Sugar-Free Candy: Sweet Treat or the Cause of Digestive Issues?

Sugar-Free Candy
Photo Courtesy of Pexels – Karolina Grabowska

Eliminating that urge for something sweet with sugar is hard, especially if you’re a diabetic or trying to lose weight. Sugar free diabetic candy can be a tasty option. Besides the sugar-free candy being a safer sugar choice, it may taste and resemble the same ones made from regular sugar, but the similarity stops there from how they work through the digestive track such as with laxative effects, gas, cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. For this purpose, read on to learn more about the gastrointestinal issues related to this type of candy.

Sugar-Free Candy’s Sugar Alcohols

How sugar-free candy affects digestion differently than ordinary sugar boils down to the effects of its plant derived sugar alcohols also referred to as polyols such as xylitol, erythritol, and maltitol that are common ingredients in diabetic candy. Other sugar alcohols are actitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH), sorbitol, and mannitol.

Though better for weight control, the avoidance of dental decay, hikes in blood sugar, some of these sugar alcohols can pose more problems for some people than others. In particular, sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, and mannitol can cause an intolerance for laxative effects such as bloating and diarrhea when overindulging to spiking up blood sugar for diabetics to weight gain. Moderation is the best preventive measure to follow when consuming sugar alcohols.

The reason sugar alcohols can play such havoc in your system is because they don’t digest as completely as regular sugar with glucose that is fully absorbed in the large intestines. As a result of the inefficient way sugar alcohols are absorbed once they reach the gastrointestinal tract and the colon, they can attract water causing diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.

How to Lessen Digestive Issues with Diabetic Candy

The most important thing is to read the product’s label to find the particular sugar alcohols that the sugar-free candy may contain. After all, the worst offenders are sorbitol and mannitol, which the FDA deemed mandatory to state on the candy’s label if the product has 50 grams of sorbitol or 98 grams of mannitol having a laxative effect if eaten daily and in excess.

What else that helps is avoiding high-fat foods such as deep-fried foods. Use caution if you must eat them, but limit yourself to fewer of those digestive related causing foods when also eating sugar-free candy.

The need for a sweet is hard to resist and sugar-free candy can solve that craving. Therefore, remember this type of candy may have laxative effects so eating that candy moderately is important to best keep digestive issues away.

This post is not intended to diagnose or advise, only your doctor can do that. It is just to provide some helpful knowledge to keep you better informed.


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