Lactitol is a chemical compound belonging to sugar alcohols. It is obtained as a result of the hydrogenation of lactose; it consists of galactose and sorbitol. It is commonly used as a food additive – it acts as a sweetening and stiffening substance. It is slightly less sweet than sucrose (40%). In food products, it is often hidden under the symbol E966.
It is estimated that only 2% of the lactitol delivered to the body is digested in the small intestine to glucose and sorbitol, which are then absorbed. The rest goes to the large intestine, where it undergoes fermentation processes carried out by colon bacteria. Lactitol is a low-calorie substance (provides 2 kcal per gram) with a low glycemic index; it practically does not affect the level of sugar and insulin in the blood. In addition, it is not metabolized by bacteria that live in the mouth, so it does not cause tooth decay.
Lactitol is considered safe for health. In high doses, above 20 g, it may cause a laxative effect.