Sweet Poison: The Bitter Truth about Sugar Alcohols and Their Negative Impact on Your Health

Sweet Poison: The Bitter Truth about Sugar Alcohols and Their Negative Impact on Your Health


Thousands of ‘health food’ companies use sugar alcohols in their products as a ‘healthier’ sweetener. For so long, they have been recognised as safe. However, new research highlights that sugar alcohols might not be as safe as we once thought1.Studies suggest sugar alcohols can have a significant impact on inner health and overall immunity. 


What Are Sugar Alcohols? 

Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, are highly processed sugars that are used as a substitute for regular sugar. They have a different chemical structure to both regular sugar and alcohol; but are sweet like sugar. You might know them by these names; Erythritol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH), and Isomalt2. 

Why Are Sugar Alcohols Dangerous? 

Scientists have recently discovered that sugar alcohols can cause more harm than good. For so long, they were considered risk-free. However, research has highlighted the detrimental effects sugar alcohols have on the digestive system.

Gastrointestinal Issues (GI):

Studies show that the small intestine does not absorb sugar alcohols well; they are transported to the large intestine and are fermented. Once sugar alcohols are in the body, they are never completely absorbed this can result in gas, bloating and diarrhoea2. In other words, significant discomfort soon after eating them.

For example, have you ever been extremely bloated and sore in the tummy after eating a low-calorie icecream? Your body cannot digest the sugar alcohols in the ice cream, causing your stomach to flare up and react.

Weight Gain: 

Studies have found that high levels of erythritol are associated with weight gain, specifically belly fat1. As your body cannot digest sugar alcohols properly, it can be stored as body fat in unwanted places. Scientists believe that the intestinal breakdown of sugar alcohols adversely affects the intestinal microbiome2. Thus, GI caused by sugar alcohols can potentially cause long-term implications to your digestive system, metabolism and overall immunity.

Laxative Effect: 

Excessive consumption of sugar alcohols can cause a laxative effect. Another unpleasant side effect of sugar alcohols. 

If you are trying to have a balanced diet, you are better off avoiding processed foods that contain sugar alcohols and substitute for natural products that use natural sweeteners like stevia! 

At Switch Nutrition, we can proudly say that NONE of our products contain ANY sugar alcohols. 

All of our products have been formulated to not only make you feel amazing, but to help your body perform at its best internally and externally. We chose to avoid any use of sugar alcohols in our products, as we believe they do more harm to the body than good. 

All Switch products are sweetened with natural stevia. The natural flavours vary from product to product; we include aroma oils and natural fruit extracts, in some cases cacao extract (chocolate). 

If you are wanting to avoid sugar alcohols in your diet, you can trust that all Switch products are safe. Want to see for yourself? We have an open label policy! 

Looking for a healthy, wholefood snack that is 100% natural, delicious, gluten-free and has NO sugar alcohols?

Check out our Snack Switch range! We have just released two NEW mouth-watering flavours, Cookies & Cream and Rocky Road.



Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.



1 Gilmerm (2023) Sugar alcohols may not be as safe as you thought, Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-to-know-about-sugar-alcohols/ (Accessed: May 3, 2023). 

2 Sugar alcohols: Food sources & effects on health (no date) WebMD. WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-are-sugar-alcohols