Xylitol – What’s It All About?

Many people are using sweeteners other than ordinary sugar.  There are a number of sweeteners available that are not chemicals. Xylitol is one of those sweeteners.  Here is some helpful information to assist you in making an informed choice if you are looking for a sugar substitute.



What exactly is xylitol?

Xylitol is part of a group of sweeteners that are sugar alcohols (polyalcohol sugars). Because they contain calories, this group of sweeteners are considered to be ‘nutritive’ sweeteners (vs ‘non-nutritive’ sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose or aspartame).  The term sugar alcohol is somewhat misleading because they are neither sugars nor alcohols.  In reality they are carbohydrates that have a structure like sugar and alcohol. Here is a brief look at what xylitol is all about….

Where does xylitol come from? There are 2 main sources:

  1. It is naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, and even in corn cobs.
  2. Usually derived from the wood of birch trees

Here are 6 benefits of xylitol:

  1. It does not spike blood sugar, which means no insulin response in the body, safe for diabetics
  2. It can be used exactly the same way sugar is used (even in baking) because it is 100% as sweet as sugar.
  3. It breaks down into a basic substance when metabolized (not an acidic substance like sugar) therefore it neutralizes bacteria in the mouth, which makes it good for dental health due to decreased cavities.
  4. It does not have an aftertaste
  5. It has been used to reduce ear infections in preschool children
  6. It is often used in medications

There are 2 possible negative aspects to xylitol:

  1. If used in very large amounts it can cause gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea because it is not completely absorbed by the body, although most sugar alcohols have little or no side effects.
  2. It can be toxic to dogs

For anyone looking to reduce their sugar intake, kick the sugar carb craving and balance their blood sugars – xylitol is an excellent alternative. 

When considering sugar cravings – it is helpful to consider what else might be causing the cravings. Cravings are often a signal from your body that some area of your life or your nutrition is out of balance. 

Our bodies are intelligent and can tell us many things if we take the time to listen. Consider the following:

  • whether or not your body is missing some nutrients, vitamins or minerals
  • what part of your life might be craving sweetness and love
  • is the sugar craving caused by too many refined products which are not necessarily full of sugar but break down into sugar when consumed (such as potatoes, refined white breads, buns, pasta, bagels, etc).  

Are you concerned about sugar cravings?  Are you interested in eliminating them permanently from your life?  Are you ready to make positive changes in your dietary lifestyle? If the answer is YES to any of these questions – I can support you in achieving your health goals. Contact me.


Informational Resources:

Web MD – Xylitol

Wikipedia – Xylitol

Xylitol.org – About Xylitol


Copyright © 2013 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved