Maltitol is a polyol made by hydrogenation of the disaccharide maltose.
Maltitol has a clean sweet taste with minimal cooling effect in the mouth. It is about 70% as sweet as sucrose on a weight basis.
Maltitol is only partially absorbed by the body, and it is only partly metabolized. Its caloric value depends on several factors, as discussed in my essay "Polyols and Calories." In the USA, maltitol provides 2.1 calories per gram for labeling purposes. In the European Union, it is listed at 2.4 calories per gram.
Maltitol is not very hygroscopic, so it performs well in chocolate and other low-moisture foods. Like the other polyols, maltitol does not participate in browning reactions.
Maltitol has GRAS status in the USA. It is approved for use in the European Union (EU),. The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has determined the "Laxative Threshold Value" (LTV) for a number of polyols, and maltitol is one of the less laxative polyols with an LTV of 60 grams per meal.
Maltitol is produced from starch.