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Sugar alcohol

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**1. Structure and Production:**
Sugar alcohols have a general formula with diverse chain lengths, mainly five- or six-carbon chains.
– They have one -OH group attached to each carbon and can be dehydrated to give cyclic ethers.
Sugar alcohols are often produced from renewable resources like starch, cellulose, and hemicellulose.
– Main conversion technologies involve hydrogenolysis and hydrogenation.
– Sorbitol and mannitol are obtained by hydrogenation of sugars using Raney nickel catalysts.

**2. Types and Health Effects:**
– Sorbitol, mannitol, and erythritol are common sugar alcohols.
Sugar alcohols do not contribute to tooth decay and impact blood sugar levels less than sugars.
– Xylitol deters tooth decay.
– Different sugar alcohols have varying sweetness and food energy content.
– Overconsumption can lead to bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence.

**3. Characteristics and Absorption:**
Sugar alcohols are less sweet than sucrose but have a similar flavor.
– They do not contribute to tooth decay and do not brown when heated.
– Some sugar alcohols can produce a cooling sensation in the mouth.
– They are incompletely absorbed, resulting in a smaller change in blood glucose.
– Erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine and excreted unchanged through urine.

**4. Uses in Food Industry:**
Sugar alcohols are used in sugar-free and low-calorie products.
– They provide sweetness without promoting tooth decay and are used in chewing gums, candies, and diabetic-friendly foods.
– Found in ice creams, baked goods, and beverages, sugar alcohols improve texture and flavor of food products.

**5. Regulations and External Links:**
Sugar alcohols are classified as food additives in many countries and approved by regulatory bodies like the FDA.
– Specific guidelines exist on the acceptable daily intake of sugar alcohols.
– Some may have restrictions on their use in certain food products, and manufacturers need to comply with labeling requirements.
– External links for additional information include resources like a Youtube video on sugar alcohols and Wikimedia Commons.

Sugar alcohol (Wikipedia)

Sugar alcohols (also called polyhydric alcohols, polyalcohols, alditols or glycitols) are organic compounds, typically derived from sugars, containing one hydroxyl group (−OH) attached to each carbon atom. They are white, water-soluble solids that can occur naturally or be produced industrially by hydrogenating sugars. Since they contain multiple (−OH) groups, they are classified as polyols.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. It is 60–70% as sweet as sugar and almost noncaloric.

Sugar alcohols are used widely in the food industry as thickeners and sweeteners. In commercial foodstuffs, sugar alcohols are commonly used in place of table sugar (sucrose), often in combination with high-intensity artificial sweeteners, in order to offset their low sweetness. Xylitol and sorbitol are popular sugar alcohols in commercial foods.

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