Polydextrose is a versatile food ingredient with a wide range of applications, valued for its unique properties and functional attributes. 

In everyday terms, polydextrose is often used in foods to provide a similar texture and feel to sugar but with fewer calories. It's a versatile ingredient found in a variety of products, especially in confectionery and baked goods. Think of it as a helpful addition that maintains moisture in your favorite treats, prevents crystallization, and helps keep them fresh for a longer time. So, when you see "polydextrose" on a food label, know that it's there to contribute to the taste and texture you love, while also offering a lower-calorie option.

While it's a synthetic compound, it shares characteristics with dietary fibers found in natural sources like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The human body lacks the enzymes necessary to break down the bonds in polydextrose. As a result, it passes through the digestive system largely intact. lthough it resists digestion in the upper digestive tract, polydextrose is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in the colon. This fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids. Polydextrose contributes to fecal bulk and may have a mild laxative effect.

Chat icon

Source and Processing

The production of polydextrose involves the condensation polymerization of its precursor molecules - dextrose, sorbitol, and citric acid. This process leads to the formation of a water-soluble polymer with a low caloric content. The extraction of polydextrose from this synthesis is followed by purification steps to ensure a high-quality product.

Main function in Confections

Polydextrose finds widespread use in confections for various reasons. It acts as a bulking agent, providing texture and mouthfeel similar to sugar without adding significant calories. Additionally, polydextrose functions as a humectant, helping to retain moisture in confectionery products. Its ability to resist browning reactions during baking further enhances its appeal in the production of baked goods.

Molecular Structure

Polydextrose is a complex carbohydrate synthesized through the polymerization of dextrose (glucose), sorbitol, and citric acid. This results in a linear polymer that contains both randomly distributed glucose and sorbitol units, along with some citric acid residues.


Hygroscopicity: Polydextrose exhibits hygroscopic properties, meaning it has the ability to absorb and retain moisture from the surrounding environment. This makes it valuable in maintaining the freshness and moisture content of confectionery products.

Crystallization: Unlike sugar, polydextrose is resistant to crystallization, contributing to the smooth texture and extended shelf life of confections. This property is particularly advantageous in the production of various sweets and baked goods.

Solubility: Polydextrose is highly soluble in water, allowing for easy incorporation into liquid formulations. This solubility makes it a versatile ingredient in the development of beverages, icing, and other liquid-based confections

Shelf Stability: The inherent stability of polydextrose contributes to the prolonged shelf life of confectionery products. Its resistance to degradation over time ensures that the sensory and textural qualities of the products are maintained for an extended period.


Polydextrose is recognized as a safe food ingredient by regulatory authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is classified as a dietary fiber, providing the added benefit of fiber content in food products. The FDA has established guidelines on its use in various food categories, emphasizing its safety and versatility.

It can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations under 21 CFR 172.841. The label and labeling of food a single serving of which would be expected to exceed 15 grams of the additive shall bear the statement: "Sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excessive consumption of this product".

Back to Top   ▲