What is Sorbitol?
Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that is often used in food products (i.e. chewing gum, baked goods) as a sweetening agent. Although found naturally in fruits and berries, sorbitol is now commercially produced due to its high demand in the food industry through hydrogenation of glucose.
It contains only 60% of sweetness in comparison to sucrose, which contributes to its lower calorie characteristic. In addition, it can also function as a humectant and texturising agent.
Benefits of Sorbitol
- High stability property
Sorbitol has a stabilising property which allows it to withstand high temperatures, resulting in the prevention of participation in Mailard browning reaction. This allows it work well with other food ingredients such as proteins, fats and other sweeteners.
- Protects against tooth decay
Oral bacterias present in the mouth break down sugar and starches to release acid, which may develop cavities or erosion of tooth enamel. Sorbitol however, is not metabolised by oral bacterias hence prevents this from occurring.
- Reduced calorie value
Unlike other sugar alcohols, sorbitol is slowly absorbed by the body to allow a high quantity of the consumed food to reach the large intestine instead. This causes metabolism to generate fewer calories.
- Beneficial for diabetic individuals
Sorbitol can be used as a sugar substitute as its low sweetness property depletes the rise in blood glucose and the insulin response associated with the consumption of glucose.
Additionally, it has a reduced calorie value of 2.54kcal/g which is on par with the calorie intake for diabetic individuals.
Due to its many beneficial property, it is no surprise that Sorbitol is frequently used in food products.
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