Isomalt is manufactured from sugar. The original glucose – fructose bond remains intact. The fructose portion of sugar is converted to equal amounts of sorbitol and mannitol. The glucose portion is unchanged. Thus, isomalt is a mixture of two disaccharides, glucose-sorbitol and glucose-mannitol.

Isomalt is about half as sweet as sugar and, unlike most polyols, produces no cooling effect in the mouth. Isomalt is considered to have 2 calories per gram.

Because the original glucose – fructose bond remains, isomalt can be heated with no loss of sweetness or change in texture. While isomalt can provide nearly the bulk that sugar gives, baked products containing isomalt tend to be crispier and do not brown the same when heated.

While isomalt has not been approved for use in food in the United States, U.S. food manufacturers may use isomalt since the Food and Drug Administration has accepted the 1990 petition seeking this approval. It has been used in Europe since the early 1980s, and is approved in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Isomalt is used in hard and soft candies, chocolates, ice cream, jams and preserves, baked goods, fillings and fondants, chewing gum and cough drops. Isomalt may be mixed with an artificial sweetener to bring the level of sweetness up to what it would be if sugar were used.

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