Healthy sweeteners are part of the top section of the Superhuman Food Pyramid along with other recommended herbs and spices. The previous post was about a sugar alcohol called xylitol. Now we’re moving on to another example of this particular class of sugar substitutes known as maltitol.
Maltitol is typically produced from starch, specifically that of corn, wheat and other cereals. The process starts with maltose or malt sugar. This simple sugar is then hydrogenated, a chemical process where hydrogen is added to a compound, and turned into a sugar alcohol.
A lot of food manufacturers use maltitol in candies, chocolates, ice cream and various baked goods marketed as sugarless or low-fat. Here are some of its Superhuman benefits that make it a good and healthy substitute for sugar.
This sweetener can certainly be of help to those who are trying out a weight loss program. Maltitol’s food energy is measured at 2.1 Cal or kilocalories per gram, while sucrose or ordinary sugar has 4 Cal/g. With just about half the calories that sugar delivers, this substitute can fit quite well into anyone’s low-carbohydrate and low-calorie diet plan.
The low-calorie quality of maltitol is attributed to its slow absorption in the digestive tract. What happens is that after ingestion, part of the substance is still able to reach the large intestines where metabolism results in lesser calories.
Sugar alcohols have different glycemic index values, which indicate how much a particular substance affects our blood sugar levels. While maltitol’s index value is not as low as certain types of sugar alcohol sweeteners, it is still significantly lower than ordinary sugar.
Maltitol is not unconditionally safe for diabetics but it can still be a viable alternative. The trick is not to fall for those “sugar-free” labels on some of those commercial food and beverage products that have maltitol as a sweetening ingredient.
When it comes to oral hygiene, maltitol and other sugar alcohols have the advantage of being non-carcinogenic, which means they don’t have as a high a propensity to cause mouth issues or dental cavities. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and in the process release acid byproducts that can wear down tooth enamel. Maltitol may be sweet but it can’t be metabolized by oral bacteria.
Maltitol Practical Uses:
One of the great things about this sweetener is that it works quite similar to ordinary sugar. It can be caramelized and dissolved in warm water and it is also available in the same forms. You can purchase refined or crystalline maltitol powder and maltitol syrup in health food and grocery stores. That means we can basically use it in any baking or beverage preparation that calls for ordinary sugar.
So you can use maltitol in sugarless hard candy, chewing gum, chocolates, baked goods and ice cream, but take note that maltitol and most sugar alcohols are very fermentable and can cause gas, bloating or a laxative effect when taken in excess (just think of this as a built-in stopgap against making desserts that are too sweet!).
Ultimately, xylitol tends to cause fewer issues than maltitol, and is a superior alternative as a sugar alcohol.
In the next post, I’ll tell you how you can use turmeric in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to use maltitol, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on how to use maltitol.