An artificial sweetener in sugar-free candies, soft drinks and chewing gums, sorbitol has about one-third less calories than sucrose or common table sugar. Its low calorie content makes it a popular choice for dieters and diabetics. Sorbitol, or glucitol, is a sugar alcohol that also occurs naturally in fruits and berries. Yet, the amount of sorbitol varies with some fruits having a higher content than others.
Pitted Fruits Contain Sorbitol
Stone-fruits such as apricots, nectarines, cherries and peaches have a lot of sorbitol. Pears, plums and dates have the highest amount of sorbitol, which gives them a laxative effect. Sorbitol takes a long time to absorb in the intestines and it can produce gas, making you feel bloated. Diarrhea may occur if sorbitol consumption exceeds 50 grams per day, although some people are affected by smaller amounts. Consuming fruits with high levels of sorbitol can make children develop gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea or abdominal pain. Sorbitol contains less calories than sugar but some people find sorbitol less sweet so they may consume more sorbitol than sugar.
Comparison of Sorbitol Levels
Apples contain less sorbitol than pears, dates and plums. The level of sorbitol in a 100-gram serving of apples is 0.5 grams as compared to 2 grams of sorbitol in the same size serving of fresh pears and fresh plums. Peaches and apricots have similar levels of sorbitol -- 1 gram per 100 grams of fruit.
Fruits With Low to No Sorbitol
Citrus fruits, such as oranges contain no sorbitol. Drinking orange juice is an alternative to apple and pear juice, which both contain sorbitol. Pineapples contain no sorbitol and grapes have only a trace. White grape juice is a tasty sorbitol-free juice if you're concerned about sorbitol's unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects.
Dried fruits have especially high levels of sorbitol compared to fresh fruits, with dried pears and dried plums having the most. The level of sorbitol per 100 grams of dried fruit is 10 grams for pears, 8 grams for plums, 5 grams for peaches and apricots and 3 grams for apples.