The Harmful Effects of Sugar Alcohols and IMO Fiber On the Body

December 23, 2019 2 min read

The Harmful Effects of Sugar Alcohols and IMO Fiber On the Body


We all want to eat healthy and fuel our body with nutritious foods. Unfortunately, some "healthy" snacks are marketed as good for you and they aren't. Many low sugar/keto snack products on the market are loaded with sugar alcohols and prebiotic fiber syrups called IMO's or Chicory Root Fiber. These "sugars" are used to lower the calorie and sugar count in food products. Consumers gravitate toward the easy fix & lower sugar products thinking they are being healthy but what they don't realize is that these "sugars" actually have a negative effect on the body. 

See below of possible effects of these ingredients before you consume: 


Common sugar alcohols are mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol. In some people sugar alcohols can cause bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. This is because the sugar alcohol is not completely absorbed in the digestive system and this causes fermentation to occur in the intestines.


IMO is a high-maltose syrup made up of a mixture of short-chain carbohydrates. It is found naturally in some whole foods, but can also be manufactured to be added to packaged products. Most commonly called Soluable Tapioca Fiber IMO.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Insulin Resistance aimed to investigate the impact of IMO consumption on blood glucose, insulin and breath hydrogen responses in healthy men and women. The results of the study showed that IMO consumption led to a rise of nearly 50 mg/dL in blood glucose, with a five-fold rise in insulin at 30 minutes.

In other words, IMO does notfunction purely as prebiotic fiber and hasbeen shown to significantly spike blood glucose in some individuals!

IMO are large molecules that are not fully broken down in the digestive process. This is because the human body doesn’t actually produce the enzyme needed to digest them (alpha-galactosidase), so they can cause digestive distress in many people.


Inulin is another common sweetener or additive in low-carb, low-sugar bars, and how it differs from IMO is a common question.

Inulin,while also an oligosaccharide, is not the same thing as IMO. However, it does have many of the same properties – and downsides – as IMO. There is some evidence that inulin may not have as deleterious of a blood sugar effect, but because of its ability to also cause severe digestive distress in some individuals, it is definitely not an ideal additive to a “healthy” energy bar.

Chicory root fiber is another low sugar sweeter. Though chicory root extract side effects are not definite, some individuals may experience the following digestive discomforts: gas, bloating and abdominal cramping and pain. 


When it comes to healthy eating, the best thing to do is limit your sugar intake and stick to REAL FOOD. Here at Super Pop we only use REAL FOOD. We use all natural sugars such as organic honey and organic tapioca. We use a small amount so the bar stays together and is slightly sweet. We are actually lower in sugar than most of our competitors that use natural sugars. 

#SnackPowerfully Today