Sorbitol is a complex compound made by reduction of glucose. It is a sugar alcohol made from corn syrup but can also be made from pears, apples, peaches and prunes. Sorbitol is also known as glucitol and has a sweet taste. Unlike other sugars, such as glucose and fructose, sorbitol is slowly metabolized by the human body.
Sorbitol is commonly used as a sweetener and acts as a sugar substitute. Foods and products containing sorbitol usually have the compound listed as one of the inactive ingredients. It is important to note that sorbital is a nutritive sweetener. This is because it's a source of dietary energy. Cough syrup, sugar-free chewing gums, mints and diet foods are often rich in sorbitol.
Sorbitol 70% is used as a laxative for both adults and children. The laxative effect of sorbitol is due to the fact that the compound draws water from the large intestines.