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The Bad Guys: Sorbitol, Malitol

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Sometimes I just need a mint to hold me over when I am working or for obvious reasons, to have fresh breath.

Unfortunately for us IBS sufferers there are too many products made with sorbitol, malitol or other sugar alcohols ending in “ol.” Sometimes its just not worth it to pop a couple in my mouth because I can have bloating that carries on for days!

Trader Joe's Mints!

Trader Joe’s Mints!

So I came across Trader Joe’s Organic Peppermints.  The ingredients are: organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, water, peppermint oil, organic maple syrup, organic peppermint leaves, agar, and gum tragacanth.

I have not experienced any problems so far, and, as the University of Maryland’s Medical Center states: “peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass.  According to the center, “Several studies have shown that enteric coated peppermint capsules can help treat symptoms of IBS, such as pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.”  Enteric is a coating that lets capsules pass through the stomach intact and dissolve in the intestines.  “Enteric coated capsules keep peppermint oil from being released in the stomach, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.”  I have not had any problems with the peppermint oil in these Trader Joe’s mints, but if you do, try Altoids or look for gluten-free mints for sale online.  I’ve seen some of these in my local Sprout’s, Jimbo’s and Whole Foods stores: naturalcandystore.com

peppermint leavesI have also heard that chewing peppermint leaves helps freshen breath, but who wants to carry them around in a purse/pocket? :)

By the way, you must be wondering what agar and gum tragacanth must be?  I looked them up (I like to know every single ingredient if I buy anything in a package):

Agar – “is a gelatinous substance derived by boiling a polysaccharide in red algae, where it accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte and serves as the primary structural support for the algae’s cell walls.” “Throughout history into modern times, agar has been chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia and also as a solid substrate to contain culture medium for microbiological work. It can be used as a laxative, an appetite suppressant, vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, in fruit preserves,ice cream, and other desserts, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for sizing paper and fabrics.”

Gum tragacanth – a white or reddish plant gum used in the food, textile, and pharmaceutical industries. Wiki: “Gum tragacanth is a viscous, odorless, tasteless, water-soluble mixture ofpolysaccharides obtained from sap which is drained from the root of the plant and dried.”

All sound safe and natural to me.  Have a great weekend!

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