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  #1  
Old 07-16-2003, 10:55 AM
gsteinma gsteinma is offline
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What is it about sugar-free candy that causes the laxative effect?

Last night I ate a small bag of sugar-free gummy bears, and had one of the worst experiences of my life. Apparantly the gummy bears, as with sugar-free chocalates, produces an EXTREME laxative effect if you eat more than one piece a day. Every bag of sugar-free candy I have ever seen has the same warning about excess consumption and a laxative effect (the bears came from the bulk-food store and had no warning). Why? What ingredient in the candy causes this? Can't they use something else. so us diabetics can satisfy our sweet tooths without the side effects?
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2003, 11:14 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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It's the sorbitol, which is used as a replacement for sugar. From here:

Quote:
Classification:

Sorbitol is a hyperosmotic laxative.

Action:

Sorbitol pulls water into the large intestines causing distention. This stimulates the normal forward movement of the intestines (peristalsis) which results in a bowel movement in 24-48 hours.
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2003, 11:14 AM
toadspittle toadspittle is offline
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sorbitol, or other sugar alcohols. Let me see if I can find why (if someone doesn't beat me to it).

I don't know why they don't just use sucralose (Splenda) now ... but I'm sure there's a lag in manufacturing (since it's new on the market). Probably aspartame is not heat-stable enough to survive the candymaking process.
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Old 07-16-2003, 12:43 PM
toadspittle toadspittle is offline
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Wow ... what an odd simulpost error. I actually pasted that same site/quote in. But the Hamsters took it.
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  #5  
Old 07-16-2003, 12:44 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I've also noticed that sugar-free candy produces lots of flatulence, probably also from the sorbitol.
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  #6  
Old 07-16-2003, 01:23 PM
Sinusoidal Saurus Sinusoidal Saurus is offline
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Splenda and Nutrasweet are such concentrated sweeteners that even the little packets contain "filler" to make it seem reasonable that you're getting the equivalent of 2 t. of sugar. Sugar-free candies need a sweetener that also adds volume without adding calories/sugar carbs, so manufacturers usually use sugar alcohols like sorbitol or isomalt, and sometimes glycerine as well. Otherwise your gummy bears would be so tiny (yet still as sweet) that it wouldn't seem worthwhile buying them.

Priscilla
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  #7  
Old 07-13-2014, 10:29 AM
janetplanetz janetplanetz is offline
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I had the worse experience after eating sugar-free candy last night. I have to remind myself...I can't do that!

I did leave a REQUEST at the candy store and educating them about STEVIA - which you probably know about - it's a South American plant, which is sweet like sugar cane/beet and better than artificial sweeteners (Spenda/Nutrasweet) and which DOES NOT cause an insulin reaction, flatulence, or laxative reaction.
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2014, 10:46 AM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janetplanetz View Post
I did leave a REQUEST at the candy store and educating them about STEVIA - which you probably know about - it's a South American plant, which is sweet like sugar cane/beet and better than artificial sweeteners (Spenda/Nutrasweet) and which DOES NOT cause an insulin reaction, flatulence, or laxative reaction.
Unless the candy store actually makes the candy, there probably isn't much they can do.

Also, I'm one of those people that has a genetic predisposition to taste bitterness some people can't taste, and things sweetened with stevia alone taste terrible to me. A little like licorice (which I hate), and a little like dirt, or something-- I'm not really sure how to describe it-- and it doesn't taste particularly sweet to me. I'm also one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap.

On the other hand, stuff sweetened with sorbitol tastes pretty good, although, it gives me gas, so I avoid it as well. I'm glad I'm not diabetic. I'm not crazy about the texture of baked goods with sorbitol, but in candy or ice cream, it's fine, save for the effect on the intestines.

FWIW, a lot of things that are mainly sweetened with sugar also have some sorbitol, so if you are very sensitive to it, read the label.
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2014, 10:47 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Perhaps you'll find answers in the 81 pages of reviewers' comments on Amazon of a 5-lb bag of sugar-free gummy bears, should you wish to save money on your next purchase.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 07-13-2014 at 10:49 AM..
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2014, 11:01 AM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Perhaps you'll find answers in the 81 pages of reviewers' comments on Amazon of a 5-lb bag of sugar-free gummy bears, should you wish to save money on your next purchase.
Those are hilarious.
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  #11  
Old 07-13-2014, 11:58 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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That Amazon entry says the Haribo sugar free gummies are made with Lycasin (yet another sugar alcohol). All I know about sorbitol is we use it with activated charcoal for dogs when they eat something toxic. We make them vomit, then give them the charcoal with sorbitol to make anything that got past the stomach shoot out the other end. It's not pretty, and would make me look sideways at anything besides maybe a mint or toothpaste that contains it!

Remember Olestra?

