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Xylitol, A Healthy Alternative to Sugar

Xylitol, A Healthy Alternative to Sugar | Mr Vitamins
Xylitol is a natural alcohol that is found in the fibre of plants, fruits and vegetables. Most commercial Xylitol is made from birch or cornhusk fibre. This sugar alcohol both looks and tastes the same as refined white sugar. It is easy to use and safe for most people if used in moderation. Xylitol was discovered in the late 1890’s and was actively studied the 1960’s and 1970’s. Since then it has been used as a sugar substitute in foods and medicinally. There is no known toxicity from using Xylitol in humans.

Health benefits of Xylitol

  • Xylitol is considered safe for diabetics. Xylitol is not metabolised in the same way as other types of sugar and it does not affect insulin levels or increase blood sugar levels. This is helpful for diabetics and others who suffer with metabolic syndrome. This sugar substitute is considered safe when used as directed and in moderation.
  • Xylitol has a low glycemic index. This natural sugar has a very low glycemic index level of 7. Refined white table sugar has a glycemic index of 60, just for comparison. A lower glycemic index level means that the body takes longer to break down the sugar and will keep blood sugar levels even. These factors are helpful to those who are trying to loose weight as well as those who are diabetic. Xylitol has 40% less calories that refined white sugar and no unpleasant after taste.
  • Promotes healthy teeth and gums. Can a sugar prevent cavities? Yes, this one does exactly that. Xylitol does not break down in the mouth like other sugars do. This action reduces the amount of bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay.
  • Xylitol is considered safe for children to use. This sugar is a great choice for children who are either diabetic or have refined sugar allergies. Kids who are prone to cavities can benefit from chewing Xylitol gum.

How to use Xylitol as a sugar substitute.

Xylitol is used in the same manner as refined white sugar in a 1:1 ratio. Xylitol is not heat sensitive so it can be used in baking or other forms of heat based cooking. This sugar alternative is a great choice for beverages, cereals and desserts. Xylitol will not react with yeast to help bread rise. Also Xylitol does not crystallize in the same manner that common sugar does meaning it will not caramelise or get crunchy. ‘Ask a Naturopath’ if Xylitol is the right sugar alternative for you. Xylitol may cause diarrhea, flatulence or intestinal discomfort in some people.

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