What is Xylitol?
Xylitol takes its name from the Greek word Xylo, meaning wood; it is a sugar alcohol derived from D-Xylose and used as healthier alternative to sugar in the food industry. Xylitol has about the same sweetness of regular table sugar (sucrose) with about 40% less calories. Having a refreshingly sweet taste, it is commonly used in chewing gum, mouthwashes and toothpastes.
- Dental Hygiene, Plaque, Mouth Ulcers & Gum Disease, Sensitive & Demineralised Teeth. When bacteria in your mouth break down the carbohydrates you consume, your saliva's pH becomes more acidic, weakening your tooth enamel by demineralisation. Xylitol does not lower the pH of saliva, and is not metabolised by cavity causing bacteria. Taken over 2 weeks, it has been shown to reverse the process of early cavities and reduce dental plaque.
- Bone Density, Osteoporosis & Joint Problems. A 2001 study was undertaken to determine whether a long term Xylitol diet prevented bone loss during aging, concluded a supplementation leads to increased bone volume and mineral content.
- Throat Infections, Sore Throats & Streptococcal Infections, Strep Throat. Taken regularly, over a period of 6 months, and in the absence of fructose, Xylitol inhibits the growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae and reduces the adherence of other pathogens to epithelial cells lining the inside of the mouth.
- Ear Aches, Middle Ear Infection, Acute Otitis Media. A double blind randomised trial of 306 children conducted by the Department of Paediatrics, University of Oulu, Finland, concluded chewing gum with Xylitol, rather than regular sugar (sucrose) seemed to be an effective preventative of Acute Otitis Media. Xylitol reduced the number of ear aches and infections by 40% by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the Eustachian tubes, and clearing the middle ear of excess earwax via the mechanical acts of chewing and swallowing. As already stated, Xylitol is only effective as an inhibitor of bacteria growth in the absence of fructose. [Source]
Are sugar alcohols intoxicating?
2D Molecular Structure of Xylitol
Xylitol is neither a sugar nor an alcohol. It has a chemical structure that resembles both sugar and alcohol, giving it the name of sugar alcohol, but isn't completely absorbed as regular table sugar is, and won't intoxicate you like beer or spirits do. As Xylitol is only partially absorbed by the digestive process, you gain fewer calories (energy) and your blood sugar levels increase less than they would when ingesting regular sugar.
Will Xylitol make me gain weight?
In a 2011 review of xylitol's health claims, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) accepted the claim that xylitol has a lesser effect on blood sugar levels than sugar, due to its slow absorption rate. This means it could help people with impaired glucose tolerance, which is a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This would suggest it may help with managing weight.
At a minimum of 2.4 calories per gram, Xylose contains about 40% less calories than regular table sugar which contains 3.87 calories per gram. With a sweetness equal to sucrose, and a lower impact on blood sugar and insulin secretion, Xylose is widely used as a healthier alternative by diabetics. Both Xylose and Xylitol have important uses as sweeteners for diabetics. Despite Xylose being a stereoisomer of glucose, only glucose provokes an insulin response, and thus ingestion of xylose as a substitute has obvious benefits. Diabetics should monitor blood-sugar levels and use within dietary allowances if known.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded Xylitol is safe and effective when used as a food supplement and is generally well tolerated. Xylitol is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). Xylitol is also approved as a food additive in the EU as in many other jurisdictions. When consumed in excessive amounts, in excess of 50 grams per day, it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, gas and diarrhoea.
At Sweet Cures , Xylitol is sold as a dietary supplement with the trademark registered name of Xylotene . It is a product that has gained recognition worldwide since 2003. Sweet Cures is committed to exploiting the natural role Xylitol plays in supporting healthy teeth and bones, without the use of chemicals.