Periodic Table -> Sugar Alcohols

Sugar Alcohols

A sugar alcohol is also called polyol, polyalcohol or polyhydric alcohol. It is actually a form of hydrogenated carbohydrate. A sugar alcohol’s carbonyl group which consists of ketone or aldehyde, or reducing sugar is lowered to a primary or secondary type of hydroxyl group, (thus the alcohol). The general formula of a sugar alcohol is H(HCHO)n+1H, while sugar has H(HCHO)nHCO.

Sugar alcohols are generally used in foodstuffs that are available commercially. These are used instead of sucrose or table sugar and are commonly mixed with high degree of artificial sweeteners to balance the low level of sweetness.

Types of Sugar Alcohols or Polyols

According to the different chemical structures, sugar alcohols can be divided into the following categories:

Certain sugar alcohols which are approved by Food and Drug Administration or GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) or certain safe food additives include:

The calorie content of the sugar alcohols falls in the range between zero to three calories every gram in comparison to sucrose or other forms of sugar which have four calories every gram. The majority of sugar alcohols have less sweetness than sucrose while maltitol and xylitol have about the same quantity of sweetness as sucrose.

Uses of Sugar Alcohols in the Form of Food Additives

Generally, any product’s ingredient list contains the specific names of sugar alcohols used. They are included in the total amount of carbohydrate present as indicated, or separately as sugar alcohols. In case the product is claimed as sugar free or “with no sugar added”, it is the responsibility of the manufacturers to provide the count of sugar alcohol separately.

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