In Response to Maltitol - "Just Say No"

For my first blog post I am going to be writing a critical response to an article on about.com titled "Maltitol: Just Say No," written by Laura Dolson. When I first read this article I immediately questioned the authors good sense or research ability. I am a fiend for scientific research, when someone makes a claim about a product or ingredient I want to see that claim backed up. The suppliers of Maltitol are staffed by highly educated people and advanced laboratories, because they have to be. The FDA closely monitors the claims they make, and they have to prove that they are accurate. If you want more information about different sweeteners, a good place to start would be the Calorie Control Council Website.

Going through her article point by point, Laura says:

"Although claims are often made that maltitol has little impact on blood sugar, this turns out not to be the case."
I beg to differ, Maltitol is much more slowly absorbed and some is not absorbed at all! A spike in blood sugar is unusual with Maltitol and is likely due to other ingredients that are being used with it.

"Although our bodies do not absorb all the calories in maltitol, this substance does provide us with 2 to 3 calories per gram, compared to the 4 calories per gram of sugar."
The figure of 2.1 calories per gram has been confirmed by the Calorie Control Council and the FDA. In 1999, FDA agreed officially that a value of 2.1 calories per gram was acceptable.

"In particular, maltitol syrup has a glycemic index of 52, which approcaches that of table sugar at 60. The powdered form has a glycemic index of 36.."
36 is the correct number for maltitol crystals and powder because they are pure maltitol.

"Maltitol is not as sweet as sugar. Estimates run from 75% - 90% of the sweetness of sugar..."
I have been producing products for 25 years, and in all my recipes I use 90% as my guide in adjusting the sweetness of a recipe. Even Sugar.org, a informational site promoting sugar uses the 90% figure.

"Maltitol can cause intestinal discomfort...If you decide to eat products with maltitol, you'd be wise to start with a small amount and judge the reaction"

Some people do experience discomfort with Maltitol, almost always this is do to excessive consumption. Watch the daily recommended level of consumption, if by chance you eat a whole cake at one seating you can expect a little stomach trouble! If you are sensitive the crystal form of Maltitol is better. A small glass of milk or ice cream with Maltitol sweetened products can help as well.

"The best alternatives to products with Maltitol are usually made with erythritol....but almost any other sugar alchohol is at least a little better than Maltitol.."
Erythrital is fine, but it is also very expensive and can only be used up 15% of total recipe as it returns to crystals! Sugar alchols are graded for recommended daily consumption, maltitol and zylitol are about even. Sorbitol, mannitol, and lactitol be cautious. The fact is that Maltitol is a safe and delicious product, and chances are if you have ever eaten sugar free candy or reduced calorie chocolate you have had Maltitol.

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