Mannitol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) that is used as sugar substitute and laxative. Unlike many common sugars, such as fructose or sucrose, mannitol does not contribute to tooth decay.
Mannitol is largely used as a humectant in many types of products to maintain moisture content. The moisture-stabilizing and textural properties of mannitol are used in the production of confectionery, baked goods, and chocolate where products tend to become dry or harden. Its moisture-stabilizing action protects these products from drying and maintains their initial freshness during storage. Additionally, mannitol a stable and chemically unreactive compound. It can withstand high temperatures and does not participate in Maillard (browning) reactions. This is an advantage, for example, in the production of cookies where a fresh color with no appearance of browning is desired.