The main difference between sorbitol and xylitol is that xylitol is sweeter and has fewer calories than sorbitol.
Sorbitol and xylitol are sugar alcohols commonly used as sugar substitutes in food products. While they share some similarities, there are important differences in sweetness, calories, and uses.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Sorbitol
– Definition, Sweetness, Features
2. What is Xylitol
– Definition, Sweetness, Features
3. Similarities – Sorbitol and Xylitol
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Sorbitol and Xylitol
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Sorbitol
Sorbitol is a carbohydrate with a chemical structure similar to sugar. It can be obtained by the reduction of glucose, which changes the converted aldehyde group to a primary alcohol group. This reaction requires NADH and is catalyzed by aldose reductase. Sorbitol is mostly made from potato starch but is also found in apples, pears, and peaches.
One advantage of sorbitol as a sugar substitute is that it provides sweetness without the same calorie content as sugar. Sorbitol contains 2.6 calories per gram. Another advantage of sorbitol is that it does not promote tooth decay. This is because the bacteria that cause cavities cannot metabolize sorbitol as effectively as they metabolize sugar.
Sorbitol has many different applications. One of the main applications is as a sweetener. It has an E number 420. We can describe it as a nutritive sweetener because it provides dietary energy. It also works as a laxative by drawing water into the large intestine and stimulating bowel movements. In addition, it has other medical applications. One of those applications is its use in bacterial culture media to distinguish the pathogenic Escherichia coli O157:H7.
Sorbitol is also used in the treatment of hyperkalemia. Additionally, it is helpful in the manufacture of soft gel capsules to store single doses of liquid medicines. In modern cosmetics, sorbitol works as a humectant and thickener. Also, you can find it in mouthwash and toothpaste, as well. Sorbitol has a high refractive index; hence it is used to make transparent gels.
Though sorbitol has many uses, it also has side effects. When used as a laxative, it may cause stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.
What is Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol found in plants. It has a chemical formula C5H12O5. It is a colorless or white crystalline solid that is freely soluble in water. Its E number is E967. The main use of xylitol is as a food additive and a sugar substitute. One of the primary advantages of xylitol as a sugar substitute is that it provides sweetness without the same calorie content as sugar. Xylitol contains 2.4 calories per gram. Another advantage is that it has a low glycemic index which means that it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Xylitol is naturally available in plums, strawberries, cauliflower, and pumpkin. It may be present in humans and in some animals in trace amounts during the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Moreover, xylitol has potential benefits for dental health. It can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth and reduce the risk of cavities. This is because the bacteria that cause cavities cannot metabolize xylitol like they can metabolize sugar. Xylitol disrupts the bacteria’s ability to adhere to the teeth and form a plaque. It increases saliva production, which can help neutralize acids in the mouth and promote oral health.
Xylitol also has applications in the field of medicine. Moreover, studies show that it has a role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. In addition, it helps in the reduction of respiratory infection by inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria and viruses in vitro. Though xylitol has many advantages, it also has side effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Similarities Between Sorbitol and Xylitol
- Sorbitol and xylitol are sugar alcohols that are popular as sugar substitutes in food products.
- Both provide sweetness without the same calorie content as sugar.
- Both do not promote tooth decay as effectively as sugar does, making them beneficial for dental health.
- They have potential medical applications beyond their use as sugar substitutes.
Difference Between Sorbitol and Xylitol
Sorbitol is C6H14O6, a carbohydrate derived from glucose and used as a sugar substitute, while Xylitol is C5H12O5, a natural sugar alcohol found in plants and used as a food additive and sugar substitute.
Xylitol is sweeter than sorbitol.
Sorbitol contains 2.6 calories per gram, while xylitol contains 2.4 calories per gram.
Xylitol has a lower glycemic index than sorbitol, meaning it does not cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels.
When used as a sweetener, sorbitol has an E number 420, whereas xylitol has an E number 967.
Sorbitol is used in bacterial culture media, the treatment of hyperkalemia, and the manufacture of soft gel capsules, while xylitol has potential benefits for dental health, osteoporosis prevention and treatment, and reducing respiratory infections.
In brief, sorbitol and xylitol are sugar alcohols used as sugar substitutes in food products. The main difference between sorbitol and xylitol is that xylitol is sweeter and has fewer calories than sorbitol.
1. “What Is Sorbitol? Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, and More.” Health Line.
2. “Xylitol – Uses, Side Effects, and More.” WebMD.