Sorbitol – harmless sweetener, but only in small quantities!
What is sorbitol?
Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol (polyols are said to be a group of these compounds), which is found in some fruits in nature. It was obtained for the first time from rowan (sorbus), hence the name sorbitol. Do not be fooled by the name of a sugar alcohol, there is no alcohol (ethanol) in sorbitol.
In the industry, it is usually obtained from corn syrup, resulting in a white powder, which looks like ordinary sugar. Sorbitol can also appear on food packaging as a sorbitol syrup. Both compounds are marked with the symbol E420.
Application and calories of sorbitol
Sorbitol is known primarily as a sweetener, but it also has other functions in the food industry. Due to its characteristics, sorbitol is also used as stabilizer (I maintain adequate moisture and texture of food), filling substance.
Sorbitol shows half the sweetness in relation to sucrose, i.e. sugar, which you will sweeten tea with. This compound is metabolized differently from table sugar and therefore has a calorific value lower by 40%.
It is assumed that
1 g of sorbitol is 2.4 kcal,
1 g of sugar is 4 kcal!
Sorbitol leaves a characteristic feeling of cold in the mouth, which is why it often sweetens with mint and antitussive candies. At the same time, it masks the bitter aftertaste of other sweeteners, which is why you will often find it in light beverages.
Sorbitol is not a nutrient for bacteria found in the oral cavity. Therefore, it does not contribute to the development of caries.
There are no limits on the use of sorbitol, it is added according to the quantum satis principle, i.e. at the lowest dose necessary to achieve the desired effect.
The problem is that sorbitol is found in a large number of products and can cause unpleasant symptoms in many people.
Is sorbitol harmful? Properties of sorbitol, sorbitol and diabetes
Only a small part of sorbitol is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. It is metabolised differently than sugar, without insulin, so it does not cause rapid jumps in blood glucose. For this reason, this compound is often used as a sweetener in diabetic products.
The absorbed sorbitol enters the large intestine where it is broken down by intestinal bacteria. It also has properties that draw water to the intestine. These two factors make its excessive consumption lead to painful intestinal cramps, flatulence and diarrhea.
Particularly sensitive to sorbitol are people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is estimated that this disorder is present in up to 30% of people, which is why unpleasant symptoms after consumption of sorbitol can affect every third of you.
Where does sorbitol occur?
This compound is widely used in
gums for life,
products referred to as without sugar.
Naturally, sorbitol occurs in
You can also find it in dried fruit and fruit juices. Sorbitol also contains all fruit preparations prepared on the basis of the fruits mentioned above. This relationship also occurs in
toothpastes and mouthwash,
effervescent tablets with vitamins and minerals,
medicinal syrups (eg cough),
You may find that you consume at least several different sorbitol sources throughout the day. If you suffer from unexplained flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhea, look at what you eat. Look for the product names sorbitol, sorbitol syrup or E420. Think about it, maybe you’re a big admirer of apple juice? Pay special attention to food labels marked as sugar-free. Try to limit the intake of sorbitol to see if he is responsible for your symptoms.
Little children are especially susceptible to sorbitol, and infants are not allowed to give them at all!
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