Food sorbite (sorbitol, food additive Е 420) is a natural sweetener, sugar replacement, complexing agent, emulsifier, texturator, water-retaining agent, color stabilizer and dispersant. Food sorbite is almost completely (for 98%) digested by the human body and it compares favourably with synthetic substances by its nutritious properties: its calorific value is 4 kcal/g.
Thanks to its properties the sorbite is often used as a sugar replacement in production of dietary food and beverages, chewing gums, confectionary, jelly, marshmallow, candies, horticultural preserves, forcemeat products, soft drinks. Due to its ability to absorb moisture from the air (hydroscopic property), the sorbite helps to prevent premature hardening and drying of products. In pharmaceuticals it is used as structure-former and filler for making gelatin capsules, vitamin preparations, crèmes, ointments, pastes, and anti-cough syrups. It is also used in production of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Besides, the sorbite is used as an absorbent in cosmetic industry (production of crèmes, toothpastes, masks, powder, deodorants, lotions, shower gels, and shampoos), as well as in textile, tannery, tobacco, paper and chemical industries.