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Glycerin sources, health risks

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 by

The glycerin backbone is found in all lipids known as triglycerides and on its own is a sweet substance that is the byproduct of soap manufacturing (adding an alkali to fat). It serves as a bulking agent when used in combination with gums or gelatins, a humectant (a substance that retains or preserves moisture) in candies, a “plasticizer” for some coatings on some cheese and meats, a replacement sweetener, and a solvent for colors and flavors.

Glycerin is also used as a humectant in tobacco. It can also be utilized to make cannabis candies and baked goods. Because of its calorie content, glycerin is technically a carbohydrate (not a fat or a protein). It is a member of a special category of carbohydrates called polyols, which is also comprised of sugar alcohols like erythritol and sorbitol. When it is combined with a strong oxidizing agent, it has the possibility of exploding.

Glycerin is commonly found in foods such as jelly candies, cheese, baked goods, beverages, chewing gum, marshmallows, margarine, meat products, and shortening. When used to make candy, it is usually added to fondant to keep it soft and supple, prevent it from cracking, and lengthen its shelf life.

Since glycerin has moisture-attracting properties, it is usually added to lotions – the lotions are then imbued with properties that can help keep your skin soft and moist, much in the same way that glycerin-infused foods remain soft and moist. It is widely used in the food industry as a food preservative.

Harmful effects that can be caused by glycerin

Glycerin can increase blood sugar levels. It has slightly more calories than sugar – and it’s only about 60 percent as sweet. Products that use glycerin tend to add more of the substance, leading to an increase in calorie content.

Body systems harmed by glycerin

Glycerin is bad for the digestive system. It can induce loose stools or diarrhea.

Where to learn more


Glycerin is used as a humectant in tobacco.

Glycerin is widely used in the food industry as a food preservative.

Glycerin can increase blood sugar levels.

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