Sugar alcohols are a class of carbohydrate that are regularly used as substitutes for sugar and other high calorie sweeteners. They are also frequently found in other household items such as toothpaste and chewing gum.
They tend to be absorbed into the bloodstream less completely than regular sugars like sucrose or fructose, which makes them popular ingredients in low-sugar or diabetic foods. However, although this property might sound appealing to sufferers of Candida, most sugar alcohols will still feed your Candida overgrowth.
Although you would be smart to avoid most sugar alcohols during your Candida treatment, there are a couple of exceptions. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that has been shown to actually fight Candida, and this sugar alcohol can certainly form a part of your Candida diet.
Many of us have trouble adjusting to the low-sugar Candida Diet, especially if our previous diets had been loaded with fruits, sodas and added sugar. Erythritol and xylitol are two options that Candida sufferers find useful to make the transition. Another option is Stevia, a natural supplement that has a negligible effect on your blood sugar levels.
Why is Xylitol different?
A 2005 study of the effect on Candida of various carbohydrates found that Xylitol could actually help with oral Candida infections. According to the study (see here) “substituting xylitol could be of value in the control of oral Candida colonization and infection.” Interestingly, the same study found that Sorbitol (another sugar alcohol) actively helps the Candida to colonize.
Additionally, xylitol is absorbed slowly into your bloodstream and does not cause the spikes in blood sugar that you typically see after consumption of sucrose or other sweeteners.
A full list of sugar alcohols
In general, most sugar alcohols have names ending in ‘tol’, but this is not always the case. Here is a list of the sugar alcohols that are commonly used as food additives. I have excluded Xylitol from this list, because of its usefulness in a Candida diet. If any of your food has these products in the list of ingredients, you should not be eating it during your Candida treatment.
- HSH (Hydrogenated Starch Hydrosylate)
For more information on why Candida needs sugar, take a look at my Ultimate Candida Diet treatment plan.