Polyols in pet food: Is there new potential for their use?

Polyols are sugar alcohols commonly found in semi-moist pet foods. Some of these low-calorie carbohydrates might find a new use if they provide some benefit and are safe.

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Erythritol Chemical Formula
There may be additional opportunities for different polyols as pet food ingredients. | Drypsiak I iStock.com

In the process of producing modern pet foods, we often use additives that take advantage of our knowledge and experience in food chemistry. This includes such things as natural and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Another class of food chemicals are polyols (sugar alcohols). These special carbohydrates have a variety of functions that range from being moderately sweet, providing bulk, modifying texture and binding moisture to help manage water activity, to controlling the extent of Maillard (browning) reaction in foods, for starters. They are also non-cariogenic and have a lower caloric value than sucrose.

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