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Chemical structure of lactitol
IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (JSmol)
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Molar mass 344.31 g·mol−1
Melting point
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Lactitol is a sugar alcohol used as a replacement bulk sweetener for low calorie foods with approximately 40% of the sweetness of sugar. It is also used medically as a laxative. Lactitol is produced by two manufacturers, Danisco and Purac Biochem.


Lactitol is used in a variety of low food energy or low fat foods. High stability makes it popular for baking. It is used in sugar-free candies, cookies (biscuits), chocolate, and ice cream. Lactitol also promotes colon health as a prebiotic. Because of poor absorption, lactitol only has 2.4 Calories (9 kilojoules) per gram, compared to 4 Calories (17 kJ) per gram for typical carbohydrates.

Lactitol is listed as an excipient in some prescription drugs, such as Adderall.[1]

Lactitol is a laxative and is used to prevent or treat constipation, e.g. under the trade name Importal.[2]

Lactitol in combination with Ispaghula husk is an approved combination for idiopathic constipation as a laxative and is used to prevent or treat constipation.

Safety and health

Lactitol, erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, and maltitol are all sugar alcohols. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies sugar alcohols as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). They are approved as food additives, and are recognized as not contributing to tooth decay or causing increases in blood glucose. Lactitol is also approved for use in foods in most countries around the world.

Like most other sugar alcohols (with the exception of erythritol), lactitol can cause cramping, flatulence, and diarrhea in some individuals. This is because humans lack a suitable beta-galactosidase in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and a majority of ingested lactitol reaches the large intestine,[3] where it then becomes fermentable to gut microbes (prebiotic) and can pull water into the gut by osmosis. In a human study with sweetened chocolate, consumption of 5 g per day or less resulted in no GI changes, and 10 g per day caused few changes.[4] Those with other health conditions should consult their GP or dietician prior to consumption.


  1. Adderall,
  2. (the Swedish Medicines Information Engine). Revised 2003-02-12.
  3. Grimble GK, Patil DH, Silk DB (1988). "Assimilation of lactitol, an unabsorbed disaccharide in the normal human colon". Gut. 29 (12): 1666–1671. doi:10.1136/gut.29.12.1666. PMC 1434111. PMID 3220306.
  4. Finney, Michelle; Smullen, Joanne; Foster, Howard A.; Brokx, Saskia; Storey, David M. (2007). "Effects of low doses of lactitol on faecal microflora, pH, short chain fatty acids and gastrointestinal symptomology". European Journal of Nutrition. 46 (6): 307–14. doi:10.1007/s00394-007-0666-7. PMID 17623227.

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