White, odorless, sweet-tasting powder.
Mannitol is a sugar alcohol. It has half the calories of sugar, and is half as sweet. It is poorly absorbed by the body, so it does not raise insulin levels as much as sugar. It does not promote tooth decay.
Mannitol and sorbitol are isomers, substances with the same chemical formula, but a different shape.
Mannitol is used as the dust that coats chewing gum, where it keeps the gum from absorbing moisture and getting sticky. This is due to its humectant (moisture trapping) properties, and very low hydroscopicity (does not attract moisture from the air).