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E421 is a food additive approved by the EU (European Union). It is used as a natural sweetener in food and drink products.

The common name for E421 is mannitol. It is also called "manna sugar".

E421 is a natural carbohydrate alcohol obtained from many plants (e.g. seaweed, conifer or the manna ash tree). It may also be produced synthetically from the hydrogenation of glucose. Mannitol is obtained from the reduction of the sugar, mannose.

Most E421 is absorbed and metabolised as glucose in the body, while the remainder undergoes fermentation in the large intestine.

Examples of food or drink products that sometimes include E421:

  • sugar-free products
  • low-calorie foods
  • sweets
  • ice cream

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