What is glycerin?
Glycerin is chemically a sugar alcohol. On the Nutrition Facts labels, it is included in total carbohydrates, and, as a subcategory, in sugar alcohol. In the EU, glycerin is listed as E number E422.
Glycerin Word Origin and Meaning
From French glycérine, from Greek glukeros = sweet.
Glycerin, Glycerine and Glycerol Are the Same
Glycerin, glycerine and glycerol are 3 names for the same substance. The name glycerin or glycerine is usually used as a product name and the name glycerol for the ingredient, for example, glycerin syrup contains 99.7 glycerol.
Glycerol vs triglycerides. Glycerol naturally occurring in foods and in the human body is usually joined with fatty acids and forms triglycerides, which are lipids, but again, glycerol as a standalone molecule is not a lipid but carbohydrate. When triglycerides are digested, they are broken down into glycerol and fatty acids, which are absorbed.
The chemical formula of glycerin (glycerol) is CH (OH) .
Glycerin Absorption and Metabolism
Glycerin is chemically classified as a sugar alcohol, but it is more similar to sugars: it is readily absorbed and is probably converted into glucose in the human body and it provides 4.3 kilocalories of energy per gram . Glycerin is not one of the FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols), because it is well absorbed in the small intestine and does not pass to the large intestine where it would be fermented by intestinal bacteria.
Glycerin is often mentioned as a sweetener with a low glycemic index, but there are no reliable sources to confirm this.
Types of Edible Glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is made from vegetable oils (palm oil, palm stearin, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, soybean oil) during production of soap or biodiesel.
Animal glycerin is a natural byproduct of animal fats (such as beef tallow) during production of soap.
Synthetic glycerin is produced from cane or corn syrup sugar, or propylene (a petroleum derivative).
Glycerin as a Food Additive
Food-grade glycerin may be added as a humectant (wetting agent), thickener, solvent or sweetener to dairy products (cream), canned goods, confections, fondant, processed fruits, jams, energy bars and other foods. The source of glycerin (animal or vegetable oil, corn syrup, petroleum) used in a food product is usually not revealed on the food labels.
Other Glycerin Uses
Glycerin as a food additive is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Glycerin is expected to be safe to use by adults and children. Glycerin has no known cancer-promoting (carcinogenic), DNA-damaging (mutagenic) or birth defect-causing (teratogenic) effects.
Glycerin is category C substance, which means side effects were possibly observed in animal fetuses but not in human fetuses due to lack of human studies.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is glycerin vegan?
2. Is glycerin syrup appropriate for diabetics?
Currently, the effect of glycerin on blood glucose levels is not known; it may be similar to the effect of table sugar.
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Source : http://www.nutrientsreview.com/carbs/edible-glycerin.html