Polyols – a comprehensive insight

By: Dr Roland Beck

What you will learn

In this course you will develop an understanding of the

  • technology,
  • functional properties and
  • industrial uses

of industrially relevant polyols derived from starch and other sugars such as Sorbitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Erythritol, Isomalt and Lactitol.

Furthermore, a selection of polyol derivatives, their diverse functionality and use, as well as their production schemes are described.

Polyols – sugar-free and beyond

Polyols, also referred as sugar alcohols, are traditionally used in food as low caloric sweeteners carrying a “sugar-free” claim. The claim “Sugar-free” refers to the lower calorific value of polyols and their different metabolic pathway, making them suitable for diabetics.

Polyols are slowly and incompletely absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestines, which, in general, results in a smaller change in blood glucose than effected by easily digestible carbohydrates such as glucose or sucrose. As polyols are not metabolized by oral bacteria they do not contribute to tooth decay. Other functional properties include a pleasant cool taste and the physical, chemical and microbiological stability over a wide range of pH and temperatures, which make polyols a valuable food ingredient.

Polyols as sustainable, renewable chemical raw materials

Beyond sweetness, sorbitol and its derivatives has become a bulk chemical raw material as polyfunctional building block for specialty chemicals.

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