Glycerin is a source of lecithin and tocopherols, compounds with vitamin E activity. Glycerin is used as a fat emulsifier in foods, according to the Journey to Forever website. A versatile substance, glycerin is used as an ingredient in a variety of products in addition to food, ranging from skin lotions to textiles and plastics. Glycerin is used as a preservative, sweetener, thickener or humectant in many manufactured or processed food products, and is safe to consume.
Glycerin is used as a sweetener in food products because it adds a sugary flavor, but contains no sugar, according to Journey to Forever. If you cannot eat sugar, glycerin may be a good alternative for you, but it is not a calorie-free sweetener.
According to the World Health Organization, glycerin is a food additive in flavored dairy drinks like chocolate milk, yogurt drinks, cocoa and eggnog. Glycerin is used to make flavored water beverages, like sports drinks. It is even used in alcoholic beverages like beer, wine and distilled spirits.
Dairy products like condensed milk, clotted cream, milk powder, cheeses, puddings, yogurts and dairy spreads contain glycerin, according to the WHO.
According to Kansas State University, glycerin is used as a humectant to retain moisture in marshmallows. Glycerin gives marshmallows their soft, gooey texture.
Soft candies contain glycerin to keep them moist, according to Kansas State University. Candy bars, taffy and gum contain glycerin. Candies that are labeled sugar-free may actually contain glycerin, because it adds the sweetness needed for the candy.
The WHO states that glycerin is found in a variety of condiments, like mustard and vinegar. Glycerin is also found in mixed spices and seasonings.
Many processed foods contain glycerin, including rice cakes; processed meats, poultry and game products; processed cheese; and dried fruit contain glycerin. Other processed foods like cereals, pastas, batters and starch based desserts also contain glycerin.
Glycerin can be found in soups and broths; soybean-based products; fat-based desserts; dried vegetables like mushrooms and seaweed; bakery products; sausage casings; yeast and yeast products; sauces; and dietetic foods, according to the WHO.