Alcohol and Blood Pressure: What to Know

In addition to being naturally found in whole foods, sorbitol is commercially processed and found in sweetened baked goods, chocolates, frozen desserts, hard candies, chewing gum, and candy bars. The great news about sugar alcohols is that many of them have a remarkably low glycemic index (GI). More research is needed to understand the different ways that sugar alcohols may affect the microbiome. Sugar alcohols occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, and even some grains, so they can be derived from plants.

Fewer calories and carbs are certainly an appealing aspect of sugar alcohols, Dr. Slavin said, but there are risks and benefits to consuming them. And many of the downsides of sugar alcohols have to do with how they are processed in the gut. Current recommendations advise that moderate doses of 10–15 grams per day are usually tolerated. However, sensitive people may need to avoid sugar alcohols, particularly sorbitol and maltitol, or reduce their intake to avoid symptoms (3, 9, 10).

It’s a common ingredient in sugar-free chewing gums, mints, and oral care products like toothpaste. There is a significant amount of data to show that drinking large quantities of alcohol, whether it is a spirits, beer, or wine, can increase the risk of developing hypertension. A standard glass of wine is 5 oz, so that means a glass of medium dry wine has between 0.75 grams and 1.8 grams of residual sugar per glass. To put that into perspective, 10 M&M’S have 10.2 grams of sugar, so the standard glass of medium dry doesn’t seem half bad. In world where a greek yogurt can have up to 16 grams of sugar, less than one gram of sugar in a glass of dry white wine seems good enough for me. Amy Myers, MD is a two-time New York Times bestselling author and an internationally acclaimed functional medicine physician.Dr.

  1. This article explains the important differences between sugar and sugar alcohol.
  2. If you have high blood pressure, avoid alcohol or drink alcohol only in moderation.
  3. Table sugar is one of the most commonly used refined sugars in the Standard American Diet.
  4. This corn-derived sweetener is often used in mouthwashes and baked goods.

Our team aims to be not only thorough with its research, but also objective and unbiased. In an average person, the liver breaks down roughly one standard alcoholic drink per hour. Any alcohol that the liver does not break down is removed how to help a high-functioning alcoholic how to identify the warning signs by the lungs, kidneys, and skin through urine and sweat. Additionally, they’re not linked to tooth decay and may even help prevent it. However, they have a different chemical structure, and your body does not absorb them as efficiently.

However, they’re not as efficiently absorbed or digested as regular sugar and therefore contain fewer calories. Sugar alcohols, also called polyols, are a type of carbohydrate whose structure resembles both sugars and alcohol. Glucose is the simplest sugar and your body’s preferred source of energy. Other monosaccharides are fructose and galactose, which are metabolized into glucose (1, 2). They’re naturally found in foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products, as well as added to processed foods. This sweetener is found naturally in plums, strawberries, cauliflower, and pumpkin.

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In contrast, sugars have two fewer hydrogen atoms, for example, HOCH2(CHOH)nCHO or HOCH2(CHOH)n−1C(O)CH2OH. Most have five- or six-carbon chains, because they are derived from pentoses (five-carbon sugars) and hexoses (six-carbon sugars), respectively. They are further differentiated by the relative orientation (stereochemistry) of these −OH groups. Unlike sugars, which tend to exist as rings, sugar alcohols do not, although they can be dehydrated to give cyclic ethers (e.g. sorbitol can be dehydrated to isosorbide).

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Each alcoholic beverage takes between 1 and 1.5 hours to finish processing in the liver. The more alcohol a person consumes, the higher their risk of experiencing low blood sugar levels. When counting carbohydrates for products made with sugar alcohols, subtract half of the grams of sugar alcohol listed on the food label. For most people, eating foods with sugar alcohols won’t be harmful to your health, Ms. Fernando said. But every sugar alcohol is a little different, Dr. Chey said, and so are the ensuing symptoms. Therefore, sugar alcohols may help reduce sugar intake by providing a lower calorie alternative to sugar that still delivers a sweet taste (1, 6).

All of Your Favorite Types of Alcohol, Ranked by Sugar Content

But if the packaging includes a statement about the health effects of sugar alcohols, manufacturers have to list the amount per serving. There are possible connections between the consumption of added sugar and certain health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. As a result, many people are searching for ways to decrease the amount of added sugar they consume. While what is an alcoholic nose or drinker’s nose rhinophyma some people think they’re zero-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols are considered to be low calorie sweeteners (LCSs) (1, 2). You don’t have to live with digestive issues caused by eating too many foods containing sugar alcohol or sugar. Repairing your gut is the first step to optimal health, and Gut ImmunIG™ is a powerful tool to help restore the optimal function of your gut barrier.


Maltitol has 75% of the blood sugar impact of table sugar, but also only 75% of the sweetness. Maltitol is commonly used in hard candy, chewing gum, ice cream, chocolate-flavored desserts, and nutrition bars because of its appealing taste and texture. Bacteria that live in the mouth do not feed on sugar alcohols, so they do not cause tooth decay like regular sugar. While they’re generally well tolerated, consuming high amounts of some sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, may cause bloating and diarrhea, especially if you consume them in large amounts.

But they’re often manufactured from simple carbs like glucose or starch. Ever polished off a pint of low calorie ice cream or chomped on sugar-free gum? Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that have characteristics of both three inspirational recovery stories sugars and alcohol, according to Yale New Haven Hospital. In other words, part of their chemical structure resembles sugar and part is similar to alcohol, although they are different than both in important ways.


While they may benefit people looking to decrease their carbohydrate intake, excessive consumption of these sweeteners can also cause side effects like indigestion or weight gain. While sugar alcohol may not be “bad” for most people to consume in moderation, it is important to consider the risks and benefits of this ingredient. Be sure to consult your doctor or a nutritionist ifyou have specific questions.

As you can see from the GI values listed above, most sugar alcohols have negligible effects on blood sugar levels. Decreasing or eliminating your alcohol intake can lower your chances of developing high blood pressure. It’s important to have regular physical exams, since hypertension is painless and many people don’t even know they have it. Talk to your healthcare provider to discuss your risk factors and if it is safe for you to drink alcohol, even in moderation. I work in a research lab where we study the effects of a high sugar diet on fruit flies. From that, I’ve become very interested in the amount of sugar in foods and beverages that I consume.

For example, if a bottle of soda contains 40 grams of added sugar, that means you’re drinking 10 teaspoons of added sugar. Plus, some sugar alcohols, including sorbitol and mannitol, are considered fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols — also known as FODMAPs. For example, most people who consume under 10 grams of sorbitol won’t experience significant digestive issues, aside from a bit of gas and bloating. However, if you consume more than 20 grams, it can cause significant digestive issues, including pain and diarrhea (2). For this reason, if you eat a lot of sugar alcohols in a short period of time, you may experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Sugar alcohols and GI: A sweet alternative for those with diabetes

In summary, sugar alcohols have many diverse uses in the food and pharmaceutical industries. They provide fewer calories per gram than regular sugar but still deliver a sweet taste. Erythritol is a popular sugar alcohol that has been shown to be safe and well tolerated. However, it’s important to limit your consumption of all sweeteners, including artificial sweeteners, added sugars, and low calorie sweeteners like sugar alcohols. Just because sugar alcohols can be natural sweeteners doesn’t mean they are always good for you. While sugar alcohols may be a low-calorie alternative to sugar, they are still processed and artificial.

Sugar alcohols may be combined with artificial sweeteners in some foods. Even though it’s impact on blood sugar is less than that of real sugar, it can raise blood sugar levels if you consume too much of it. Food manufacturers sometimes include grams of sugar alcohols per serving on the label, but they don’t have to. The specific name may be listed, such as xylitol, or the general term “sugar alcohol” may be used.


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