The singular term “hydrogenated starch hydrolysate” is applied to a family of polyol products. Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH) are produced by the partial hydrolysis of starch – corn being the most prominent – and the subsequent hydrogenation the various starch fragments (dextrins). In practice, “hydrogenated starch hydrolysate” is used to describe products that contain more hydrogenated dextrins than sorbitol or maltitol.
This expansive term “hydrogenated starch hydrolysate” does not identify the primary polyol used in the food. However, if a HSH contains 50% or more sorbitol, for example, it can be labeled as “sorbitol syrup.” The same would also be true for the labeling of “maltitol syrup.”
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates are 20% to 50% as sweet as sugar. HSH sweetness depends on its particular composition. For example, a HSH containing more maltitol would be sweeter than one containing more sorbitol.
Like maltitol, U.S. food manufacturers may use HSH while FDA reviews the petition seeking approval for use in foods. The HSH family of polyols is an approved food ingredient in Canada, Japan and Australia.
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates can be used in the same types of products that use the other common sugar alcohols. HSH products are generally blended with other sweeteners, both caloric and artificial.