Tag Archives: natural sugar alternative

Xylitol – What Is It and Why Do I Use It??

Xylitol is an alternative sweetener used to replace sugar.  It has roughly 40% less calories and is almost as sweet as regular sugar.  It is all natural and safe for diabetics and measures 7 on the glycemic index while glucose measures at 100.

Health Garden Birch Xylitol 5

Xylitol is used in homemade and natural toothpastes along with Bentonite Clay to help re-mineralize your tooth enamel.  It also actively fights plaque by neutralizing plaque acids.  Also, it lowers the occurrence of cavities because it does not have any 6-carbon sugars which is needed to help bacterial growth and reproduction of cavity causing bacteria.

Health-Garden-Birch-Xylitol-Nutritionals

Also studies have shown that it has been used to help reduce incidence of acute middle ear infections in normally healthy children.  Not really sure how that was found to be but thought it was an interesting point.

Two things to be aware of are it also has a laxative effect if too much is consumed because Xylitol’s sugar alcohols are not fully broken down during digestion which can cause diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence.  This typically takes several weeks to months to materialize and occur with normal digestion.   And also xylitol can be very toxic to dogs, so keep out of reach of your animals.

Also keep in mind that while it is a good alternative for sugar, when baking, do not combine it with any recipes that call for yeast.  The xylitol and yeast do not like each other chemically and will cause your yeast to die.  So good for cookies and cakes, not good for breads and rolls.

So, now what’s the big debate on where xylitol comes from??

Xylitol is extracted from hardwoods, mainly birch but can come from some beach trees.  But it is also commonly made from corncobs.  Xylitol does have a stigma for being expensive, which it is, but the corncob xylitol is made cheaply from corncobs typically by companies overseas, namely China.

I’m not knocking on anything Chinese made, they made lots of good products, but they also make lots of cheap knockoffs.  So when you look at corncob xylitol there is a good chance it’s not organic and is probably genetically modified.  I for one am not a big fan of GMOs so I try to stay away from them, but that’s another debate in itself and I’m not going there today.  Also cheap knockoffs can be cut with sorbitol which is a sugar alternative as well, but it contains all the same sugar related characteristics, which is the main reason I use xylitol in the first place.

So in conclusion, I use only birch xylitol.  I want my package to say All-Natural or GMO free.  It needs to say “Made from Birch” or something of that nature on the package.   And it needs to be 100% sugar free, so you know there are no additives .  When you receive the package, your xylitol should be in granules larger than normal sugar and it should not have any traces of powder.   That would indicate an additive.

I buy the brand Health Garden brand off of Amazon Prime in the five pound bag for the best price.  There will be a link below as well as a link on my blog page that bring you to the brand I buy and recommend.  It costs $36.49 for five pounds with Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping.  This is the best price I have found by far for Bitch Xylitol.  Make sure you carefully check out the package and ad page for the product if you buy something else.

If you found it cheaper than I did from somewhere, please let me know in the comments below.

I hope you learned  something and check out my link for Homemade toothpaste that contains xylitol.