Food

Xylitol: sugar alcohol that is safe for alcoholics

What is it exactly?

White, crystalline powder, Xylitol is a substance that is categorised as a sugar alcohol. Do not get too excited, this really has nothing to do with the alcohol people get drunk from.

Xylitol is an all-natural alternative to sugar. It is found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables. It’s also produced in our body naturally. It has been traditionally used in sugar-free chewing gums, candies, mints, diabetes friendly foods and oral care products.

Benefits?

Weight loss friendly sweetener – Xylitol has a similar sweetness as regular sugar, but contains 40% fewer calories.

Xylitol has a very low glycemic index and doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin, which is why, it is excellent sugar alternative for people with diabetes, obesity or other metabolic problems.

Xylitol can starve the harmful bacteria in the mouth, reducing plaque build-up and tooth decay. This can help prevent dental caries and inflammatory gum diseases.

Xylitol can be used in place of sugar in any recipe that doesn’t require the sugar to break down into liquid form. This weekend I am going to test it in my carrot or banana cake – haven’t decided which one yet.

Drawbacks?

Xylitol can be highly toxic to dogs, leading to hypoglycemia (blood sugar decreases to below normal levels) or liver failure. So do not give it to your dogs!

Xylitol is generally well tolerated, but some people do get digestive side effects when they consume too much, such as: gas, bloating and diarrhoea. My advice is to intake it slowly and give your body time to adjust, then chances are that you won’t experience any negative effects.

Xylitol can be processed from trees like birch, but it can also be made with an industrial process that transforms a plant fiber called xylan into xylitol. My advice is to read labels. Do not buy Xylitol imported from China. It is usually produced from the corn. Only in Finland some manufacturers still use birch for its production.

Buy it or not?

Xylitol is available in health food shops, most large supermarkets and online; however it is more expensive than normal sugar. You can get it for example from Holland and Barrett for £2.89 (225g) or  1 kg pack for £10.99. I bought my Xylitol Sante in polish shop 250g for £3.59, but I wanted to make sure that I have high quality product made from Finnish birch. On Sunday, I am going to bake cake using this sugar alternative. Please join me for healthy cake tasting.

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Related posts:

My 15 tips to cut down on sugar

Breaking News: The Devil Sugar – the most sneaky killer of our time

6 thoughts on “Xylitol: sugar alcohol that is safe for alcoholics

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