Sugar alcohol question

ok, I’m 4 weeks into this life and doing well, all things considered. I’m doing much better than I would have believed with cutting carbs from my diet. I miss my old favorites but right now, I’m being pretty strict as I want to get my a1c down and see what my other levels are for my next round of blood tests at the start of May. Plus I’ve begun to lose the weight I’ve been trying to lose (silly me, I was following the low fat/high carb diets that I THOUGHT were wise) and I am excited and want to keep dropping the weight. So, here is my question. My daughter found some sugar free treats and got them for me, for when I want a sweet treat, something I had mentioned was hard in the evening, the only time I feel a craving for something sweet.

The package says 2 g net carbs per serving. when I read the bag it says there are 21 g of carb with 1 fiber and 18 sugar alcohol and that the SA have a minimal impact on blood sugar. I know there is the ymmv issue but, in general, is this true? I also know that some people experience intestinal issues with too much sugar alcohol. But if the package say there are 2 carbs per serving, would it be a problem for one serving? Again, I know there is the ymmv aspect but I’m new to any sugar free stuff except for gum. Do those of you who eat foods with sugar alcohol in them, have trouble with a single serving?

Thanks in advance for what you can tell me.
Type 2, diag 1/09

The best course would be to test them, have one or however many you want for a “serving” then test an hour later and see what happens. Sugar alcohols maybe be “low carb” for people who are just trying to lose weight, but I know at least for me they do raise my blood sugar. It might be best, if you can be satisfied with, say, a one-ounce piece of really good dark chocolate, to do that, the regular kind with sugar. One a day doesn’t affect me badly and gets me past my chocolate fix.

Thanks Ellie, I was wondering about that. I don’t crave it every day but there are some evenings… the other night I put about 2 tsp of peanut butter on a spoon and put maybe 1 tsp of honey on it, maybe even less, and it hit the spot. But I would be nice to have a couple of things lined up. I think the key to success is having options so we don’t feel like we can’t have anything. And, knowing how to keep that in check.

I’ve read that the sugar alcohols give people trouble but the people I’ve asked said they don’t notice it, but they also only eat a little. Maybe most of the trouble comes when people eat too much… which is true of all food really.

thanks again.


I have lots of experience here and I think I can provide some feedback that might help. At my website we review all kinds of sugar free and low carb snacks, drinks, and foods. Many of the products I review contain sugar alcohol. Over time I’ve collected this block of knowledge/advice:

  1. There are more than 10 different varieties of sugar alcohol. All have different properties, including sweetness. They all have different glycemic indexes, and different absorption rates. Individual metabolism will impact each of these properties as well.

  2. “Net Carbs” is a marketing trick used to appeal to the low carb dieters of the world. In actuality, the number of carbs metabolized from sugar alcohol usually ends up being about half of the gram mass of the sugar alcohol. So in your example, you would start with 21 grams of carbs, subtract the fiber leaving 20 grams, and then subtract about half of the sugar alcohol which would leave you with about 11 grams of digestible carbohydrate. I’ve found this to be the best way of estimating the “impact carbs.”

  3. There are suggested serving sizes for a reason. When you try one of these new snacks, start out below the recommended serving size and see how things go. This means checking your blood glucose, and also watching for any intestinal problems. I always recommend stopping at the serving size even if you see no problems. Ellie had a great point that ties back to my statement about individual metabolism. I, and others, seem to see higher blood sugars when consuming certain sugar alcohols. This whole Type 2 game is kind of like a science project, where you constantly have to experiment. That’s why it’s best to start low and work your way up - less chance of an unwanted problem.

  4. Low carb (or lower than average carb) and no sugar added snacks can still be very high in calories. Be wary of how much caloric impact the snacks have, or you will defeat the purpose quickly.

Hope this helps. I know this was insanely confusing to me when I first started out. Feel free to send me a message here or email me from if you have more questions in this area!