E420 sorbitol or sorbitol syrup is a special food additive that is used as an emulsifier, a texturizer, a complexing agent, a water-holding agent, a sweetener.
Sorbitol is very stable and chemically inactive. It can withstand high temperatures and is not involved in Maillard reactions (brown). This is an advantage, for example, in the production of cookies, where a fresh color is desired without visible browning. Sorbitol is also well combined with other food ingredients, such as sugar, gelling agents, proteins and vegetable fats. It functions well in many foods: sweets, frozen desserts, biscuits, cakes, glazes and fillings, as well as in oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwash.
Sorbitol is very similar to glucose, but, unlike glucose, it acts as a laxative, very slowly absorbed into the blood. As a consequence of this gradual absorption, when it passes through the intestines, sorbitol tends to stay on some water. This increases the moisture content in the stool, which leads to easier removal from the body.
Sorbitol rarely causes negative side effects, however, due to the effects on the intestines, it can cause stomach discomfort, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea. Sorbitol-containing drugs can also cause diarrhea. Additive perfectly soluble in water.
It is allowed to use as a food additive of E420 in Canada, the USA, the European Union countries, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
The nutritional value
The following nutritional value of the product is determined:
- calories per gram = 2.6 or 354 kilocalories per 100 grams of supplement;
- the glycemic index (GI) = 9;
- sweetness relative to sucrose = 60%;
- clean crabs = zero.
High sorbitol products
Sorbitol occurs naturally in significant quantities in grapes, prunes, cherries, peaches, apples, pears, apricots and juicy fruit juices.
The additive can be semi-artificially obtained from glucose syrup, can be pulled out of wheat, potato starch. Is used as an additive in low-calorie sweetener, humectant, filler, Texturizer or fat substitute in confectionery, sweets, bakery products, diabetic jams, food bars, shredded coconut, chewing gum, chocolate, diet soft drinks, surimi or boiled sausages. E420 can be used as a sweetener in toothpaste, mouthwash, medicinal syrups, lozenges, vitamins and mineral supplements or medications.
In the European Union, sorbitol is designated as E-number E420.
Sorbitol use and metabolism
Sorbitol is poorly absorbed in the small intestine, so it moves to the large intestine, where beneficial intestinal bacteria destroy it (ferment) into gases and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which can be absorbed and provide some energy. Sorbitol can provide 2.6 kilocalories per gram.
Possible benefits of sorbitol
Tooth decay: sorbitol does not contribute to the development of caries.
Diabetes: E420 has a low glycemic index (GI = 9) and does not significantly increase insulin levels in the blood. Nevertheless, it is questionable whether sorbitol is a good sugar substitute, since it often causes bloating.
Manufacturers do not recommend to use more than forty grams of supplements per day, so as not to provoke discomfort in the stomach. From the beneficial properties of sorbitol syrup, I would like to note the following: after digestion of E420, the body no longer needs insulin, is much more actively absorbed compared to glucose, has anti-ketone effect, stimulates the process of glycogen accumulation in the liver, stimulates the production of gastric juice, accelerates bile flow, accelerates regenerative processes of the liver after serious diseases, saturates the body with B vitamins, positively affects the shelf life of various products.
The additive attracts water from the intestinal wall (osmotic effect), so it can cause diarrhea if consumed in excess. According to one source, the lactation threshold for a single dose of sorbitol in healthy men is 0.17 g / kg, and in women - 0.24 g / kg of body weight, or up to about 50 g per day.
During one of the studies in healthy people, sorbitol at a dose of 27 grams caused only excess gas (flatulence).
Sorbitol sensitivity or intolerance to fructose malabsorption: persons with fructose malabsorption often also have E420 malabsorption, which can cause the same symptoms as fructose (abdominal distension, pain or cramps, loose stools, diarrhea, leading to unintended weight loss, constipation, excessive belching and headache). The supplement may also cause symptoms of stomach diseases in individuals with large intestinal bacteria proliferation (SIBO) and with a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.
Persons with hereditary fructose intolerance should avoid sorbitol syrup, because it is metabolized to fructose, which cannot be metabolized further, so it accumulates in the liver, which leads to hypoglycemia and severe gastrointestinal symptoms.
Note: the sensitivity of sorbitol, malabsorption or intolerance does not provoke an allergic reaction (rash, hives) to sorbitol. Allergy to sorbitol is not probable. Important: the use of sorbitol in food is strictly contraindicated in children up to one year old.
Among the main drawbacks are the following: can cause mild bouts of dizziness, heartburn, flatulence, nausea; high-calorie supplement; compared with sucrose, E420 is less sweet; has an unpleasant metallic taste.
E420 is a white crystalline powder, less sweet than sucrose and has a strong cooling effect. Very hygroscopic - easily attracts moisture. A good moisturizer helps food to resist moisture changes. Solubility in water at 77 ° F (25 ° C) = 70 g / 100 g of solution or 235 g in 100 ml of water. Melting point = 207 ° F (97 ° C). Heat resistance> 320 ° F (> 160 ° C).