The Xylitol Debate

When I originally wanted to write a blog post about Xylitol as a good replacement for sugar, I knew some basic qualities and knew it to be a “natural” sweetener.

After doing research, I learned there is more to be learned and inclusive found lots of articles on both sides of a debate. Some say its great replacement others quite the opposite. Honestly, I didn’t know there was a debate!

Xylitol came on to my radar when my mother’s cancer doctor introduced it to us as a sugar replacement in her diet. Cancer thrives in a sugar heavy diet (our pH level becomes more acidic) and promotes growth.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol produced by fruits, vegetables, corn and birch wood.  When used commercially it usually comes from corn or birch wood.

Benefits of Xylitol

  • It has 40% fewer calories than sugar and 75% fewer carbohydrates
  • Low on the glycemic index
  • It tastes like sugar, no after taste
  • Can replace sugar in recipes at a 1:1 ratio
  • Has anti-cavity properties (quite the opposite of sugar!!)
  • Tooth decay prevention
  • Increases calcium absorption when in the mouth
  • Also has anti-bacteria properties; including ear infections typically suffered by children and helps fight the yeast Candida albicans

Despite all these great benefits, there is some concern on how harmful it can be for human consumption over a long period of time.

Some side effects that have been reported are:

  • Laxative effect; gas, bloating and diarrhea
  • Deathly for your pet dogs
  • If you have IBS or sensitivity to FODMAPs should avoid Xylitol
  • Xylitol needs to be “processed” so it can be used. Xylitol is created by hydrogenating the xylose. Hydrogenated foods can cause some heavy duty diseases like Alzheimer’s, Cancer, diabetes, obesity and liver dysfunction among others.
  • No long term studies available to see what the effects of long constant use of Xylitol

I didn’t know about these side effects, honestly I didn’t experience any. I’ve been using Xylitol for at least the last 3 years lightly and now exclusively using it and natural honey (as my other sweetener).

What sugar alternatives do you use?

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