A sugar alcohol is a form of carbohydrate (technically a hydrogenated carbohydrate)
Sugar alcohols are used commercially to replace table sugar. They taste similar to sugar although in general are not as sweet. The main benefit of using them instead of sugar is they contain less energy than sugar – IE have fewer calories.
The common sugar alcohols which include sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, erythritol are manufactured from corn starch.
Xylitol is another common sugar alcohol. It is manufactured from such sources as corn cobs, sugar cane bagasse (stalk residue remaining after sugar extraction).
Isomalt and lactitol are becoming more common and are manufactured from sucrose and whey
Some common sugar alcohols are:
- Methanol & Glycol taste sweet but are poisonous
1) Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_alcohol
2) Sugar Association - http://www.sugar.org/other-sweeteners/sugar-alcohols.html