The nutrition information on the Russell Stover Assorted Fruit Hard Candies say they have 17g of total carbohydrate, 0g of dietary fiber and 17g of sugar alcohols per 3 pieces. Based on the information we know about sugar alcohols (subract them from total carbohydrates), this would mean that 3 hard candies would have no carbs. Right?
So then after having 3 candies with my dinner, giving the correct doses of insulin (plus a correction if needed) and maybe a unit extra for the candy just in case, why are my blood sugars sky high? I thought maybe it was something I had eaten and forgot to bolus for, but I get the same effects when I have Atkins bars or any other brand of sweet with maltitol.
I conducted a little experiment the other day. I checked my fasting blood sugar and it was 14.2. I had just an Atkins bar (with maltitol. Not all of them have it) and gave my bolus for it (1 unit) as well as a correction dose (3 units). 2 hours later, I checked my blood sugar again and it was 17.3. 3 points higher than my fasting blood sugar after giving 4 units of insulin!
I did some reading on maltitol and it turns out it does have an impact on blood sugars and it's recommended that diabetics and low-carbers stay away from it as it will raise blood sugars, increase insulin needs, and stall weight loss. It turns out that maltitol has a glycemic index of 52 (table sugar is 60). A potato is 57.
Here are the gycemic values of the most common sugar alcohols:
- Maltitol syrup, intermediate: 53
- Maltitol syrup, regular: 52
- Maltitol syrup, high: 48
- Polyglycitol / hydrogenated starch hydrolysate: 39
- Maltitol syrup, high-polymer: 36
- Maltitol: 36
- Xylitol: 13
- Isomalt: 9
- Sorbitol: 9
- Lactitol: 6
- Erythritol: 0
- Mannitol: 0
In the meantime, I found this awesome website that is very useful for people with food intolerances. It allows you to create a profile where you can select which ingredients you don't want in your diet, and from there you can search through their database and see what exactly is in your food. It'll tell you which foods to avoid based on the ingredients you selected.
To learn more about the negative effects of maltitol, check out this article. Remember to always check ingredient labels as well as the carb and fiber content in foods to be sure you know exactly what you're eating. Hopefully getting rid of the maltitol in my diet with help bring my blood sugars back down to a reasonable level. We'll see - I'll have to update at a later date.