What is Mannitol?
- Mannitol is a type of carbohydrate called a sugar alcohol, or polyol.
- Mannitol contains about 60 percent fewer calories than sugar and is half as sweet.
- Mannitol occurs naturally in fresh mushrooms, brown algae, tree bark and most fruits and vegetables.
- Mannitol is commercially produced for use in chocolate coatings, confections and chewing gum.
- Mannitol’s safety has been confirmed by global health authorities.
- Mannitol, when eaten in excessive amounts, can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
The basics of mannitol
Mannitol (pronounced ma-nuh-tall) is a type of carbohydrate called a sugar alcohol, or polyol, which are water-soluble compounds that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Mannitol is also commercially produced for use in chocolate coatings, confections, chewing gums, powders and tablets to provide body, sweetness, cooling taste and texture. It’s also useful as an anti-caking agent due to its minimal ability to absorb water.
Mannitol’s safety has been reviewed and confirmed by health authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization, the European Union, and the countries Australia, Canada and Japan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recognizes mannitol as safe.
While the safety of mannitol (and other sugar alcohols) is well-documented, when eaten in excessive amounts some sugar alcohols (e.g., mannitol and sorbitol) can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, including gas, bloating and diarrhea. As a result, packaged foods that contain mannitol or sorbitol must include a warning on their label about potential laxative effects.
- 1/2 ounce
- 1 ounce
- 2 ounce