Health A-Z

Counting Carbohydrates: Do You Deduct Sugar Alcohol From Carbs?

Carbohydrates are essential for our metabolism, yet some types of carbs are better than others. Some of these carbs are easier to digest, others only get digested partly, and the rest are harder to digest than others.

When we talk about carbs from alcohol, we need to talk about sugar alcohol. This type of sugar is a sweetener with a lot fewer calories than ordinary sugar but still offers a few carbs to your diet, yet a lot less than other artificial sources.

Understand how to Subtract These Sugar Alcohol Carbs From your Diet

Counting Carbohydrates

The whole purpose of counting carbohydrates is to know how many are you consuming on each meal throughout the day. This technique was initially created to help people with diabetes, and people with metabolism problems know how many they should be consuming a day according to their individual needs.

For example, counting carbs helps to avoid consuming too much that could eventually be created into sugar. As we know, the insulin on people with diabetes doesn’t work the same way as in ordinary healthy people, so they need to consume fewer carbs to create less sugar and avoid high sugar levels which could cause further metabolic problems.

Around 50 grams of carbs is the usual recommended dose per day for people with metabolic diseases.  This could change depending on the person and the condition.

What Are Sugar Alcohols

When someone says sugar alcohol, they are not saying that it is alcohol in any way. But yes, it is indeed a sugar extracted from corn, seaweed or other sources that provide fewer calories than regular sugar.

That’s why they are used in most alcoholic beverages and other foods nowadays, as they provide fewer calories but with the same type sweet flavor. And what’s even better about them, is that they contain fewer calories and promote the creation of less sugar in the blood, so they are excellent for metabolic conditions such as diabetes. They are used in many foods nowadays just because of that.

How to Identify Sugar Alcohols

To accurately count sugar alcohol carbs you will need to know how to identify them correctly. You will find them on a wide array of foods and processed meals, such as ice creams, cakes, Gelatin, cookies, pudding, chewing gum, and even alcoholic beverages.

The name of sugar alcohols in food varies depending on the type of foods it is. However, the most common names are:

  • xylitol;
  • erythritol;
  • mannitol;
  • lactitol;
  • maltitol;
  • hydrosylates;
  • hydrogenated starch hydrosylates;
  • glycerol;
  • andisomalt;

If you spot any of these in the ingredients label of a processed food, it is undoubtedly sweetened with sugar alcohols.

Calculating Carbs from Sugar Alcohol Sweetened Products

Sugar alcohols offer fewer calories than regular sugar, yet their carbohydrate levels are half of what they are in total. For example, is a nutritional label of a food product says it comes with 8 grams of sugar alcohol, it means that half of those grams are carbohydrates, so 4g of carbs for each 8g of sugar alcohol.

If a product you get contains 25g carbohydrates and 8g sugar alcohols, you should subtract the number of carbs from sugar alcohols (four) from the total carbohydrates. You will eventually have 21g of carbs in total if you calculate those from sugar alcohol.

What to Consider When Calculating

Sugar alcohols are not the best way to consume carbs in any way. However, sometimes there’s just no other way to get them. If this is your case, count them correctly following the formula to avoid over-consumption.

Remember, sugar alcohols can be laxative as well, so take them with caution and never pass the recommended amount per day. Check your blood regularly as well, make sure your sugar levels are not too high before consuming any sugar alcohol.


Related Articles