Sugar Alcohols and why Atkins Bars are evil.
You may have watched 'The Men Who Made Us Fat' on BBC2 this week or read the article in the Guardian on how high fructose corn syrup was created as a way of profiteering from a cheap and abundant crop, and the likelihood it's responsible for at least part of the increasing obesity problem.
Did you know that sugar alcohols - polyols as they're labelled on 'low carb' sweet foods (maltitol and any other strange chemical ending in ol are the ones you'll see most often) are ALSO a byproduct of the corn industry, created by the SAME COMPANIES who created high fructose corn syrup?
Neither did I.
Marketing Tricks: Net Carbs, Sugar Alcohols, Tricky Portion Sizes - Read this. Marketing tricks: net carbs, sugar alcohols, tricky portion sizes
In summary if you don't have time:
• Sugar Alcohols (maltitol, sorbitol, lacitol etc) are neither sugar nor alcohol but molecutes of hydrogentated corn starch. Manufactured by the same three companies that put high fructose corn syrup into all our food.
• These sugar alcohols are metabolised, which is why the FDA requires them to be included in the 'total carb count' of a food.
• Atkins Nutritionals (the company, not the doctor) invented the term 'net carbs', after they were fined for ignoring the carbs from glycerin and sugar alcohols in their bars. This meant they could claim a low carb count on the front of the bar, despite admitting the 'total carbs' on the nutrition panel on the label.
• They then licensed the term 'net carbs' so other companies pay them in order to make the same claim.
• Hundreds of people stall or gain on atkins bars and other 'low carb' products without understanding why.
• The reason for this is that sugar alcohols - while not bringing you out of ketosis - do cause massive blood sugar spikes - as tested by diabetics.
• The writer of the article is a diabetic himself and his blood sugar rises almost as high from eating a maltitol sweetened candy as from eating real sugar.
• The canadian journal of diabetes found that maltitol also caused blood sugar spikes in non diabetics - again, very nearly as high as if they'd eaten real sugar.
• Not everyone is affected the same way. Some people's metabolisms do not process sugar alcohols as if it was real sugar - but these people often have worse gut problems from eating sugar alcohols as their body tries to process it.
• If sugar alcohols had no impact on blood sugar, they would have a GI of zero. Maltitol has a GI of 50, higher than that of spaghetti and orange juice.
• Glycerine or Glycerol is another 'low carb' sweetener that can still be converted to glucose once consumed, raising blood sugar. Glyerine is only not converted to glucose when the liver glycogen stores are full (ie: when a person is not low carbing) - at which point it is converted to fat. In either case eating it will make you gain weight and Atkins bars have 20g of it.
• Fibre can legally be deducted from carb counts as it genuinely does not raise blood sugar, but we in the UK must be aware that we do not deduct the fibre on our labels - that is an american trend. In the UK the total carb count has fibre already deducted.
• Companies such as dreamfields pasta (which also raises blood sugar) use deceptive 'portion sizes' to claim they are low carb. Their 2oz portion size is far lower than the recommended portion size for normal pasta.
• Companies are allowed to round down their carb count if it is anything less than 1g carb - and claim to be 0 carb. This means that if a product claiming to be 0 carb per teaspoon is actually 0.9g carb per teaspoon, having 5 teaspoons will be close to 5 carbs, not zero.
• GRANULATED SWEETENERS are guilty of this - they contain a bulking agent which is a carbohydrate - which is why 1 tsp granulated splenda = 1g carb. Liquid sweeteners or tablet sweeteners (usually containing about 0.1g carb) are a much better bet.
PHEW - those are the main points I think. Funnily enough I made a post in my diary earlier this evening talking about how I was cutting out granulated sweetener, polyols and grain based bread/pasta replacements from my diet this time around and doing much better for it. That was before I found this. It makes horrifying reading but these are all things I and many other low carbers have spotted from experience. These products will stall you and they'll upset your stomach while they do.
I think I'll be bumping this regularly for new members to see, as we get so many people arriving who eat 2 atkins bars a day and wonder why they don't lose. It's shamless on the part of the companies involved.
