Reduced Sugar vs Sugar Free Baked Goods

Sweets are not usually my downfall. In fact I don't really like things that taste overtly sweet. But I am a sucker for brownies (though w/o nuts I wont touch them). I have had a small Pillsbury Reduced sugar brownie without much spike. However Pillsbury recently came out with the Sugar Free that I decided to give a try. They have the "standard" 9g sugr alcohols that most products have. My b/s are through the roof as if I had eaten a regular Ghiradelli brownie raising me to the 300's. I am trying to figure out if the Victoza is having effects on this? Anyone?

Sugar alcohol is, in many cases, worse than regular sugar for spikes. You’re probably better off making your own brownies at home, with almond flour, instead… and stevia or sucralose.

I was always led to believe that sugar alcohol was better for you than plain sugar because the sugar in alcohol form was already broken down (what we cant do on our own), thats my basic understanding anyway.

Sugar alcohols put my glucose up too. Tho not nearly as bad as dales. DWQ do you have said receipe? smile

I don’t have a recipe… But Gerri probably does. :slight_smile: She’s a great baker.

No, the body still processes sugar alcohol… But since it’s not as strong as sugar, companies end up adding twice or three times as much of it to achieve that sugar taste they want… and it ends up really spiking especially sensitive people.

I usually don’t give my son things with sugar alcohols (except sugar free gum which has never caused a problem), but my husband bought some sugar free ice cream and yesterday our boy wanted some. having only had a snack an hour previous, he was 12, but an hour after this sugar free ice cream he was 21! I was convinced he must have snuck something, though he denies it, but part of me wondered if it could have been something to do with the sugar free ice cream, even though i bolused for the total carbs including the sugar alcohols. then i saw this and now i really wonder…

I rcently had a discussion with an endocrinologist (not mine) someone I met at a function. He said that he tells his patients if you are craving or simply must give in to a sweet temptation, he would suggest they eat a regular baked good as opposed to something loaded with sugar alcohols. He further went on to say that the suggestion of finding another healthy way to bake brownies would be the better option. I read the replies and since I am new, I do not know who Gerri is but I would love some recipes! Again, I am not that big on sweets but every once in a while…I also visited a website that said in calculating sugar alcohols a good rate would be to take the sugar alcohol content (9g) and times it by four to get the sugar equivalent. So my 1/16th of a brownie had the equivalent of 36g of sugar???

It may seem like I am new to all of this but the opposite is true. I have been an insulin dependent diabetic for more than 28 years!

I have used half and half Splenda and sugar in baking without differing effects. Meaning use of the Splenda does not change the result (most cakes, cookies, pies cause spikes). I am still experimenting, but have no need to bake except for holidays as we do not give baked goods often. Brownies, I use any boxed mix; they do not raise BS too high because of the chocolate. But she only has one. Note, they do raise BS, just not what I would call a spike. Brownies and cheesecake are about the only cake/cookie product that do not cause major spikes. Ice cream cake is okay also or regular chocolate.

We should note here that the discussion is about sugar alcohols – not sugar substitutes. Sugar alcohols are NOT the same thing as Splenda, Truvia, Nutrasweet, etc.

From Wikipedia…

A sugar alcohol (also known as a polyol,[1] polyhydric alcohol, or polyalcohol) is a hydrogenated form of carbohydrate, whose carbonyl group (aldehyde or ketone, reducing sugar) has been reduced to a primary or secondary hydroxyl group (hence the alcohol). Sugar alcohols have the general formula H(HCHO)n+1H, whereas sugars have H(HCHO)nHCO. In commercial foodstuffs sugar alcohols are commonly used in place of table sugar (sucrose), often in combination with high intensity artificial sweeteners to counter the low sweetness. Of these, xylitol is perhaps the most popular due to its similarity to sucrose in appearance and sweetness. Sugar alcohols do not contribute to tooth decay.[2][3]

