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Stichting Food-Info> E-numbers > E400-500

E420: Sorbitol

E420 (i) Sorbitol
E420 (ii) Sorbitol syrup

A natural carbohydrate alcohol, present in many berries and fruits, e.g., apples, prunes, cherries and grapes. It is commercially produced from glucose (dextrose).

Function & characteristics:
Stabiliser, low-calorie sweetener, bulking agent, etc.

Many bakery and confectionery products.

Acceptable Daily Intake:
There are no limits to the intake of E420; however, its use is not allowed for infants younger than 1 year of age, as it may cause severe diarrhoea.

Side effects:
Sorbitol is partly absorbed and metabolised as fructose by the body; the remaining fraction is fermented in the large intestine. During fermentation, gases are produced, which may cause bloating and flatulence. In intolerant persons it can act as a laxative. There are normally no side effects in the concentrations used; however, some intolerant persons show gas formation at an intake as low as 5 grams of sorbitol. Side effects normally occur after an intake of 25-30 grams in a single dose, which is far above the usage in normal foods.

Dietary restrictions:
Sorbitol can be used by all religious groups, vegans and vegetarians. The term carbohydrate alcohol is a chemical definition; sorbitol does not contain alcohol (ethanol). is an initiative of Stichting Food-Info, The Netherlands

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