Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol with a sweet taste which the human body metabolizes slowly. Most sorbitol is made from corn syrup, but it is also found in apples, pears, peaches, and prunes. It can be obtained by reduction of glucose, changing the aldehyde group to a hydroxyl group.
Chemical formula : C6H14O6
Sorbitol is a sugar substitute. It may be listed under the inactive ingredients listed for some foods and products. Its INS number and E number is 420. Sorbitol has approximately 60% the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar).
Sorbitol is referred to as a nutritive sweetener because it provides dietary energy: 2.6 kilocalories (11 kilojoules) per gram versus the average 4 kilocalories (17 kilojoules) for carbohydrates. It is often used in diet foods (including diet drinks and ice cream), mints, cough syrups, and sugar-free chewing gum.
Sorbitol, a polyol (sugar alcohol), is a bulk sweetener found in numerous food products. In addition to providing sweetness, it is an excellent humectant and texturizing agent. Sorbitol is about 60 percent as sweet as sucrose with one-third fewer calories. It has a smooth mouthfeel with a sweet, cool and pleasant taste. It is non-cariogenic and may be useful to people with diabetes. Sorbitol has been safely used in processed foods for almost half a century. It is also used in other products, such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Sorbitol has been affirmed as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is approved for use by the European Union and numerous countries around the world, including Australia, Canada and Japan.
Sorbitol is used as a humectant in many types of products for protection against loss of moisture content. The moisture-stabilizing and textural properties of sorbitol are used in the production of confectionery, baked goods and chocolate where products tend to become dry or harden. Its moisture-stabilizing action protects these products from drying and maintains their initial freshness during storage.
Sorbitol is very stable and chemically unreactive. It can withstand high temperatures and does not participate in Maillard (browning) reactions. This is an advantage, for example, in the production of cookies where a fresh color with no appearance of browning is desired. Sorbitol also combines well with other food ingredients such as sugars, gelling agents, proteins and vegetable fats. It functions well in many food products such as chewing gums, candies, frozen desserts, cookies, cakes, icings and fillings as well as oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwash.