Hydrogenated starch hydrosylate (HSH) is a mixture of several sugar alcohols (a type of sugar substitute). The HSH family of polyols is an approved food ingredient in Canada, Japan, and Australia. HSH sweeteners provide 40 to 90 percent of the sweetness of sugar.
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates are produced by the partial hydrolysis of starch – most often corn starch but also potato starch or wheat starch. This creates dextrins (glucose and short glucose chains). The hydrolyzed starch (dextrin) then undergoes hydrogenation to convert the dextrins to sugar alcohols.
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate is similar to sorbitol: if the starch is completely hydrolyzed so that there are only single glucose molecules, then after hydrogenation the result is sorbitol. Because in HSH the starch is not completely hydrolyzed, a mixture of sorbitol, maltitol, and longer chain hydrogenated saccharides (such as maltotriitol) is produced. When there is no single dominant polyol in the mix, the generic name hydrogenated starch hydrosylate is used. However, if 50% or more of the polyols in the mixture are of one type, it can be labeled as "sorbitol syrup", or "maltitol syrup", etc.
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate is used commercially in the same way as other common sugar alcohols. It is often used in as both a sweetener and as a humectant (moisture retaining ingredient). As a crystallization modifier, it can prevent syrups from forming crystals of sugar. It is used to add bulk, body, texture, and viscosity to mixtures, and can protect against damage from freezing and drying. HSH products are generally blended with other sweeteners, both caloric and artificial.