A sugar alcohol (also known as a polyol, polyhydric alcohol, polyalcohol, or glycitol) is a hydrogenated form of carbohydrate, whose carbonyl group (aldehyde or ketone, reducing sugar) has been reduced to a primary or secondary hydroxyl group (hence the alcohol). Sugar alcohols have the general formula H(HCHO)n+1H, whereas sugars have H(HCHO)nHCO. In commercial foodstuffs sugar alcohols are commonly used in place of table sugar (sucrose), often in combination with high intensity artificial sweeteners to counter the low sweetness. Of these, xylitol is perhaps the most popular due to its similarity to sucrose in visual appearance and sweetness. Sugar alcohols do not contribute to tooth decay. However, consumption of sugar alcohols does affect blood sugar levels.
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