more sugar-alcohol based products are showing up in restaurants, caterers, and hotels.
That slice of low-carb cheesecake from your favorite eatery might be the gift that keeps on giving.


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