You or your loved ones may have gone for the normal health checkup and to your surprise, the doctor announces you a diabetic, saying, “The tests show that your blood sugar is high”. The first thing that goes through your mind is that, from there henceforth the normal table sugar which has not only been part of your diet but your lover for so many years is a no go zone. Whatever the doctor says thereafter hits a deaf ear because your mind is immersed on the thought of, “How can I take my beverages without sugar? I mean, how can I do without sugar all day?”
Yes, sugar is sweet and is part of the reason why you have the extra weight you so much admire that makes you look physically healthy and financially stable, so to speak. Now before your adrenaline rises and causes your blood pressure to go high, let me introduce you to the answer to your many questions, xylitol.
Xylitol which is categorized as sugar alcohol or polyalcohol serves just like added sugar. It is a sweetener which has no calories and does not raise blood sugar. Xylitol is made of sugar molecule and alcohol molecule. Unlike added sugar which is harmful to dental health, xylitol reduces caries or cavities when used regularly. For demineralized enamel xylitol induces remineralization. One of the main reason for tooth decay is an oral bacteria found in the mouth. This bacterial feeds on glucose found in the food we eat. It does not feed on xylitol.
When someone feed on xylitol, these bacteria starve to death because they cannot feed on xylitol leaving healthy teeth and enamel. Those which feed on the xylitol lack the energy they have been getting from glucose and therefore they die. It is therefore important that one eats the products rich in xylitol like diet chewing gum daily and replaces table sugar with sugar alcohol or xylitol.
Xylitol is also known to reduce the acidity of saliva which is the main cause of tooth enamel degradation. It is also said to increase saliva production in the mouth. Saliva has calcium which is important to the growth and strengthening of teeth. Xylitol reduces cavity and also tooth decay.
The harmful bacteria which are found in the mouth can cause infection to either the nose or the ear because nose, ear and mouth are interconnected. These bacteria found in the mouth are known to cause ear infection in children leading to deafness to either one ear or both ears. In that sense then it is correct to say that xylitol reduces ear and nose infection which is usually brought about by the bacteria in the mouth.
Xylitol is very good food for the useful bacteria found in the gut. After feeding on xylitol these good bacteria are said to increase thus strengthening the immune system. Xylitol increases the production of collagen in the body. Collagen is a protein found in the skin and also in connective tissues and helps to reduce aging by fighting the negative effect on the skin brought about by aging.
Xylitol is extracted in small amounts in many fruits. It is also found and extracted from vegetables and fibers. It can also be extracted from mushrooms, oats and berries. It can also be extracted from corn husks and sugarcane bagasse. Large amount of xylitol is found in xylan or a hemicellulose found in corncobs and hardwoods. This xylan is hydrolyzed to form xylose, xylose is hydrogenated to xylitol. Xylitol has less calories as compared to table sugar. It has no aftertaste and it is ideal for diabetic and people suffering from hyperglycemia. Xylitol does not contain any vitamins, protein or minerals. This is why it is considered to be calories free.
Xylitol has no fructose and therefore has no effect on blood sugar and insulin. Added sugar has high amount of fructose and that is why it leads to insulin resistance and raises blood sugar when consumed in large amount for a long time. Glycemic index which measures how fast foods raise blood sugar in the body indicate that xylitol is only 7 while added sugar has an index of 60 to 70. Xylitol has fewer or no calories and therefore is ideal for the obese and the people with metabolic problem.
By now you must be wondering where to find this xylitol product and what they are. These could be products you have come across but gave little attention to because you did not have this information.
The list of the xylitol products cannot be exhausted. We are going to mention just a few of the most common xylitol products.
Spry Original Tooth Gel- Xlear Inc. This gel in mostly used to apply on infants and toddlers teeth and gum. It can also be used by any other person regardless of age
Xylosweet. It is used as a sweetener. It comes in different sizes and the price depends on the size.
Lite & Sweet-Xlear Inc. This is a natural sweetener used in recipes which are sugar-free.
Spry Bubblegum Tooth Gel. It is very rich in xylitol and it is fluoride-free. Most people apply to kids teeth and gum, but can be used by all people regardless of age.
