Nadia Galinova
Translated by
Nadia Galinova

Sorbitol /Sorbit/ is a higher alcohol, which is characterized by a sweet taste and good solubility in water. Sorbitol is also known by the names sorbit and E 420. Sorbitol is a food additive classified as stabilizers that we find in some food products offered in store chains. Thanks to its action, the consistency of the products is preserved, as well as their viscosity.

Interestingly, pectin works in a similar way. The retention agent E 420 can act as an emulsifier and sweetener. It can be found in the form of syrup. It is also known as a white powdery substance and also as a concentrated aqueous solution. Because of its sweet taste, it is used as a sugar equivalent. However, E 420 has a much sweeter taste than it. In its natural state, it is found in fruit (apples, pears, peaches and prunes), seaweed and other plants.

Use of sorbitol

Sorbitol is widely used in the food industry as a structure former, which significantly improves the consistency of the product. In addition, it is important because thanks to it substances can be mixed which under other conditions cannot be successfully mixed.

In general, sorbitol is a stabilizing substance, thanks to which the attractive shape and structure of food products can be preserved. Its moistening action is especially valued in meat processing. And E 420 is one of the cheap preparations, so it is profitable for the manufacturers.

One of the main uses of the food additive in question is its application in the confectionary industry, when it is necessary to prepare dietary pastries. You'll find it in candy, chocolates, jellies, lollipops, chewing gum, biscuits, waffles, cupcakes. It can also be present in jellies, jams, marmalades, purees and ice creams.


Confectionery with sorbitol is particularly suitable for people for whom the consumption of sugar is not recommended for a number of health reasons. Diabetics, for example, can safely eat such sweets.

Sorbitol is also included into various dietary drinks such as juices, carbonated drinks, nectars and sodas. In general, it is used to flavor any food that is water-based and does not contain added sugar. It can also be found in shakes and some milk and dairy products.

Sorbitol is also known in pharmaceuticals. It is present in cough syrups, vitamin complexes and various preparations. It is also used as a component of mouthwash and toothpaste. It is also used in the production of creams, powders, shower gels, shampoos, body lotions, face masks.

Daily dose of sorbitol

Numerous studies have shown that sorbitol should not be taken in large quantities. It is accepted that it is not advisable to take more than 40 grams per day of the substance. However, it is known that even in smaller doses it can cause side effects.

Sorbitol benefits

The properties of sorbitol make it useful for a number of reasons. As it has already become clear, it is a big plus for diabetics who cannot accept foods containing sugar, since it hardly changes blood sugar values. In addition, the same people do not have to resort to products containing acesulfame, aspartame, sucrasite and other artificial sweeteners.

E 420 has a laxative effect and is therefore used in the production of anti-constipation preparations. The substance also helps the human body reduce the consumption of vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. In addition, it helps the good condition of the stomach microflora. Another plus of sorbitol is that it is an excellent choleretic. It is also used as a substance for the treatment of alcohol poisoning.

Damage from sorbitol

Stomach Bloating

Although sorbitol is useful in some cases, scientists do not fail to make critical comments about it. The reason is that with increased intake of the substance, side effects such as the appearance of gas and severe discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract are observed.

In addition, according to experts, in contact with a mucous membrane or an open wound, it can cause irritation, itching and burning. There are claims according to which the intake of the food supplement E420 negatively affects eye sight.

According to the USA, the substance in question belongs to the substances that are dangerous to our health. For this reason, sorbitol is not allowed to be added to children's purees and porridges.

Experiments show that it is possible for a person to show hypersensitivity to E420. This condition can even lead to bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

It is also believed that sorbitol contributes to the increase of appetite and its long-term intake can lead to weight gain. It can also negatively affect metabolism.

All these opinions should not to cause panic in us, but they should still make us think about what products we buy and try to keep the content of food additives such as E420 in them to a minimum. Parents should be especially careful to check the composition of the sweet things that their children often consume.


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