The search for sugar substitutes is an endless road for those people rendered unable to consume sugar because of disease or metabolic defect.
Stops along that road are plentiful but not necessarily safe for all who may visit.
Saccharine is an old substitute that leaves behind a bitter aftertaste. Cyclamates were discovered to cause malignancies in mice when they were fed high doses.
Aspartame, the widely used in everything product that hides in plain sight, is for me, and many others, capable of instant incapacitation. The slightest contact with this nasty little compound brings on an instant headache that lasts for hours. PKU deficiency is much more common than once believed. Aspartame is also known to cause behavioral changes in adolescents. We let them self-medicate with gallons of aspartame and caffeine, and then diagnose them as having attention deficit disorders. Take away their aspartame/caffeine daily overdose and they become better able to focus.
There are other alternative compounds in use to fill in for sugar. Among the more problematic are the alcohol sugars. Lycasin is the primary sweetener in the Haribo sugar-free gummy bears. This warning about side effects should be observed. Haribo provides this warning on the package: “Safety Warning: Consumption of some sugar-free candies may cause stomach discomfort and/or a laxative effect. Individual tolerance will vary. If this is the first time you’ve tried these candies, we recommend beginning with one-fourth of a serving size or less.”
Further warnings include- From Wikipedia: Lycasin is a trade name given by Roquette for hydrogenated glucose syrup (hydrolysed starch). One of the major components of Lycasin is maltitol, derived from the hydrogenation of maltose. Depending on the dextrose equivalent (DE) of the syrup used in the hydrolysis, a variety of products can be made, with the name "lycasin" normally being reserved for lycasin 80/55 (80 referring to the dry content and 55 to the dextrose equivalent). The other grades (e.g. 75/60 and 80/33) are referred to as Polysorb.
Lycasin's known side effects in adults include bloating, intestinal gurgling or rumbling (borborygmi), and flatulence. Some cases of severe intestinal distress have resulted from consuming excessive quantities of foods containing Lycasin. One well-known product containing Lycasin are the Sugarless Haribo Gummy Candies . Prolonged or acute diarrhea may be a sign of Lycasin poisoning and individuals should seek immediate medical help if they experience these symptoms.”
The end result of overdosing on lycasin can be dangerous as well as painful and embarrassing. The reviews for this product on Amazon.com tell a tale of pain and acute GI distress of monumental nature. Although I have had such explosive diarrhea secondary to anti-malarial drugs , and the odd intestinal bacterial and protozoan infection or infestation; and recall all too clearly the fear that my GI tract was going to hang me, I find it impossible to avoid finding these reviews overwhelmingly funny. Humor, after all, is mostly about some form of pain or distress happening to other people.
Even more amusing is the list of serial consumers who chose to ignore the warnings of those who had gone before. Read the reviews, but put away all beverages and foodstuffs before doing so.