WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer advocacy group, Citizens for Health (CFH), reports that there is an artificial sweetener showing up in a wide range of foods that could be making you and your family sick. Listed on food labels as Maltitol, this chemical is often used to replace sugar in "no sugar added" and "sugar free" products. While Maltitol sounds like a good idea on the surface, it also comes with a mandatory disclaimer that it may cause a laxative effect.
According to Jim Turner, Chair of CFH, "Maltitol is just one more reason consumers need to pay closer attention to food labels. One of our own staff recently became ill after eating a slice of cherry pie from a trusted local bakery. Thinking the pie had to be the culprit of his debilitating digestive problems, he looked at the ingredients label which listed Maltitol and warned of its potential side effects. That prompted us to take a closer look at Maltitol and what we found was very disturbing."
While Maltitol occurs naturally in chicory, the version used today is chemically produced from corn syrup. Low in calories (3 per tablespoon) it has a high glycemic value of 53 so it is not recommended for Diabetics. Though according to the manufacturer, food and beverage conglomerate – Cargill, it is safe if consumed in moderation. "Note," Turner said, "that labeling a product as 'Sugar Fee' when it is not recommended for diabetics is the height of food production irresponsibility." A quick Google search reveals a number of warnings and potential side effects of Maltitol that the manufacturer does not reference; from nausea and cramping to rectal bleeding and diarrhea.
Because Maltitol is a sugar alcohol it is not classified as "sugar" so it can be used to sweeten products that are advertised as "Sugar Free". Maltitol is found in a wide range of sugar free sweets including: candy, cough drops, chewing gum, chocolate, ice cream, baked goods and supplements. "What 'safe if consumed in moderation' means, if anything, achieving moderation in such a saturated marketplace is a virtual impossibility," says Turner. Maltitol is also used as the coating on hard candy as well as in medicine, as a pill coating, and in personal care products like Moisturizers. Many of the food products such as Pillsbury Sugar Free Moist supreme Cake mixes, prominently feature a warning: Excess Consumption May Cause a Laxative Effect (Due to Maltitol).
Says Turner, "At a time when many food and beverage manufacturers are removing High Fructose Corn Syrup from their products due to consumer demand, one has to question why other man-made artificial sweeteners made from corn including Maltitol and Fructose are appearing more frequently in the foods we consume. Could this just be a way of confusing consumers and hiding unhealthy ingredients in our food supply? Why would anyone purchase a food product that warns of side effects?"
Funded by concerned consumers, non-profit partners, food growers, and businesses, Citizens for Health founded in 1993, is a non-profit organization that provides over 130,000 supporters with consumer news, action alerts, and ways to demand access to healthy food, non-toxic products, and truthful, non-misleading health information. More information is available at www.citizens.org.
SOURCE Citizens for Health