Is there sugar-free candy without sugar alcohol?

Quick Answer

Yes, there are some sugar-free candies that do not contain sugar alcohols. The most common sugar alcohol-free sweeteners used in sugar-free candies are:

  • Stevia
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Erythritol
  • Allulose

What are sugar alcohols?

Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, are a type of carbohydrate that occur naturally in some fruits and vegetables. The most common sugar alcohols used in food products are:

  • Xylitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Maltitol
  • Lactitol
  • Mannitol
  • Erythritol
  • Isomalt
  • Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH)

Sugar alcohols are often used as sweeteners in sugar-free foods because they are lower in calories and have a lesser impact on blood sugar levels compared to regular sugar. However, they can cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea when consumed in large amounts.

Why avoid sugar alcohols?

Some people try to avoid sugar alcohols for a few reasons:

  • Digestive issues – As mentioned above, consuming too many sugar alcohols can lead to bloating, gas, cramping, and diarrhea in sensitive individuals.
  • Blood sugar spikes – While sugar alcohols have less impact on blood sugar than regular sugar, they can still cause slight spikes in blood glucose levels in some people.
  • Tooth decay – Some sugar alcohols like xylitol are non-cariogenic and do not contribute to tooth decay. However, others like maltitol and sorbitol can be fermented by oral bacteria and contribute to cavities.
  • Keto and low-carb diets – Sugar alcohols contain 2-3 calories per gram, so people on very low-carb or ketogenic diets sometimes avoid them.

So for people who experience digestive distress from sugar alcohols or want to strictly limit carbs, choosing sugar-free candies with non-polyol sweeteners is an option.

Sugar alcohol-free sweeteners for candy

Here are some of the most commonly used sugar alcohols-free sweeteners in sugar-free candies:


Stevia is a very popular natural, no-calorie sweetener extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. It contains steviol glycosides that provide a sweet taste but with no effect on blood sugar.

Some pros of stevia sweetener:

  • Zero calories and zero carbs
  • Does not promote tooth decay
  • Does not cause spikes in blood sugar
  • Derived from natural sources

Some cons to consider:

  • Can have bitter aftertaste at high concentrations
  • Not heat stable, so not ideal for cooking/baking
  • May cause nausea or stomach upset in some people

Stevia is FDA-approved for use as a sweetener and food additive. You can find it in products like stevia-sweetened chocolates, gummies, mints, and hard candies. Look for candy sweetened with only stevia or with stevia in combination with another polyol-free sweetener like monk fruit or allulose.

Monk fruit extract

Monk fruit, also called luo han guo, is a small melon native to parts of Southeast Asia. Monk fruit extract contains naturally-occurring antioxidants called mogrosides that provide a very sweet taste but with no calories or carbs.

Here are some key benefits of monk fruit as a sugar-free sweetener:

  • Zero calories and zero glycemic impact
  • 100-250 times sweeter than sugar
  • No bitter aftertaste
  • Heat stable so can be used in baked goods

And some potential downsides:

  • Can be expensive compared to other sweeteners
  • May not work well for candies that need to crystalize
  • May cause allergic reactions in some people

Monk fruit sweetener is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. It’s found in sugar-free treats like chocolates, gummies, and lollipops.


Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods. However, the erythritol used in foods is commercially produced from corn or wheat starch fermentation.

Here are some attributes of erythritol as a sweetener:

  • Provides about 70% sweetness of sugar
  • Absorbend directly into bloodstream so fewer digestive issues
  • Provides 0.2-0.8 calories per gram
  • Does not promote tooth decay
  • Low glycemic impact

Some potential cons:

  • Can cause nausea or stomach upset at excessive doses
  • May contribute a “cooling” aftertaste
  • More expensive than other sugar alcohols

Erythritol has GRAS status for use in foods and beverages. It is available in Truvia brand sweetener along with stevia leaf extract.


Allulose is a low-calorie sweetener that is found naturally in small amounts in foods like raisins, dried figs, and maple syrup. The allulose used in foods is often synthetically produced from corn.

Benefits of allulose:

  • Tastes similar to table sugar with 70% sweetness
  • Provides 90% fewer calories than sugar (about 0.2-0.4 calories per gram)
  • Does not impact blood glucose or insulin levels
  • Does not cause dental cavities

Potential negatives:

  • Can cause gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea if over-consumed
  • Expensive to produce compared to other sweeteners
  • May have a slight aftertaste

Allulose has GRAS status and can be found in products like allulose-sweetened chocolate, caramels, gummies, and hard candies.

