Maltitol is a sugar-based alcohol compound. Products containing the labeling ''sugar-free'' or ''low-carb'' often contain this ingredient. It is used as a sugar substitute because it has similar texture, taste, and feel to products which contain natural sugar. Maltitol is classified as a carbohydrate. For each gram of maltitol ingested, 2 to 3 calories are absorbed by the body. Maltitol increases the blood glucose level in the body because it is a carbohydrate.
Maltitol can act as a laxative if too much of it is is ingested. This means that maltitol has the potential to cause moderate to severe diarrhea, gas, and bloating. To avoid these unpleasant side effects, limit the amount of products you consume each day that contain maltitol. The laxative-like effects of maltitol will stop when it has been completely excreted from your body.
Ingesting too much maltitol can cause nausea to develop in some people. The nausea should subside after the body has completely metabolized the maltitol. The body should gradually gain a tolerance to maltitol, especially if it is used successively for three to four days. If you develop nausea from eating or drinking products that contain maltitol, you should look for products which contain a different artificial sweetener, or products with natural sugar.
Maltitol is known to cause headaches in some people, especially if they consume to product on an empty stomach, or consume over 20 grams of maltitol over the course of the day. If you develop a headache from maltitol, an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, should ease the pain caused by the headache.
Products containing maltitol can cause dehydration in some people, especially if consumed in a high amount (over 20 grams per day). Maltitol can cause a laxative-like effect which can lead to moderate to severe dehydration. To counteract dehydration caused by consuming too much maltitol, increase your fluid intake with liquids which do not contain maltitol.
If you are taking any drugs that control blood glucose levels, limit your intake of products containing maltitol. Maltitol causes the glucose levels in the blood to rise and may counteract the effects of a drug designed to lower glucose levels. If you are unsure as to how much maltitol you can safely intake each day, consult your physician before consuming any products that contain maltitol.