Sugar alcohols are usually incompletely absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestines which generally results in a smaller change in blood glucose than “regular” sugar (sucrose). This property makes them popular sweeteners among diabetics and people on low-carbohydrate diets. However, like many other incompletely digestible substances, overconsumption of sugar alcohols can lead to bloating, diarrhea and flatulence because they are not absorbed in the small intestine. Some individuals experience such symptoms even in a single-serving quantity. With continued use, most people develop a degree of tolerance to sugar alcohols and no longer experience these symptoms. As an exception, erythritol is actually absorbed in the small intestine and excreted unchanged through urine, so it has no side effects at typical levels of consumption.[1][5]

Some common sugar alcohols:

Glycol (2-carbon)

Glycerol (3-carbon)

Erythritol (4-carbon)

Threitol (4-carbon)

Arabitol (5-carbon)

Xylitol (5-carbon)

Ribitol (5-carbon)

Mannitol (6-carbon)

Sorbitol (6-carbon)

Dulcitol (6-carbon)

Iditol (6-carbon)

Isomalt (12-carbon)

Maltitol (12-carbon)

Lactitol (12-carbon)



The problem, like I mentioned, is that the companies use a large quantity of sugar alcohol to try to get to the intensity of the sugar taste, and for many people… It does make a BIG change in their blood sugar, as well as give them horrible side effects. I have found Erythritol, as mentioned in the exception comment, to be the only one not to affect blood glucose or cause gastric unpleasantness.

Yes, we are only referring to sugar alcohols, which I am well aware of the differences. My initial thread was intended that many companies are putting out “sugar free” baking goods such as Pillsbury switching from the “reduced Sugar” (which was made with splenda) to the Sugar Free which are made from the sugar alcohols. I guess I am acutely aware that the sugar alcohols DO NOT work in my best interest. I also know that all diabetics are not alike. What may affect me negatively may not others. I was just throwing the topic out there, hoping to hear from others with similar experiences…

Thanks for the explanation I have not ever looked to see what sugar alcohols are. Now I know! Knowledge is power right! Best thing to do is to cook, cook, cook! Ugh sometimes!

Watch out for Xylitol in your home if you have dogs–it kills them.

I know you and I know… but it felt like some folks were confused… so I thought I would add the little extra info. :slight_smile: It’s a good thread. Thanks for adding it.

It isn’t just sugar (or sugar alcohol) that raises blood sugar. It is carbs. You are looking at the sugar or sugar alcohol content in this product, but what about the carbs? Carbs raise blood sugar, and whether it is sugar free, sugar, or sugar alcohol if you eat something with a lot of carbs like a brownie (and perhaps eat more because it is “sugar free”?) it will raise your blood sugar. That’s why most of us have a problem with bread as well as cake.

Absolutely! Again I have been an insulin dependent diabetic for 28 years so I look at carbs first always.

Sorr, dale, didn’t mean to state the obvious. I didn’t realize you’d been diagnosed that long!

I’ve had them a few times and didn’t notice a spike, but I usually eat them after dinner so I have a bit of insulin onboard at that time. But I was WAY more sensitive to the ‘side-effects’ in this particular formulation than I usually am to sugar alcohols. It’s too bad because the brownies are soooo good!! I tried the chocolate frosting too, and it’s ok but I can definitely notice the after taste.

The one thing I don’t like is that the Splenda label is so prominent, yet there is still quite a bit of the sugar alcohol in it.

How do you interpret a Nutrition label listing sugar alcohol?

Do you exclude sugar alcohol from the total carb count?

Is there a conversion table or rule of thumb to convert grams of sugar alcohol to grams of sugar?

Take this label, for instance:

Total Carbohydrates 15 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugar 4 g
Sugar alcohols 3 g

What’s the carb count? Some people exclude fiber, making the carb count in this case 11 g. Do we exclude or include the Sugar alcohols?



Oh. I found this handy chart: