Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that is used in the place of sugar on a low carb diet, so it is natural to wonder is maltitol keto. One reason why it serves as a suitable replacement for sugar is that it has identical properties to table sugar. The only difference is that maltitol, although sweet, is not as sweet sugar. Another reason why sugar alcohols like maltitol are displacing sugar in commercial products is that they contain fewer calories. Several commercial products such as energy bars, chewing gums, chocolate and desserts contain maltitol. These products are usually labeled as “sugar-free”.
How is maltitol made? One thing to keep in mind is that sugar alcohol can be obtained naturally from vegetables and fruits but some of them are manufactured. It is derived from maltose which is produced by a process of hydrolysis from starch. The maltose is then enzymatically hydrolyzed and undergoes further catalytic hydrogenation and filtration to obtain maltitol. This article discusses the pros and cons associated with the use of maltitol on keto and highlights several alternatives.
The Health Benefits of Maltitol
There are several advantages that come with the use of maltitol on keto and a few of them include:
- Low in Carbs and Calories: As already mentioned, maltitol makes a good sugar substitute not just because it is sweet and has similar properties as regular sugar but because it has a low carb count and gives fewer calories. While on keto, it is important to cut back on carbs and increase fat consumption and with the low carb content in maltitol, this may easily be achieved. Since it has few carbs, this sugar alcohol when added to the diet may promote weight loss. The calories in maltitol are only about 2 per gram compared to the 4 calories per gram in table sugar.
- Fewer Problems Associated With Maltitol Use: Unlike some other sugar alcohols that have a bitter aftertaste, using maltitol has not been reported to leave any aftertaste. Sugar substitutes that leave an aftertaste make it difficult to stick to a low carb diet. This is because individuals who use such sugar substitutes end up craving for foods that contain sugar that will eventually knock them out of ketosis. With maltitol, however, this problem is eliminated and it is especially beneficial for individuals on keto who aim to lose weight. This is true because adding maltitol to foods may help curb sugar cravings as it has similar sweet taste and properties as sugar.
Maltitol also has other health benefits but those discussed above are limited to its use on keto.
Possible Reasons to Avoid Maltitol on Keto
Maltitol has so many health benefits that make it useful for the keto diet. However, it is also important to mention that this sugar alcohol also has some characteristics that may make its use on keto questionable. A few of these reasons include:
- High Glycemic Index: Although the calories in maltitol are far lower than those contained in sugar, it has a relatively high glycemic index. This means that its use may not be suitable for keto. The reason for this is that foods that have a high glycemic index can cause blood sugar levels to rise above normal. It is also important to point out that in comparison to sugar, maltitol has a lower glycemic index ( 52 for maltitol and 60 for sugar). This lower glycemic index in comparison to sugar does not make it a better option for keto dieters. This is because there are other sugar substitutes that have a glycemic index score of 0 while still containing fewer carbohydrates and calories.
- Carbohydrates: As described earlier, maltitol is a carbohydrate. This means that it can still affect an individual’s carb intake, especially when consumed in large proportions. In fact, consumption of maltitol is said to have the same effect on the body as sugar. This information enables keto dieters to plan their diet accordingly and include it when summing up their daily carb total.
Alternatives to Maltitol on Keto
Maltitol is a good substitute for sugar on keto, however, it has some drawbacks. It can be replaced with other sugar alcohols and sugar substitutes that are low in carbs and calories and have a low glycemic index. Five alternatives to maltitol on keto are discussed below
- Erythritol: Like maltitol, erythritol is also a sugar alcohol but its major advantage over maltitol is that it has zero carbs and zero calories. It also has a low glycemic index, meaning that it cannot cause a spike in blood glucose levels. Again, like maltitol, this sugar alcohol does not leave any unpleasant aftertaste and it has fewer side effects compared to other sugar alcohols including maltitol. These properties of erythritol make it a suitable alternative to maltitol on keto.
- Stevia : This is one of the most popular sugar substitutes available in the world. It is highly recommended because it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and also because it contains zero calories. Also, unlike maltitol that does not have any added benefits besides its taste, stevia contains nutrients including magnesium, potassium, vitamin B3 and fiber. The fiber content in stevia may promote a feeling of fullness and eliminate unnecessary food cravings.
- Xylitol : With a low glycemic index of only 7, xylitol is another great alternative for sugar and maltitol. It is a sugar alcohol that is 100% as sweet as table sugar but gives fewer calories. Consumption of xylitol does not rapidly increase blood sugar and insulin levels and it has been linked with speeding up the rate of ketosis. Since xylitol is as sweet as sugar, it can help reduce sugar cravings and can be used in most foods where sugar is used in a similar quantity.
- Monk Fruit : Similar to maltitol in not leaving a bitter aftertaste, monk fruit is another option for those who want to replace maltitol on keto. It also does not cause blood sugar or insulin levels to rise and has not been reported to cause digestive upset. It also contains zero calories and no carbs but offers sweetness that is about 100 to 200 times that of regular sugar. It is also obtained naturally and contains mogrosides which are antioxidants that are responsible for its peculiar taste.
- Yacon Syrup : The yacon syrup is a suitable alternative for maltitol because it is low in carbs, calories, and has been shown to be beneficial to gut bacteria.
Maltitol can be used on keto because it has a low carb content, it is low in calories and does not leave any unpleasant aftertaste. Its use must be in moderate quantities to achieve and remain in ketosis. It is, however, discouraged on a low carb diet because it has a relatively high glycemic index that can cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise abnormally. Rather than make use of maltitol, there are other better alternatives that can easily replace maltitol on keto and still add sweetness to low carb meals. Popular alternatives to maltitol include sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol. They are used because they are low carb, zero calories (or give fewer calories) and do not cause a rise in blood glucose and insulin levels.