When you are on the keto diet, many things that you enjoyed prior to starting your keto journey are now off-limits. So, when a product markets itself as “sugar-free” it might spark some curiosity.
As you’ve probably noticed many products that are labeled as “sugar-free” often contain maltitol.
So, naturally, you’d want to know what it is and if it is okay for consumption on the keto diet. Is maltitol ketogenic and can you consume it on the keto diet? Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know.
What Is Maltitol?
Maltitol is a sugar alcohol- a polyol that is often used as a substitute for table sugar- sucrose. Sugar alcohols are organic compounds that are not sugars or alcohols. They are typically derived from sugars by a process called hydrogenation. (*)
When compared to table sugar, maltitol has about 75%- 90% the sweetness of it. Like other sugar alcohols, it is a disaccharide that is produced by hydrogenation of a substance called maltol that is obtained from starch.
Malitol is easy to produce and is commercially available in syrup form, powder form, and crystalized. For example, maltitol syrup is made by hydrogenating corn syrup, which is a mixture of carbohydrates made from the hydrolysis of starch.
Maltitol has nearly identical chemical properties as table sugar, as when in its crystallized form it is caramelized and browns when exposed to intense heat.
Because of its high sweetness, it doesn’t need to be mixed with other sweeteners. Maltitol is used in the candy industry, especially for sugar-free hard candy, chocolates, baked goods, chewing gum, and ice cream.
Maltitol Nutritional Facts
Here is a table of the nutritional information of maltitol in comparison to sucrose (common sugar) (*):
|Sweetener||Calories per gram||Sweetness intensity, relative to sucrose||Glycemic index|
|Maltitol||3 kcal||0.9||52 for maltitol syrup|
35 for maltitol powder
Is Maltitol Healthy?
When looking at the table above, we can see that maltitol has almost the same sweetness as sugar, but is it healthy?
Even though it is a sugar alcohol and it doesn’t get absorbed as quickly as sugar, maltitol still has a high glycemic index and therefore it can have an impact on blood sugar. (*)
There are also some other precautions when using maltitol. Some people may experience stomach pains or increased flatulence and it can have a slight effect of a laxative and cause loose stool.
A study was done on people ages 18-60 that consumed desserts containing maltitol reported non-serious GI symptoms. (*)
Other than that, maltitol has been ruled as safe for consumption.
Can You Eat Maltitol On The Keto Diet?
As seen from the table above, maltitol has a glycemic index of 52 which comes very close to the glycemic index of table sugar at 60. This means that while it is not exactly the same as sugar, it affects blood glucose and it can affect ketosis.
This means that maltitol is not compatible with the keto diet and it is recommended to avoid it or any products that contain it.
If you want better keto sweeteners, try monk fruit, stevia and erythritol.
No, maltitol is not keto-friendly, so it is best to avoid it.
Maltitol has 3 calories per 1 gram.
Maltitol is a sugar alcohol and it is used in many products across the market that are advertised as “sugar-free”, but when it comes to keto-dieters and those on a low-carb diet, maltitol should be avoided since its glycemic index is almost as high as the glycemic index of table sugar.
If you are on a keto diet it is best to use some alternatives to maltitol like stevia and erythritol.
*Photo by DenisMArt/depositphotos