Maltitol is a sugar alcohol (a polyol) used as a sugar substitute. It has 75–90% of the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar) and nearly identical properties, except for browning. It is used to replace table sugar because it is half as caloric, does not promote tooth decay, and has a somewhat lesser effect on blood glucose.
Maltitol’s high sweetness allows it to be used without being mixed with other sweeteners. It exhibits a negligible cooling effect (positive heat of solution) in comparison with other sugar alcohols, and is very similar to the subtle cooling effect of sucrose. It is used in candy manufacture, particularly sugar-free hard candy, chewing gum, chocolates, baked goods, and ice cream. The pharmaceutical industry uses maltitol as an excipient, where it is used as a low-calorie sweetening agent. Its similarity to sucrose allows it to be used in syrups with the advantage that crystallization (which may cause bottle caps to stick) is less likely. Maltitol may also be used as a plasticizer in gelatin capsules, as anemollient, and as a humectant.
Stomach and Abdominal Pain
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that maltitol is associated with stomach and abdominal pain in adults. A placebo controlled, double-blind study on health volunteers showed that consuming levels as low as 40 g of maltitol daily would trigger side effects of abdominal pain.
According to the Calorie Control Council, maltitol shares the laxative qualities of other sugar alcohol blends. As a result, those who take maltitol can expect the regularity of their bowel movements to change. The levels of maltitol needed daily to cause diarrhea vary depending on the age of the person eating maltitol.
While the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition offers that Maltitol levels for children have an ideal tolerance of no more than 15 g daily, a European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study shows that diarrhea occurs at daily consumption levels 60 – 90 g in adults. The study also notes that the more Maltitol is consumed, the more likely and more severe symptoms of diarrhea will be.
Excessive Gas and Flatulence
Eating products or medications that contain maltitol has been linked with excessive internal gas and flatulence in adults and children. This is considered to be one of the more common negative side effects of maltitol, but it is not considered to be a severe side effect in adults, notes the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition also notes that this side effect is present but not considered serious in children who consume maltitol. This negative side effect will continue as long as maltitol is being eaten, as the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that the body’s digestive system does not adapt to the artificial sweetener.
None are recorded.
Source: LiveStrong, http://www.livestrong.com/article/250589-negative-side-effects-of-maltitol/