I'm just so shocked to find out that the people behind the 'low fat' products (which made people fat) are also behind the fake 'low carb' ones.
I wonder if in 10 years these things will be as unavoidable in all our foods as corn syrup has been.
Here's the corn syrup article if you haven't read:
It is truely upsetting to find out that yet again profits are being put before the nations health. The government should of stepped in at the start because in the end this is gonna have a massive knock on impact on the NHS etc...
There is also a new book out called something like "The Clean and Lean Diet" I'm not interested in the lean side of the book, but it apparently it talks about all the hidden baddies in food, for example coffee especially decaf has added ingredients that are really bad....
It fustrates me, to think how hard it would be to shop organically, mainly because of the price, now that things r hard enough at the mo!!!!
Thanks for sharing this info, I did mean to watch it but forgot, maybe it will b repeated sometime....
- Rep Power
Start Date: 15 February 2012
Start Weight: 116kg
Current Weight: 103.3kg
Goal Weight: 63.5kg
Goal Date: 21 March 2013
Start BMI: 42.6
Current BMI: 37.9
Goal BMI: 23.3
Total Weight Loss: 12.7kg
Weight to Lose: 39.8kg
% Lost 10.95%
Great post ML!!
...should be a sticky! ;-)
Great post ML - agree that almost everything is marketing spiel!
One of the reasons that i look at quite a lot of paleo stuff is that at least that focuses on real unprocessed food! I'm not going to get all worked up about that - I need the convenience of packaged processed food, but just helps me keep in mind that there is a trade off for that convenience.
Also agree that it's really critical to consider insulin reaction vs arbitrary carb figures. I usually consider what "hit" will be for any food - not just whether i can fit into my overall allowance. Example: i only have berries after a meal not as a snack.
If you ask about our default household diet, it's become very simple
B bacon, eggs, mushrooms
L protein and salad
D protein and 2 veg
Snacks are where convenience normally comes in - pork crackling, mini pepperami and little cheeses. Use LC wrap when i need a sandwich lunch only
Dessert if required - berries and cream
I no longer bother with bars, jellies, pudding mixes etc
I have a stock of LC biscuits that i take to stop myself being grumpy - example my parents served large chocolate cake for my DDs bday yesterday - one lc biccy and i had had enough sweet flavour!
I do believe that the sf stuff can help make the transition to LC WOE easier as long as in moderation - i still have plenty of stuuf in the cupboard and just throw it out as the best before dates pass!!!!
All of which says- listen to ML and avoid packaged food and sweeteners if you want to lose weight!
Ps progamme is still available on BBC iplayer if anyone missed it
I eat plenty of sweet stuff personally, or I'd become grumpy and resentful - but I'm making my own sweet items and using sweetener I know doesn't stall me - which happens to primarily be candarel - which has it's own reputation. Eventually perhaps I'll manage to get off sweet stuff altogether. For now candarel is my main concession to chemicals - otherwise I try to eat non processed protein and veg.
Amazing post - yet more reasons to keep to clean and green.
I agree with Katie, I always feel much better making meals from scratch and not adding lots of sauces/sweeteners/etc.
Brilliant find, thanks moonlights.
As part of my diet re-boot, I'd already taken the decision to give up all artificial sweeteners for the time being, but this will certainly make me think twice before re-introducing them.
In truth, I just find I'm happier and more comfortable without fake sweet stuff in my life. I have practically zero interest in sweet things now and find I appreciate the natural sweetness of the foods I am allowed so much more. The "hit" I get from cooked onion, for example, is quite amazing to me.
Also, whilst I suspect they don't stall me, I also suspect that they don't agree with me in other ways, eg disruption of bowel function. And I haven't yet found one that doesn't leave me with a slightly odd aftertaste, so I think my body is probably trying to tell me something!
- Rep Power
Great post - thanks for sharing
interesting programme and post, thanks
A fantastic post! Thank you for this.
Fabulous post, moonlights. Many thanks for sharing. Lots of great information.
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