Spry Fluoride Cinnamon Toothpaste. This toothpaste is rich in xylitol and also fluoride.
Spry Mints – Xlear Inc. This is xylitol sweetened mints which is found in 5 flavors.
Spry chewing Gum – Xlear Inc. This is a xylitol sweetened gum which comes in 5 flavors.
Spry Moisturizing Mouth Spray. This spray is meant for those people with dry mouth and it is 100% natural xylitol oral mist.
Kids Nasal Spray – Xlear Inc. Although this Nasal Spray was made with children in mind it can be used by anyone. It is drug-free and contains xylitol for cleansing and moisturizing.
Solution Packets – Xlear Inc. This solution Packet is made of xylitol and is used to clean the nose. Cleaning the nose reduces sickness and infection in the upper airway and the sinuses.
Xylitol Dark Chocolate. It is nourishing dark chocolate which is xylitol sweetened made in the US.
Xylitol Lollipops. They are table sugar free and are primarily sweetened with polyglycitol. Xylitol is used here as a secondary sweetener.
Xylitol Caramels. Their primary sweetener is polyglycitol which is a blend of sugar alcohol. Xylitol is their secondary sweetener.
Xylitol Sweetener. This is purely made of xylitol. It is a sweetener.
Xyla Gum. This is 100% xylitol sweetened. It also contains citric acid which also raises and neutralizes pH levels just like xylitol.
The list is endless when it comes to xylitol. All these products are found in almost all supermarkets and shops around you. Next time you visit one, make sure to check the labels and specifications. You will find the above and much more.
Xylitol side effects
Excessive consumption of anything is harmful to one’s health. Xylitol has no side effect if taken in small amounts. According to the manufacturer, children should take 3.3 grams, three times a day. This dose is slightly increased for adults. However those who take like 30 – 40 grams in a day may experience diarrhea, bloating and excess gas in their stomach.
Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, so avoid giving even a small dose to them or products known to contain xylitol.
The body does not digest xylitol properly and the portion which is not digested is easily colonized by harmful bacteria. These bacteria cause constipation, diarrhea and at times gas.
Xylitol undergoes extreme heating during its production. Processed food is said to be the main cause of many diseases including cancer. It is important to read direction of use in the label before consuming and if in doubts consult a doctor.
Erythritol vs Xylitol
Erythritol has a unique chemical structure and as a result the whole of it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Even if it is absorbed in the bloodstream it goes through the system without causing any excess sugar. This means that a diabetic will consume it and have no negative health effect but will enjoy the sweetness. Only a small amount of xylitol is absorbed the rest goes down into the intestine. If it is consumed in large amount it raises the amount of blood in the sugar. The portion that is not absorbed goes to the intestine and may start to ferment causing water in the tract which causes diarrhea, bloating and excess gas.
A big percentage of Xylitol travels to the intestine where it becomes food to the good bacteria. A small amount is absorbed into the bloodstream. With erythritol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The enzymes which can digest erythritol is not present in human beings therefore erythritol travels until it is excreted through urine.
Studies show that xylitol have more calories as compared to erythritol which has almost no calories. For that reason it is true that those people who consume xylitol are more likely to gain weight as compared to those who take erythritol for a long time.
Xylitol is poisonous to animals, especially dogs. Study has shown that erythritol does not harm animals even when feed large amounts for a long time.
Erythritol is sweeter than xylitol. When it comes to dental caries, erythritol is more protective than both xylitol and sorbitol.
Studies show that Erythritol is a great antioxidant while xylitol is not an antioxidant.
There are people who love to eat something sweet all the time. Honey contains calories which may cause weight gain. Erythritol have no calories and no aftertaste. It is therefore ideal to take in small amounts.
Everything when taken in large amount is harmful to the body. It is therefore important to read the direction of use in the label of any product before using it. Xylitol is the answer to oral health. If you want to have oral health you must use products which have xylitol or other sugar alcohols. It is true that xylitol have several side effect just like all other products. When taken in the right dose xylitol is very helpful to those people with oral health problems and the ones who are diabetic.