Blech!
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  #12  
Old 07-13-2014, 12:38 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is online now
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Costco sells "Fiber Well" gummies that contain 5 grams of fiber per two gummies. They are sugar free. They are basically a laxative due to the fiber.
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2014, 01:02 PM
EmilyG EmilyG is offline
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After 11 years, sugar-free gummy bears still cause laxative effects. I wonder if they have the same effect if zombies eat them.
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  #14  
Old 07-13-2014, 03:38 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Also, I'm one of those people that has a genetic predisposition to taste bitterness some people can't taste, and things sweetened with stevia alone taste terrible to me. A little like licorice (which I hate), and a little like dirt, or something-- I'm not really sure how to describe it-- and it doesn't taste particularly sweet to me. I'm also one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap.
Same for me.

Do you get a vinyl taste from ascetasulfamine k? [sunnny k]

I can do the original cyclamates, but saccharine tastes unbearably nasty, sunny k tastes like vinyl, stevia is just nasty because of the licorice undertaste, aspartame is tolerable but not heat stable, and all the 'naturals' [agave nectar, date syrup, honey, maple syrup and molassas] screw with my blood glucose exactly the same as if I mainlined white sugar and palm sugar is right out thanks to my palm/tropical/coconut hypersensitivity [unless I am trying for an instant dump of my intestinal contents] I adore splenda - back in the late 90s when I was working for US Foodservice I was on the phone with a supplier, and scored a pint of lab grade 100% pure unadulterated liquid splenda. I was in heaven [and it took me 7 years of using it in my coffee, tea and cooking to use it up and then I was desolated for another few years until I found someone online that was black marketing liquid splenda and could actually buy it.]

I used to make wicked great pumpkin pies using splenda instead of sugar, pureed pumpkin, eggs and milk. The only real carbs were the crust and a nominal amount of lactose in the milk. Heavenly [dietarily speaking, for a diabetic. Pumpkin pie has always been my absolute favorite dessert my entire life.]
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  #15  
Old 07-13-2014, 04:10 PM
susan susan is offline
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Isomalt is another one. Though the OP should more properly state that some people sometimes get some laxative effect from some artificial sweeteners--it's by no mean universal or inevitable.

Fun fact: You can grow stevia as an annual, and harvest and dry the leaves. You can throw a dried leaf or two into your tea for mild sweetness.
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  #16  
Old 07-13-2014, 04:55 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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It's not just candies. My wife couldn't figure out why she had the runs, until I pointed out that she was using a lot of sugar-free throat lozenges every day.
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  #17  
Old 07-13-2014, 06:22 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
Same for me.

Do you get a vinyl taste from ascetasulfamine k? [sunnny k]
That's a god way to describe it. It's not especially sweet to me, and the aftertaste is stronger than the actual taste.

Quote:
I can do the original cyclamates, but saccharine tastes unbearably nasty
They both taste awful to me-- saccharine is bitter; Nutrasweet, to me, tastes pretty much like saccharine, just not as strong.
Quote:
I adore splenda
I wouldn't say I "adore" it, but I can stand it. When we mix things like Kool-Aid, we usually do 1/2 sugar, 1/2 Splenda. If I were diabetic, Splenda would be what I would use, I guess. Mainly, I think I would just have to give up sweet things, or try to have the occasional real sugar treat, and just check my blood sugar carefully. I have reactive hypoglycemia, as it is, so I can't eat sugar on an empty stomach.

The problem with cooking with Splenda is that the texture of things tends to be wrong. I know some people who claim they can fix that with gelatin, but we're vegetarians, and kosher, at any rate.

Splenda is great in some things, like packaged pudding, but for some reason, the first cola I tried (IIRC, Royal Crown) with Splenda was nasty. It must have had some saccharine in it as well.
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  #18  
Old 07-13-2014, 10:26 PM
susan susan is offline
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There seems to be a genetic element in who likes which sweetener and which taste bitter or flat. Sadly, I and the other diabetic among my in-laws have entirely opposite responses, which makes making Christmas cookies for the family something of a challenge.
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  #19  
Old 07-14-2014, 03:04 PM
CC CC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinusoidal Saurus View Post
Splenda and Nutrasweet are such concentrated sweeteners that even the little packets contain "filler" to make it seem reasonable that you're getting the equivalent of 2 t. of sugar. Sugar-free candies need a sweetener that also adds volume without adding calories/sugar carbs, so manufacturers usually use sugar alcohols like sorbitol or isomalt, and sometimes glycerine as well. Otherwise your gummy bears would be so tiny (yet still as sweet) that it wouldn't seem worthwhile buying them.

Priscilla
Interestingly enough, that "filler" is often sugar. Sweet-n-Low, for example, uses dextrose. The FDA allows them to claim that there's no caloric content because they use less than one gram. Dextrose is no where near as sweet as the artificial sweetener, of course, and you'd only need a couple of grains of the artificial sweetener to sweeten your coffee, so you need something else in there to pour. Hence, the dextrose. Most people are pretty amazed when they discover that the main ingredient in a pack of Sweet-n-Low is sugar.
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  #20  
Old 07-14-2014, 04:00 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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It's an important feature of the product. 7 hours of explosive diarrhea easily translates into 4 to 5 lbs weight loss. Heck 2 pounds of that weight loss is feces expelled from the gut.

Your very own colonic wrapped up in a tasty sweet treat.
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What is it about sugar-free candy that causes the laxative effect?
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