Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol that the body metabolises slowly. It is obtained by reduction of glucose changing the aldehyde group to an additional hydroxyl group hence the name sugar alcohol.
Sorbitol is used in "sugar-free" mints and various cough syrups and is usually listed under the inactive ingredients.
Sorbitol is a sugar substitute often used in diet foods (including diet drinks and ice cream) and sugar-free chewing gum. It also occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus Sorbus. Sorbitol is also referred to as a nutritive sweetener because it provides dietary energy: 2.6 kilocalories (11 kilojoules) per gram versus the average 4 kilocalories (17 kilojoules).
Sorbitol can be used as a non-stimulant laxative as either an oral suspension or suppository. The drug works by drawing water into the large intestine, thereby stimulating bowel movements.  Sorbitol has been determined safe to use in the elderly although it is by no means recommended.
Sorbitol is used in bacterial culture media to distinguish Escherichia_coli_O157_H7 from most other strains of E Coli.
In some human enzymes deficiencies, sorbitol excess arises and can cause damage to the body, although in individuals without certain genetic mutations, it is normal part in the chain of carbohydrate metabolism. An example of such a disease is galactosaemia. In diabetes mellitus, the enzyme is not present in sufficient quantities in some tissue, such as the lens of the eye. Consequently, sorbitol can build up causing cataracts.
Sorbitol is often used in modern cosmetics as a humectant and thickener. Some transparent gels can only be made with sorbitol as it has a refractive index sufficiently high for transparent formulations. It is also used as a humectant in some cigarettes.
Sorbitol is used as a cryoprotectant additive (mixed with sucrose and sodium polyphosphates) in the manufacture of surimi, a highly refined, uncooked fish paste most commonly produced from Alaska (or walleye) pollock (Theragra chalcogramma). 
Sorbitol, combined with kayexalate, helps the body rid itself of excess potassium ions in a hyperkalaemic state. The kayexalate exchanges sodium ions for potassium ions in the bowel, while sorbitol helps to eliminate it
Sorbitol when combined with potassium nitrate has found some success as an amateur solid rocket fuel.
Sorbitol is often used in mouthwash, as it is said that when mixed with other certain ingredients it can help fight plaque.