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Nutrition Q & A

Sugar Alcohols Are Listed on Some Food Labels. What Are They?

Sugar alcohols, sometimes called polyols, are reduced-calorie sweeteners used in certain sugar-free and reduced-calorie foods as well as chewing gum, cough drops, mouthwash and toothpaste. They also add texture and bulk to baked goods, ice cream, fruit spreads and candies.

Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that the body does not fully digest so they provide fewer calories. They are not alcoholic. If you see sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol in the ingredient list on a food label—these are sugar alcohols.

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