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What is sugar alcohol?

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Quick Answer

Sugar alcohols are reduced-calorie sweeteners commonly made from plant carbohydrates altered through a chemical process. They are called sugar alcohols due to their chemical structure, but they do not contain the ethanol found in alcoholic beverages.

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Full Answer

The most common sugar alcohols are isomalt, sorbitol, xylitol, manitol and hydrogenated-starch hydrolysates. Sugar alcohols are lower in calories than refined sugar, due to their poor absorption rate. The sugar alcohols that are not absorbed can cause diarrhea. They are converted during digestion to ordinary sugar, with the difference being that they are absorbed more slowly and do not interfere with the fat-burning process.

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