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  1. What sweeteners does John's Candies use in its Inspired Sweets™ Candies?(1)
    Dr. John's uses Polyglucitol [also called Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates (HSH)] and Xylitol in its Inspired Sweets™ Caramel and Taffy Candies (which are included in the Inspired Sweets Ultimate Sweets Collection). See our Xylitol FAQ for more information on this all-natural sweetener.

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    What is Polyglucitol?
    Polyglucitol (HSH) includes hydrogenated glucose syrups, maltitol syrups (also called Lycasin®), and sorbitol syrups.  This is a family of sugar alcohols found in a wide range of foods.  They serve a variety of roles, including use as bulk sweeteners and sugar-free carriers for flavors, colors and enzymes. Polyglucitol is a natural corn-based sweetener and is the main base sweetener and bulking agent used in Inspired Sweets™ Candies.

    Polyglucitol is exceptionally well suited for sugar-free candies because it does not crystallize.(2) 

    Polyglucitol is classified as sugar alcohols, also called polyols.


    Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates are produced by the partial hydrolysis of starch – most often corn starch but also potato starch or wheat starch. This creates dextrins (glucose and short glucose chains). The hydrolyzed starch (dextrin) then undergoes hydrogenation to convert the dextrins to sugar alcohols.

    Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate is similar to sorbitol: if the starch is completely hydrolyzed so that there are only single glucose molecules, then after hydrogenation the result is sorbitol. Because in HSH the starch is not completely hydrolyzed, a mixture of sorbitol, maltitol, and longer chain hydrogenated saccharides (such as maltotriitol) is produced. When there is no single dominant polyol in the mix, the generic name hydrogenated starch hydrosylate is used. However, if 50% or more of the polyols in the mixture are of one type, it can be labeled as "sorbitol syrup", or "maltitol syrup", etc.(3)

    Is it safe to eat foods containing Polyglucitol?
    Sugar alcohols have been designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe for use as food additives or as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Sugar alcohols may cause diarrhea, especially in children.(4)

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    How can Polyglucitol support dental health?
    Unlike sugar, Polyglucitol is resistant to metabolism by oral bacteria which break down sugars and release acids that may lead to cavities or erode tooth enamel. Polyglucitol, therefore, do not cause cavities. The usefulness of Polyglucitol (polyols) as alternatives to sugars and as part of a comprehensive program including proper dental hygiene has been recognized by the American Dental Association. (1)(4)

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    How does Polyglucitol affect blood sugar?
    Unlike sugar, the slow and incomplete absorption of Polyglucitol after consumption does not cause a significant rise in blood glucose and insulin response. Also, Polyglucitol has a reduced caloric value (75 percent or less than that of sugar). Products in which Polyglucitol replaces sugar may, therefore, be of use providing a wider variety of reduced calorie and sugar-free choices to people with diabetes (on the advice of their physician).

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    What Dr. John's™ products does Homestead Market carry?
    Homestead Market carries Inspired Sweets™  caramels and taffies. We also carry Healthy Sweets ™Candies in lollipops and hard candies.  These are sweetened with erythritol and xylitol and, in some cases, stevia.  Additionally, we carry Simply Xylitol bulk crystals made in the U.S. from birch wood.

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    Who will benefit from eating Inspired Sweets™ Candies?
    While Inspired Sweets Candies™ are a favorite of children -- especially the lollipops -- they may also be used as follows:

    • treats for diabetics, per doctor's consent
    • promoting dental health
    • diet aid
    • promoting a healthier lifestyle
    • dry mouth aid
    • school treats
    • smoking alternative
    • business give-aways

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    1. Unless otherwise stated, this information is provided by Dr. John's Candies, which manufactures both Dr. John's Candies® with Xylitol and SimplyXylitol™ crystals,, August 2010.
    2. Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates, Calorie Control Council,, August 2010. See also: "Polyols Information Source - Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates" at
    3. Hydrogenated starch hydrosylate, Wikipedia,, August 2010.
    4. "Evidence-Based Nutrition Principles and Recommendations for the Treatment and Prevention of Diabetes and Related Complications," Marion J. Franz, et. al, Diabetes Care, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2002, p.153.
    5. Federal Register 61 FR43433, August 23, 1996 – Food Labeling: Health Claims; Sugar Alcohols and Dental Caries, U.S. Food and Drug Administration,, August 2010.