In an attempt to achieve reduced sugar products, as sought by today’s consumer, the food industry makes use different sweeteners such as maltitol, which today we tell you the pros and cons of its use in our dishes.
What is maltitol?
Maltitol, as we said, it is a sweetener widely used in place of sugar or sucrose in different foods, especially of industrial origin. It belongs to the sugar alcohols, polyols or polyols like sorbitol or xylitol.
Its sweetening power is similar to other sweeteners, reaching 70-90% of the capacity of sucrose, and in our body, is partially metabolized, so, although a sugar and provides 4 Kcal / gram is believed that can finally get a much lower energy input.
But a study published in the journal Gastroenterology, concluded that the absorption of sugar alcohols including maltitol, is almost complete and that your energy intake is almost similar to that we get when we eat sugar.
Its utility for creating reduced sugar, suitable for diabetics or special diets foods is what has widespread use in the industry and its presence in a variety of foods, since its sweetening power allows the use of smaller proportions than would use of sucrose to flavor foods.
The pro of using maltitol
Besides being very useful in reducing sugar content of some foods and with this sweetener, empty calories, maltitol is not cariogenic, i.e. it does not favor the development of caries in our mouth because it serves as a substrate for bacteria that produce them. Conversely, maltitol and other sugar alcohols may reduce the risk of developing caries as has been tested by French scientists.
Moreover, unlike the excess sugar that can generate fatty liver, using maltitol in place of table sugar or sucrose, reduces risk factors for suffer nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis or fatty liver not caused by alcohol, which is another point in favor of using this sweetener as a sugar substitute.
Similarly, a study a couple of years ago, confirms that consumption of maltitol produces a lower glycemic response than that produced sugar, which can be helpful for those with diabetes and seek consumption of foods that raise slower glucose levels in blood or what is the same, have a lower glycemic index.
Thus, this sugar substitute besides has great use on an industrial level, a less harmful metabolic effect in the body and even beneficial when it comes to control glucose levels, insulin, cholesterol and other parameters in the body, and as to prevent caries development.
Cons of using maltitol
The difference in metabolism maltitol which is responsible for many of the benefits of using this sweetener, is in turn a cause of their against.
Since maltitol is partially digested in the body in appreciable quantities and if we perform regular consumption can have a laxative effect and cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, flatulence and others, and eventually, its intake does not produce adaptations the intestinal flora.
However, American scientists note that the dose be very high maltitol to cause severe symptoms as in amounts of 30-40 grams per day this sweetener produce mild symptoms and even not have laxative effect.
Still, a sweetener maltitol is not recommended for those with irritable color or suffer from swelling and bloating frequent.
On the other hand, we must not forget that the maltitol continues to be added to foods sugar and, although it has different effects to table sugar or sucrose, its excesses are not recommended , as it will encourage excess calories and can also cause symptoms gastrointestinal as mentioned above.
So we should not abuse maltitol foods such as chocolates or sugarless gum, canned fruit, candy and some other “diet” products that may contain maltitol under the name of E-965 that can be identified on the label. Also, this sweetener is marketed in health food, nutrition stores and supermarkets, but as with everything, moderation is the key if we want to get the benefits without suffering the effects of excess.
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