Mannitol is a monosaccharide sugar alcohol. It occurs naturally in plants and may be synthetically produced from fructose or extracted from natural sources. It is used as a humectant, bulking agent, anti-caking agent, sweetener, stabilizer, and thickener.

Health considerations

Mannitol is incompletely absorbed; the mannitol that reaches the large intestine undergoes fermentation by gut bacteria. This may produce gases leading to bloating and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Mannitol is low-glycemic, has 40% of the calories of sucrose, and 50% of the sweetness.

Keep in mind

Due to its reduced absorption, consumption in significant quantities (over 20g a day) can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms including a strong laxative effect.

May be found in

Chewing gum, candy coating, chocolate, reduced-sugar candy and chocolate, cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas, watermelon, dairy-based drinks


Sugar and Sweetener Guide
Gastrointestinal Effects of Low-Digestible Carbohydrates
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
CODEX Alimentarius

Alternative Spellings and Names


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