1. Binder / Stabilizer – Retains the physical characteristics of food/cosmetics and ensure the mixture remains in an even state
2. Bulking Agent – Non-nutritious or inactive substances added to increase stability of the mixture
3. Emulsifier – Allows water and oils to remain mixed together to form an emulsion, such as in mayonnaise, ice cream, and homogenized milk
4. Gelling Agent / Thickener – Increases the viscosity by thickening the liquid to give it more texture
5. Humectant – Binds with water to increase skin hydration. Also enhances water absorption of the skin
6. Sweetener – Sugar substitutes which provides a sweet taste without raising blood sugar levels
Sorbitol is a sugar substitute, it is often used in diet foods (including diet drinks and ice cream), mints, cough syrups, and sugar-free chewing gum. Most sorbitol is made from corn syrup, but it is also found in nature, for example in apples, pears, peaches, and prunes. It has a E number 420.
Sorbitol often is used in modern cosmetics as a humectant and thickener. It is also used in mouthwash, toothpaste and in some cigarettes.
Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol found in fruits and plants with diuretic, laxative and cathartic property. Unabsorbed sorbitol retains water in the large intestine through osmotic pressure thereby stimulating peristalsis of the intestine and exerting its diuretic, laxative and cathartic effect. In addition, sorbitol has one-third fewer calories and 60 % the sweetening activity of sucrose and is used as a sugar replacement in diabetes.
It is approved to use as food additive in EU and generally recognized as safe food substance in US.
Scientific References :
1. PubChem: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5780
Regulatory References :
1. EU Approved Food Additive 
2. US FDA Food Additives Status List 
3. US FDA Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) Food Substances