Rating: Cut back
Sugar-free sweetener, thickening agent, maintains moisture: Frozen desserts, candy, shredded coconut, chewing gum, other sugar-free foods.
Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol and close relative of sugar, occurs naturally in fruits and berries. It is sweet, but only half as sweet as sugar. It is non-cariogenic (does not cause tooth decay) and is used in chewing gum. Some diabetics use sorbitol-sweetened foods because it is absorbed slowly and does not cause blood sugar to increase rapidly. Moderate amounts of sorbitol are safe, but large amounts may have a strong laxative effect and even cause diarrhea. The FDA requires foods "whose reasonably foreseeable consumption may result in a daily ingestion of 50 grams of sorbitol" to bear the label statement: "Excess consumption may have a laxative effect."