But they're not a magic formula and should only be used sparingly. Foods that are marketed as sugar-free are not calorie-free, so they can still cause weight gain. Keep in mind that processed foods, which often contain sugar substitutes, generally don't offer the same health benefits as whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Sugar substitutes are commonly found in products marketed as “sugar-free” or “dietary”.
These sugar substitutes are meant to please the average palate with their sweetness. Yes, they don't contain table sugar (sucralose) and usually have zero calories, but that's where the problems start. Like artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols are created synthetically (usually from the sugars themselves). Zero-sugar or low-calorie alternatives are usually hundreds or thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, but they don't raise blood sugar levels.
A more immediate unpleasant effect of consuming sugar alcohols, a type of low-calorie sugar substitute, are gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Healthy people may experience mild gas or bloating after eating foods sweetened with sugar alcohols, but if you have a gastrointestinal condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, or eat a large amount of something sweetened with sugar alcohols, you could experience more extreme symptoms.