What Are the Dangers of Sorbitol?

Sorbitol is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is derived from fructose, and it is deadly to the cells within the body, according to Harvard grad Dr. Gabe Mirkin of Wellsphere.com. Sorbitol is also produced synthetically and used as an artificial sweetener. It has about half the sweetness of sucrose, according to the National Institutes of Health. Synthetic sorbitol is a type of polyhydric alcohol, also known as sugar alcohol, and is not as damaging as naturally occurring sorbitol. This is due to the fact that the body does not absorb sugar alcohols. That being said, there are several dangers associated with over-consumption of sorbitol as an artificial sweetener.


When sorbitol is consumed in large amounts, it can act as a laxative, leading to diarrhea, according to Dr. Gabe Mirkin. The dangers of diarrhea are relatively small, although there is a risk for dehydration. Because of this risk of dehydration, you should drink plenty of water and/or energy drinks to keep your electrolytes at normal levels until you feel better.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a relatively common condition that can be provoked by consuming too much sorbitol, according to a health article about the dangers of sugar substitutes at WomenToWomen.com. Symptoms of IBS include stomach discomfort, diarrhea, constipation or altered stool. While IBS is not a life-threatening issue, it can lead to increased risk of colon-related diseases over time. Speak to your doctor if you are having any of the previously mentioned symptoms over an extended period of time. There are various drug treatments, as well as dietary changes, which can help to alleviate the symptoms associated with IBS.

Bloating and Excess Gas

For some people, sorbitol may contribute to excessive bloating and flatulence, according to The American College of Gastroenterology. The ACG states that any type of sugar substitute, including sorbitol, can cause excess gas and bloating when consumed by people sensitive to these substances. The simplest way to eliminate this danger is to completely rid sorbitol from your diet. Additionally, it may be good idea to consult your doctor to make sure that it is in fact artificial sweeteners that are the cause of your bloating and excess gas.

One Response to What Are the Dangers of Sorbitol?
  1. Excessive Perspiration

    Sorbitol also may aggravate irritable bowel syndrome and similar gastrointestinal conditions, resulting in severe abdominal pain for those affected, even from small amounts ingested.

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