pages are created to provide medically accurate information that is
to complement, not replace or substitute in any way the services of
physician. Any application of the recommendations set forth in the
pages is at the reader's discretion and sole risk. Before undergoing
treatment, you should consult with your doctor, who can best assess
individual needs, symptoms and treatment.
What You Should Know About Xylitol
a five-carbon sugar alcohol, obtained commercially from wood sugar
(xylose) that is used as a sugar substitute. Xylitol is also naturally
occurring sweetener found in the fibers of many
fruits and vegetables, including various berries, corn husks, oats,
mushrooms, and it can be extracted from corn fibre, birch, raspberries,
plums, and corn. Xylitol is roughly as sweet as sucrose but with only
two-thirds the food energy, and it is commonly used as a sugar
substitute in pharmaceutical products and many foods, especially
chewing gum, because its use prevents tooth decay. Xylitol tastes, looks, and feels like sugar, has virtually no aftertaste, and it
is available in many forms. If you use xylitol in
crystalline form, it can successfully replace sugar in cooking, baking
or as a
sweetener for beverages.
One teaspoon of xylitol contains 9.6
as compared to one teaspoon of sugar, which has 15 calories. It
contains zero net effective carbohydrates, whereas sugar contains 4
grams per teaspoon. Xylitol has virtually no aftertaste, and is
advertised as "safe for diabetics and
individuals with hyperglycemia". This is because
sugar-alcohols are absorbed more slowly and have less impact on a
person's blood sugar than regular sugars.
Xylitol is not a drug, has no known toxic levels and it was approved by
the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1963. The only known
discomfort that some sensitive people may
notice initially is mild diarrhea or slight
cramping, and that usually occurs when its
taken in large amounts.
Since xylitol is a natural substance and our
body makes about 10
grams every day, as well as the enzymes needed
break it down, any discomfort usually disappears within a few days as
the body's enzymatic activity adjusts to a higher intake.
Xylitol is a low-calorie
alternative to table sugar that heals and repairs, builds immunity,
protects against chronic degenerative disease
and has anti-ageing benefits. Xylitol is considered a five-carbon
sugar, which means it is an antimicrobial, preventing the growth of
bacteria. While sugar is acid forming, xylitol is alkaline enhancing.
All other forms of sugar, including sorbitol, another popular
alternative sweetener, are six-carbon sugars which feed dangerous
bacteria and fungi.
Xylitol has other medical uses. It also
appears to have potential as a treatment for osteoporosis. A group of
Finnish researchers has found that dietary xylitol prevents weakening
of bones in laboratory rats, and actually improves bone density.
studies have shown that xylitol chewing gum can help prevent ear
infections; the act of chewing and swallowing assists with the disposal
of earwax and clearing the middle ear, whilst the presence of xylitol
prevents the growth of bacteria in the eustachian
tubes which connect the nose and ear. When bacteria enter the body
they hold on to the tissues by hanging on
to a variety of sugar complexes. The open nature of xylitol and its
ability to form many different sugar-like structures appears to
interfere with the ability of many bacteria to adhere.
Xylitol is not only safe for
pregnant and nursing women, but studies
show that regular use significantly reduces the probability of
transmitting the Mutans Streptococci bacteria from mother to child
during the first two years of life by as much as 80%