Sorbitol is a sugar substitute, and when used in food it has the INS number and E number 420. Sorbitol is about 60% as sweet as sucrose (table sugar)
Sorbitol is referred to as a nutritive sweetener because it provides dietary energy: 2.6 kilocalories (11 kilojoules) per gram versus the average 4 kilocalories (17 kilojoules) for carbohydrates. It is often used in toothpastes, diet foods (including diet drinks and ice cream), mints, cough syrups, and sugar-free chewing gum.
Sorbitol may be synthesized via a glucose reduction reaction (Hydrogenation in the presence of Raney Nickel Catalyst) in which the converted aldehyde group is converted into a hydroxyl group.