Can I take products with maltitol if I have diabetes?
The answer is YES. People with diabetes can consume most sugar substitutes, such as aspartame, saccharin, stevia, or maltitol.
These well-known sweeteners or sugar substitutes provide the sweetness of sugar but with fewer calories. This is because most of them have a much higher sweetening power than sugar itself, even up to 600 times, such as sucralose. Therefore, a small amount of these products is more than enough to sweeten food.
You may have heard that maltitol is the “Diabetic Sugar”. Maltitol does not affect blood glucose levels, so if you are diabetic, you will have no problem taking it.
Advantages of maltitol over sugar
- Equally sweet: Maltitol is almost 90% as sweet as sugar, but it is partially metabolised, so it has a much lower energy content than sugar.
- Fewer calories: Maltitol contains only 2 kilocalories per gram consumed, compared to 4 kilocalories for sugar.
- Low glycaemic index: a study by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that foods containing maltitol raise blood glucose levels more slowly.
- It does not produce cavities: compared to sugar, which does.
Does maltitol have side effects?
As mentioned above, maltitol has a great advantage in terms of metabolism, but there are also some disadvantages. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the WHO, the consumption of maltitol is completely safe for the body.
But as with everything else, one has to be careful with the amount consumed, because a much higher than normal amount can cause a laxative effect in some people.
Despite this, an American study showed that the amounts that should be taken to produce this laxative effect are about 30 to 40 grams a day, and these effects are mild, not serious.
Chocolates with maltitol
Maltitol is a great ally for sugar-free chocolate factories, as it provides the same level of sweetness, and does not affect the mix of ingredients.
Many companies are already starting to use maltitol to add to their formulas.
The catalonian company, Chocolates Torras, is one of the first brands to start incorporating it into its “sugar-free” products.
Over time, large companies such as Nestlé, Valor, Virginias, Solé or private labels such as Hacendado, are adding maltitol to their chocolates.
Diabetes is a complex disease, which requires regular check-ups by specialised doctors, so if you suffer from diabetes, you should discuss with your doctor whether or not to consume maltitol.