Sugar Alcohols - Not important to low carb dieter? - NOT SO FAST
For people who are on a low net carb diet, there remains some small debate in the health (and food packaging) industry about sugar alcohols.
Most people know that fiber can be subtracted from total carbohydrates numbers on the food label since fiber is not readily absorbed by the body and for all practical purposes contributes no energy calories.
Many food packagers will also advertise on their label that their products have 3 Net Carbs for a product that may have 30 total carbs and 27 grams of sugar alcohol like Malitol. Their claim is that since sugar alcohols have a minimum effect on blood sugar levels, these carbs can simply be ignored.
NOT SO FAST .... while it is true sugar alcohols don't trigger the same blood sugar/insulin response as sugar ... they DO still contain calories. For example the popular sugar alcohols malitol and xylitol have approximately 2 calories per gram compared the 4 calories in a gram of sugar.
My personal advice ? If you are on a weight loss plan and are carefully reading labels to count your carbohydrate intake, it is fine to subtract the fiber numbers. BUT ... you can not totally ignore and dismiss the calories that come from sugar alcohols. Yes, they are better than sugar for blood level effects, but they are NOT technically "calorie-free" as some packaging would lead you to believe.