The major goals in the management of diabetes are to maintain normal control of glucose metabolism and glycemia. Dietary modification is one of the most recommended treatment modalities for diabetic patients. The use of foods sweetened with sugar alcohols (also known as polyols) such as xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, lactitol, isomalt and erythritol, has brought an escalating interest. Since some sugar alcohols do not raise plasma glucose, as they are partially digested and metabolised. Diet composition and adequacy may be altered by replacing carbohydrates with sugar alcohols. It has been established that these polyols are appropriate sugar substitutes for a healthy lifestyle and diabetic foods. The present review focuses on the evidence supporting the use of sugar alcohols in the management of diabetes, by evaluating their physical and chemical properties, metabolism, absorption, glycemic and insulinemic control. Although documentation on the glycaemic and insulinemic response of polyols is evident that these compounds are antidiabetic, there is however a dearth in literature on the possible toxicity and/or side effects associated with their usage at normal or abusive doses. Thus, future studies should also focus on toxicity associated with their usage in order to define their safety.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.