Sorbitol Intolerance: What is it?



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Sorbitol Intolerance

Recent research suggests that around 50% of adults struggle to digest sugar substitutes in large quantities yet very few people have heard of sorbitol intolerance. So, here’s everything you need to know…

First things first, what is sorbitol?

Sorbitol is a water-soluble carbohydrate called polyols, a form of sugar alcohol. It is found naturally in some fruits (apples, peaches, plums, figs, apricots, dates, and berries). However, it is also commercially manufactured and added to food products (particularly diabetic or ‘sugar-free’ products) to:

  • Add sweetness
  • Preserve moisture
  • Provide texture to products
What is sorbitol intolerance?

Sorbitol intolerance or malabsorption occurs when sorbitol can only be partially absorbed or not absorbed at all. This can cause digestive problems and is often experienced alongside fructose intolerance.

Common symptoms include:
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Burping
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatty stool
  • Bad breath
How to get diagnosed with sorbitol intolerance?

If you consistently experience these symptoms after eating, you should seek out a food intolerance test conducted by a gastroenterologist. If you want to gain more information about a potential intolerance on your own, you can keep a symptom and food diary to keep track of which foods you react to.

Which foods can I eat?


  • Berries
  • Melon
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Quince
  • Pineapple

Other Suitable Foods:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Unprocessed meat
  • Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Salt, pepper
  • Fresh herbs
  • Grain, rice
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetables e.g. bell pepper, eggplant, leafy, spinach, parsnips, broccoli, radishes, peas, fennel, kale, okra, asparagus, onions
How Can FoodLama Help?

Online grocery sites don’t cater well to people who shop with dietary restrictions or preferences. Foodlama helps you easily discover which products contain sorbitol. You can download Foodlama free of charge here. For more information on allergies and deep dives, check out our ‘On Allergy’ blogs.


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