Xylitol is a sweetener found in many fruits and vegetables and is even produced by the human body during normal carbohydrate metabolism . Xylitol is typically manufactured from birch trees or other natural xylan-rich sources.
Xylitol is a low-glycaemic sweetener and is metabolized independently of insulin. Xylitol does not cause the sharp increase in blood sugar levels or the associated serum insulin response, which is usually seen following consumption of other carbohydrates. Thus, Xylitol can be recommended as a sugar-free sweetener suitable for diabetics as well as for the general population seeking a healthier lifestyle.
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Xylitol Side Effects
The reason sugar alcohols like xylitol are not recommended for human consumption is because of the twofold metabolic xylitol side effects that burden the body and lead to weight gain:
1. First, because the body cannot digest them properly, the non-metabolized portion ferments and creates a favorable environment for harmful bacteria to colonize. Exacerbating yeast problems, many people will also experience constipation, gas/bloating and diarrhea. (7)
2. Second, as with all toxins, because the body cannot digest them sufficiently, precious metabolic resources are wasted in an attempt to clear it out of your digestive system and can thus cause unwanted weight gain.
According to one report, the key to the xylitol side effects is in its dosage. Xylitol side effects when exceeding 40–50 grams per day include: (8)
• borborygmi (rumbling sounds of gas moving through the intestine)
• increased bowel movements
Next to minor GI complaints, weight gain is the most heavily researched side effect to consuming xylitol and other artificial sweeteners. In addition to the metabolic burden they place on the body, there is a psychosocial aspect that cannot be ignored. According to Harvard Medical School experts, “Research raises concern that they may do just the opposite and actually promote weight gain. How so? [Alternative] sweeteners are extremely sweet — hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than table sugar.” (9)
What happens is people who consume sweeteners habitually become desensitized to sweetness so much so that unsweetened, healthy foods become unappetizing. This can lead to a less healthy diet, avoiding foods that provide satiety and instead filling up on empty, unhealthy calories from sweetened products. The experts go on:
In addition, some research has identified sweetness receptors in fat tissue. We don’t know for sure, but that raises the possibility that [alternative] sweeteners could cause weight gain by directly stimulating the development of new fat cells.
There’s also some epidemiologic evidence of a correlation between [alternative] sweetener consumption and obesity, but it should be interpreted cautiously. People might consume [alternative] sweeteners because they’ve gained weight, not the other way around.
One of the beneficial xylitol side effects seems to be its ability to improve oral health. This appears to be widely held by most health care professionals. In fact, the dental community is one of its biggest supports because of xylitol’s reported ability to prevent cavities.
For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Dental Education, “The replacement of sucrose with sorbitol and xylitol may significantly decrease the incidence of dental caries.” (10)
A 2009 article published in the European Journal of Dentistry provides some details as to why: (11)
Xylitol has beneficial effects on the oral flora not shared by other polyols. The evidence so far supports specific xylitol-effects on oral bacteria, but not on saliva. Xylitol cannot be metabolized by plaque bacteria, contrary to sorbitol and other 6-carbon polyols, and may thus favor mineralization.
Interesting, there are conflicting reports, and we cannot jump to the conclusion that xylitol is completely effective at keeping cavities at bay. In the words of a frequently cited review in the journal Caries Research, “There is no evidence for a caries-therapeutic effect of xylitol,” which makes us wonder what side of the coin to believe. (12)
In my opinion, xylitol is relatively safe as a toothpaste or chewing gum sweetener, but it’s not recommended in large amounts for foods.
Xylitol vs. Stevia + Xylitol Alternatives
While the message is a little cloudy about the xylitol side effects, of the 345+ scientific papers referencing stevia, one message is clear: It is safe and effective. (13) As stated in the most recent critical evaluation, stevia “has a low glycemic index and, in the doses tested, is not cytotoxic nor has acute or chronic effect on blood sugar, which makes it a safe sweetener.” (14)
However, in spite of being a natural herb, not all stevia products on the shelves are created equal. In fact, in some of the more inferior brands, what they advertise as stevia isn’t even 100 percent stevia. It is cut with xylitol and disease-causing fillers like dextrose and sugar.
Most people do well with stevia, but listen to your body because stevia is an herb and everyone’s body may react differently to it. If you can’t get over its savory (almost tangy) flavor, however, some other natural sweeteners you may want to try are:
1. Raw local honey (my personal favorite!)
3. Coconut nectar/sugar
4. Grade B or C maple syrup
A good of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, include the herb stevia as a wonder alternative to sugar. It can easily be used in all of your deserts and drinks. It tastes great, has zero calories and is as natural as it gets.
30/06/2018, By RonThere's more value for money in tubs of this product - just use a spoon...25/06/2018, By AnnelienRecommend - If you have to use sweetener in a sachet I would choose
this one.it has a doesn't have such a aftertaste as Stevia has11/05/2018, By DeoniI have been using Xylitol for a few years now, and felt very much spoiled to purchase this product in the convenient 5g sachet which enables me to now have my favourite sweetener with me at all times and everywhere I go.02/05/2018, By JGreat when you want to take out small amounts.27/04/2018, By AngelaGreat sweetener22/03/2018, By Healthy Girlvery cheap and tasty
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