What You Should Know
Maltitol is a commonly used artificial sugar substitute. It often goes by its common registered names of Maltisorb® or Maltisweet®. Maltitol has fewer calories than table sugar and is frequently used in low-calorie foods like gum, ice cream and cakes. Because Maltitol doesn’t break down with bacteria in the mouth, it doesn’t cause tooth decay.
Maltitol cannot replace sugar in home baking as Splenda® can because it does not caramelize or brown when heated. It doesn’t react in baking the same way that sugar does.
Detractors of Maltitol claim that the sugar substitute can be misleading to those trying to lose weight. Maltitol is approximately _ as sweet as sugar and has approximate _ of the calories. This would potentially mean that you would need _ more Maltitol to get the same sweetness as sugar which would give you the same amount of calories. Therefore, although products that use Maltitol as their sweetener are legally allowed to call themselves “sugar-free”, consumers could potentially be consuming the same amount of carbohydrates and have a similar rise in blood glucose levels as if they ate sugar. This can sabotage a dieter’s efforts. Maltitol can cause intestinal discomfort that manifests as diarrhea, gas or bloating if consumed in large quantities.
Manufacturers of Maltitol claim that the body does not absorb the glucose in Maltitol the same way as it does sugar and therefore, there are no spikes in blood sugar which are thought to contribute to fat storage and weight gain. Some manufacturers even claim that Maltitol is suitable for diabetes patients although there appears to be no mention of it by the American Diabetes Association. The Association does say that it is the total carbohydrates consumed, more than which type are consumed, that make the largest difference to blood sugar levels.
- Similar mouthfeel to sugar, allowing it to be used in many commercial baked goods.
- Gram for gram, Maltitol contains fewer calories than sugar.
- Maltitol does not cause tooth decay.
- Maltitol is only approximately as sweet as sugar.
- To achieve a similar amount of sweetness as sugar, Maltitol may have as many calories as sugar.
- Maltitol can cause intestinal discomfort in larger doses.
- Maltitol cannot be used as a sugar substitute in home baking.
Maltitol has definitely found a place in commercial food preparation as an inexpensive sugar substitute. However, relying on “sugar-free” foods that contain Maltitol could potential lead to weight gain as the consumer may still be consuming the same number of calories. Other sugar substitutes have been shown to not spike blood sugar levels and may be a better choice for those trying to lose weight or control their diabetes.