People with diabetes know that natural sugar is like poison to their body. We are always looking for sugarless products. There are a lot of choices out there and some that cause unpleasant symptoms. If an artificial sweetener does, try another product. Be sure to read the labels carefully as some companies use more than one artificial sweetener. I found this out the hard way. I bought some candy sweetened with Splenda and didn't read all the ingredients. When I got symptoms that I have had with sugar alcohol sweeteners before, I re-read the ingredients more carefully and discovered that the candy was sweetened with Splenda plus a sugar alcohol. Many people have problems with sugar alcohols as you will see from the comments below. An easy way to identify sugar alcohols is that most end with “ol”. Some examples of sugar alcohol sweeteners are Isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol,and xylitol and these only have half the calories of white sugar (so they aren’t sugar free).
Artificial sweeteners are considered "free foods." They are designed in a lab and don’t have any calories and do not raise your blood sugar levels. Artificial low-calorie sweeteners include:
Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sugar Twin) and can be used in both hot and cold foods. Avoid this sweetener if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) Can be used in both cold and warm foods but it may lose some sweetness at high temperatures. People who have a condition called Phenylketonurics (PKU) which is inherited from both parents and should avoided.
Acesulfame potassium or ace-K (Sweet One, Swiss Sweet, Sunett) can be used in both cold and hot foods, including baking and cooking.
Sucralose (Splenda) Can be used in hot and cold foods, including baking and cooking. Processed foods often contain Sucralose.
Advantame can be used in baked goods, soft drinks,other non-alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, candies, frostings, frozen desserts, gelatin, puddings, jams, jellies, processed fruits, fruit juices, toppings and syrups.
Neotame (Newtame) is an artificial sweetener made by NutraSweet that is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).
Read Between the Lines. Use this "cheat sheet" to identify which products are sweetened the way you want them sweetened.
No sugar or sugar-free. The product does not contain sugar at all, though it may contain sugar alcohols or other artificial sweeteners.
No added sugar. During processing, no extra sugar was added. However, the original source might have contained sugar, such as fructose in fruit juice. Additional sweeteners such as sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners might have been added.
Dietetic. The product may have reduced calories, but this word can mean a lot of things.
Below are complaints of people who have had bad reactions to products sweetened with sugar alcohols. I personally have had severe gastrointestinal (GI) problems similar to the people below. I recently bought hard candy online that it said was sweetened with Splenda (which I use every day without problems). I got GI problems similar to those mentioned below. I re-read the label and it was sweetened with Splenda but also contained sugar alcohol. It is important to read the entire label.
"This has given me severe GI distress including bloating, extreme gas, and severe diarrhea."
"Oh… boy! Five and a half hours ago I had some guava paste (sweetened with Splenda’ and…. Maltito)l! Now I’m online trying to figure out how to relieve the horrible pain and bloating and disgusting flatulence. This sugar alcohol needs to be banned by the FDA, people!!!"
"I’m a diabetic and when I wanna eat sugary things, I’m limited to what I can eat. My friend told me that sugar free gummy bears were sold at the pharmacy so I went to buy some. If I would've known the side effect of eating them I would have saved myself $4.50 and just eaten 3 week old raw chicken! I can honestly say that NEVER have I felt so sick in my entire life. The warning on the back “excessive consumption may have a laxative effect” IS BULLSHIT! I ate 10 of them and wanted to die! Russell Stovers sugar free candies have never had that “effect” on me.
MALTITOL SYRUP SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!
"OH MY GOD. Yesterday I bought some “Double D” sugar free caramel chews. It said no artificial colours or flavours, like that’s healthy, right? Well, with 55% maltitol syrup I was in for one embarrassing day! I had musicians in a studio & was trying to work with them & had to keep bolting out with EXPLOSIONS, if you get my drift. NEVER AGAIN. Nasty little caramel critters."
"OMG.. I completely agree with Kimberley’s comments. I thought I had eaten some bad food, but I remembered that I really did not have anything to eat out of the ordinary. Until I ate these gummies that were 35g per serving of Maltitol. I had bad side effects including diarrhea and gas. I will never eat anything with this in it again. It is New Year’s Eve and I cannot even go out and enjoy myself because I am running to bathroom every hour. BAN this from food…it is terrible."
"I just had a terrible experience with maltitol in protein bars. I knew my abdominal pain was related to the protein bars but could not figure out why–until I stumbled onto this. Had one yesterday, got sick. Another today, even more sick. Both bars contained maltitol. The pain and bloating today was so severe I nearly went to the hospital–it even hurt to breathe. After throwing up and a few rounds in the bathroom, I feel much better. Never touching that garbage ever again."
"Avoid Sugar Alcohols at all costs. They give you diarrhea like none other! Try Agave Nectar or nothing at all!"
"My mother and I recently decided to cut down on the fat foods, but can’t resist our urges for sweets. We came across this sugar free chocolate cream pie from Walmart last week; bad idea. It made us so sick. She was sick for two days while I suffered for about four days. We decided, okay, no more sugar free pies. Now yesterday we picked up some sugar free chocolate chip cookies. Again, bad idea. Had some last night, I felt fine, a little gassy, but my mother felt sick. I decided to try some more today and yeah, the bathroom seems to be my new best friend. Curious we looked at the ingredients and found maltitol and sorbitol. Never saw that before so I had assumed this was making us sick. I looked it up and guess we’re not the only ones. Learned our lesson, I’d rather cheat and have some sugar than eat sugar free and be glued to the bathroom all day. Don’t eat sugar free foods from Walmart!"