Nutrition and DietWhat is Maltitol, Where to Find It, and Health Effects?

What is Maltitol, Where to Find It, and Health Effects?

Maltitol (E 965 i) or maltitol syrup (E 965 ii) is a sweetener widely used in foods for diabetics. Find out what it is and its side effects.

Did you know that maltitol is a widely used sweetener in the preparation of cakes, sweets and candied products? Its use is very helpful, in fact both in pastry shops and confectioneries, mainly when sugar-free sweets or preparations for diabetics are made.

As an additive it is known by the names E 965 i (maltitol) or E 965 ii (maltitol syrup), and it is known precisely by the name of bulk or bulk sweetener, since it has the same volume as sucrose. However, unlike this one, it actually provides half the calories.

What is maltitol?

The maltitol is a sweetener used as a substitute for sucrose, the traditional common sugar (also commonly known as table sugar, that is, the usual white sugar). It is also called by the name of polyol, since it consists of a sugar alcohol.

In other words, we are faced with a sweetener that is synthesized from the hydrogenation of maltose obtained from starch. It is very similar to sucrose, becoming a quality sweetener because it can be used without the need to mix it with other sugar alcohols.

It is part of the family of sweeteners known as sugar alcohols or polyols. Moreover, it is commonly used in the preparation of sweets and cakes because it does not affect the taste of the products, in addition to being well tolerated by people with diabetes.

For this reason, we find it especially in products that were originally sweet but without sugar and specially prepared for diabetics.

Why is it used in sugar-free sweets and for diabetics?

It is a sweetener that we can usually find in sugar-free sweets and cakes, and especially in those made specifically for people with diabetes. Why? Mainly because it is a well-tolerated sweetener for diabetics, since it tends to be absorbed slowly, which means that the increase in both glucose and insulin levels in the blood are significantly reduced compared to another sweetener.

On the other hand, it is a sweetener with a low caloric value; specifically, it provides half the calories of common sugar, so that it becomes an interesting option for those who follow a weight loss diet, or obviously for those who suffer from diabetes.

The advantages of maltitol.

There are a number of benefits and advantages offered by the use of maltitol to sweeten certain products and foods. For example, replacing white sugar with maltitol helps prevent fatty liver when it is caused by too much sugar. This is what happens with non-alcoholic fatty liver, which is one that appears without having consumed alcohol.

In addition, it is used safely in people with diabetes because its glycemic response is lower, so it tends to raise blood glucose levels more slowly.

On the other hand, as it is not metabolized by the bacteria present in our mouth, it does not promote the appearance of cavities, and may even help reduce its risk.

Where to find it and how?

If you are interested in knowing what foods or food products can contain maltitol, the truth is that in reality any sugar-free candy or any sweet food for diabetics can contain it.  Although it is possible that other more popular and popular sweeteners are used today, such as stevia or panela, it is quite likely that the vast majority of maltitol is used.

But how can we find it on the labeling of these foods? In this case it is possible to find it in many different ways:

  • In the form of maltitol or maltitol syrup.
  • In the form of an additive. If so, we can find ourselves with the designation E 965 i (maltitol), or as E 965 ii (maltitol syrup).

Maltitol Side Effects and Health Effects.

Although in normal doses it does not usually cause problems, in high doses it can have a laxative effect. For this reason, it is common to find ourselves on food labels if that food product contains maltitol. And in the United States, for example, it should be noted on the label that it is not recommended to consume more than 100 grams per day of maltitol.

However, here are the main side effects of maltitol:

  • Diarrhea:  Due to its laxative effect, it is a sweetener whose consumption should always be moderate. Therefore, the levels of maltitol with respect to its consumption will depend on the age of the person. Thus, it is not advisable for children to consume more than 15 grams per day, while in adults diarrhea can appear from 50 grams per day (especially in some people). Other sources, point out that diarrhea can appear as a result of a daily consumption of between 60 to 90 grams in adults.
  • Stomach pain:  Regular consumption of food with maltitol can cause abdominal and stomach pain.
  • Gas and flatulence:  Once we consume maltitol, it is hydrolyzed into glucose and sorbitol. If we take into account that glucose is easily absorbed, but some sorbitol is not, it is common that it also causes gas and flatulence.

Therefore, as we see, its consumption should always be moderate, and we must avoid excessive consumption to avoid possible risks and unwanted side effects.

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