Sugar alcohol-free candy options

Here are some specific brands and products that offer sugar-free candies without sugar alcohols:


  • Lily’s Sweets Stevia Sweetened Chocolate
  • Chocoperfection Erythritol-Sweetened Chocolate
  • Hu Kitchen Monkfruit + Allulose Sweetened Chocolate
  • Antidote Raw + Organic Stevia Sweetened Chocolate

Gummies & Chews

  • SmartSweets – Gummies sweetened with allulose + stevia
  • Dr. John’s Healthy Sweets – Allulose sweetened gummies
  • Hi-Chew Fruit Chews – Sweetened with maltitol and sorbitol
  • PROJECT 7 – Sorbitol & sucralose sweetened gummies

Mints & Hard Candies

  • Sminties Stevia Sweetened Mints
  • Ice Chips Xylitol-Free Allulose Sweetened Candy
  • Rowdy Bars Allulose-Sweetened Energy Bars
  • Strawbursts Monkfruit + Allulose Sweetened Candy

Sugar-Free Jelly Beans

  • SmartSweets Fruity Jelly Beans – With stevia
  • Good & Sweet Gummy Jelly Beans – Erythritol-sweetened
  • Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans – With monk fruit

Be sure to check the ingredient labels carefully because many brands that market their candies as “sugar-free” still contain sugar alcohols like maltitol, xylitol, or sorbitol as primary sweeteners.

The sugar alcohols erythritol and allulose are exceptions because they cause less gastric distress compared to other polyols. If you need to strictly avoid all sugar alcohols for health reasons, look for candies sweetened only with stevia, monk fruit, or a stevia/monk fruit combination.

DIY sugar-free candy without sugar alcohols

You can also make your own sugar alcohol-free sweets at home using natural sweeteners. Here are some recipe ideas:

Homemade Sugar-Free Gummies


  • 1⁄2 cup 100% fruit juice like orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1⁄4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp stevia glycerite or alcohol-free vanilla extract


  1. Heat the fruit juice to a simmer. Sprinkle gelatin over juice and stir until dissolved. Remove pan from heat.
  2. Stir in honey or maple syrup and stevia glycerite or vanilla extract. Pour mixture into silicone candy molds.
  3. Refrigerate gummies until set, about 30-60 minutes. Remove from molds and enjoy.

Easy Sugar-Free Fudge


  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1⁄4 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp stevia powder


  1. Add all ingredients to a medium pot and whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until it begins to simmer.
  3. Reduce heat and cook at low simmer for 10-15 minutes, until thickened to fudge consistency.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in mix-ins like chopped nuts or dairy-free chocolate chips.
  5. Pour fudge into a parchment-lined pan and refrigerate until set.

No-Bake Sugar-Free Cookies


  • 21⁄2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1⁄2 cup almond butter or sunflower seed butter
  • 1⁄4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tsp monk fruit sweetener
  • Up to 1⁄2 cup mix-ins like chocolate chips, raisins, coconut


  1. Pulse oats in food processor or blender into a flour.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse again until a dough forms.
  3. Roll dough into balls and press to flatten. Decorate with extra mix-ins.
  4. Refrigerate cookies until firm, about 30 minutes.

Get creative with your own sugar alcohol-free candy recipes using ingredients like fruit purées, nut butters, coconut, cacao powder, and natural sweeteners. Just steer clear of xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and other polyols.

Tips for reducing sugar alcohols in your diet

Here are some tips to help minimize exposure to sugar alcohols from foods and beverages:

  • Read labels carefully – Check ingredients lists for polyol sweeteners. Words ending in “-itol” like xylitol or maltitol indicate sugar alcohols.
  • Limit processed low-carb foods – Many packaged items labeled low-carb, diabetic friendly, or sugar-free contain sugar alcohols as primary sweeteners.
  • Watch out for gums – Ingredients like xanthan gum, erythritol and maltitol syrup are sources of sugar alcohols.
  • Avoid “diet” drinks – Popular diet sodas and energy drinks are commonly sweetened with erythritol and sorbitol.
  • Choose fresh foods – Focus on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats and whole grains which don’t contain added sugar alcohols.
  • Sweeten smartly – Use stevia, monk fruit or small amounts of real sugar for a touch of natural sweetness.

With some diligent label reading and wise food choices, you can successfully minimize sugar alcohols in your diet. Focus on fresh, nourishing ingredients and sweeten moderately with stevia or monk fruit as needed.

The bottom line

Yes, there are sugar-free candies available that are sweetened without any sugar alcohols. The most common sweeteners are stevia, monk fruit (luo han guo), erythritol, and allulose. Check ingredient labels closely to avoid sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol. If you need to avoid all polyols, look for candies sweetened purely with stevia and/or monk fruit extract rather than a blend of sweeteners. You can also make your own sugar-free treats at home using natural sweeteners and sugar alcohol-free ingredients. Limiting processed foods and added sugars in your diet, regardless of source, is the healthiest approach overall.

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