Is Xylitol a Healthy Sweetener?

Sweeteners were something I included in many of my previous fad diets. I thought that any substitute that tasted like sugar was healthier for me. I would always choose the “diet” options, which frequently contain sweeteners such as aspartame1 or sugars in disguise such as high-fructose corn syrup. So what makes the sweetener xylitol different?

albumtemp-17Xylitol is a sugar alcohol. It tastes sweeter than table sugar but contains 50% fewer calories and  insignificantly impacts blood sugar, making it a safer option for diabetics2 3.

It has also been shown that xylitol decreases the chance of developing dental cavities by reducing bacteria and plaque levels in the mouth4.

Does it have any negative effects?

  • If you consume a large amount before your body is used to digesting it, it might be worth staying near a loo for a while…
  • It is toxic to dogs and some other pets. I have a dog and so whenever I use it I take extra-care.

Using xylitol

  • Baking

I am not a frequent baker because, in my opinion, although you can have a healthier treat, it is still a treat. As I am still addressing some health problems and excess body fat, I find limiting these treats far more productive. That being said, around festive periods I like to bake some healthier options for when those around me are indulging in sugary sweets. Try my Paleo Pumpkin & Orange Loaf.

  • Toothpaste

Find my Homemade Toothpaste Recipe here. Xylitol adds a sweet taste without the negative side effects so often associated with sweeteners used in regular or even “healthy” toothpastes.

Top tip: Xylitol can be derived from GMO corn and even GMO-free corn xylitol carries a risk of cross-contamination. Avoid this by buying xylitol made exclusively from hardwood birch trees.

 

G.

 

 

 

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