When you’re looking to cut sugar, sugar-free ice creams and candies can seem like a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, though, most sugar-free packaged foods get their sweetness from sugar alcohols, a low-calorie sugar substitute derived from fruits like berries. (Note: Even though they’re called “sugar alcohols,” they don’t actually contain alcohol.) However, they don’t absorb completely in the body, and can cause gassiness, bloating, and diarrhea, says Cassandra Forsythe, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.C.S., assistant professor of physical education and human performance at Central Connecticut State University. Many candies actually sport a label warning that they may cause a laxative effect.
Ease the pain: Pay attention to how your body reacts after eating sugar-free foods, and cut them from your diet if you experience symptoms. You’ll also want to steer clear of foods labeled “no sugar added.” When in doubt, check the nutrition label; common sugar alcohols to look for include sorbitol, maltitol, erythritol, mannitol, and xylitol. But, truth be told, if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, you’re better off just eating fewer processed foods, no matter what they use as sweeteners, Forsythe says. (Hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy with The Body Clock Diet!)
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