Sugar alcohols, also know as polyols, are ingredients used as sweeteners and bulking agents. They occur naturally in foods and come from plant products such as fruits and berries. As a sugar substitute, they provide fewer calories (about a half to one-third less calories) than regular sugar. This is because they are converted to glucose more slowly, require little or no insulin to be metabolized and don't cause sudden increases in blood sugar. This makes them popular for those of us with diabetes; however, their use is becoming more common by just about everyone.
So why are sugar alcohols used so often? Well, they make things that are marketed toward those of us that are diabetic taste better! But, beware! There is often the misconception that all sugar alcohol-containing products are “free foods.” Some of these products may still contain significant amounts of carbohydrates. It's important to check the food label for the total carbohydrate contained in the product.
If a manufacturer uses the term “sugar free” or “no added sugar,” they must list the grams of sugar alcohols. If more than one sugar alcohol is used in a product, the “Nutrition Facts” panel will list the amount of sugar alcohol it contains under the total carbohydrate. If just one sugar alcohol is used, the label will list its specific name, for example, “mannitol” or “hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.”
Ok, let's look at the negatives associated with sugar alcohols. The most common side effect is the possibility of bloating and diarrhea when sugar alcohols are eaten in excessive amounts (trust me, I've been there). There is also some evidence that sugar alcohols, much like fructose (natural fruit sugar) in fruit and fruit juice can cause a “laxative effect.”
Weight gain has been seen when these products are overeaten. The American Diabetes Association claims that sugar alcohols are acceptable in a moderate amount but should not be eaten in excess. Some people with diabetes, especially Type I diabetics, have found that their blood sugars rise if sugar alcohols are eaten in uncontrolled amounts. Personally, I've found that if I've binged on ice cream with sugar alcohols it will in fact spike my blood sugar.
So, does this give you a definitive answer to your question. No! it shouldn't affect your blood sugar; but YES! it can spike your blood sugar if you eat to much of it. LOL, how about that for a contradictory answer!!!