Following the evils of sugar blog I was asked by several people is it better to use sweeteners instead of sugar? the answer is no! Lets start with (more in the next blog) a common sweetener found in ‘sugar free’ foods, sorbitol. Sorbitol also known as glucitol is a sugar substitute used in many ‘diet’ and ‘diabetic’ foods but is also naturally occurring in many stone fruits.
Sorbitol is not efficiently converted into glucose (read previous blog to find out the effects of glucose in weight management and health) and is only partially absorbed by the body. The unabsorbed sorbitol sits in the intestines causing bloat and gas. Sorbitol is fermented by the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract causing cramps, rumbles and nausea. Sorbitol also has a laxative effect as it draws water into the large intestine stimulating bowel movements leading to diarrhea and inflammation of the GI tract. 50% of the population experience significant symptoms of intolerance of sorbitol but are unaware that sorbitol is the cause, 5-10g of sorbitol is enough to cause bloating and other associated problems. Sorbitol can also aggravate symptoms of IBS with upto 70% of people with IBS being intolerant.
So if you want to keep your gut healthy and happy cut out ‘sugar free’ foods that contain sorbitol, including chewing gum which is particular high in sorbitol content.