There are many healthy alternatives for replacing sugar in your diet. Added sugar in your diet is unhealthy and may cause many chronic diseases.
One of the natural sweeteners is Xylitol.
Xylitol is similar to sugar in appearance, however it has many benefits like fewer calories and dental health benefits.
This article overlooks xylitol and its health benefits.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is obtained from a birch tree. It is also found in many fruits and vegetables. It can be processed from a plant fiber called xylan.
It is widely used in sugar-free food items like chewing gum, candy, mints, diabetes-friendly foods and dental products.
Xylitol is like a sugar alcohol, but doesn’t have addictive nature of alcohol. Chemically sugar is combined of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules.
It has similar sweetness to sugar but has 40% less calories. Table sugar contains 4 calories per gram whereas Xylitol has 2.4 calories per gram.
Appearance is similar to sugar: white, crystalline powder. It doesn’t have any vitamins or nutrition or fructose.
Stabilisation of blood sugar level with Xylitol
Firstly Xylitol has low glycemic index, meaning that it does not raise blood sugar levels or spike insulin levels.
Because xylitol does not have any fructose, it does not cause insulin resistance.
Xylitol’s glycemic index is 7, compared to normal sugar that has ten times more.
A glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates in food raise blood sugar levels. Foods that are high on the glycemic index cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, while foods that are low on the glycemic index cause a slower, more gradual increase in blood sugar levels.
Xylitol has a very low glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels like regular sugar does. This is because xylitol is absorbed more slowly by the body than sugar, which means it causes a slower, more gradual increase in blood sugar levels. This makes it a good alternative to sugar for people who are looking to manage their blood sugar levels or who have diabetes.
Xylitol helps with weight loss
Secondly, it may help with weight loss due to 40% less calories compared to normal sugar.
It has been recommended for people that struggle weight gain and for people with diabetes. Xylitol can improve the symptoms of diabetes (spikes in blood sugar levels, insulin resistance).
The low glycemic index of xylitol also makes it a good sweetener option for people who are trying to lose weight. Consuming foods with a high glycemic index can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, which can trigger cravings and hunger pangs. This can make it difficult to stick to a calorie-restricted diet.
In contrast, consuming foods with a low glycemic index can help to keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce hunger, which can make it easier to stick to a healthy diet.
Xylitol advances dental health
Thirdly, many dental professionals recommend using products made of xylitol due to its amazing effectiveness in treating tooth decay.
Plaque in a tooth is caused by an oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. Excess plaque stimulates immune system to react and causes inflammation and infection in the gum area.
Xylitol has been shown to have a positive effect on dental health. It can help prevent tooth decay by inhibiting the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities, and it also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize acids in the mouth.
Xylitol stimulates the production of saliva in the mouth, which helps to neutralize acids and protect teeth from decay. Saliva also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate, which can help to remineralize and strengthen tooth enamel.
Xylitol can also inhibit the growth of the bacteria that cause gum disease, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis. This is important because gum disease can lead to inflammation, tooth loss, and other health problems.
Chewing xylitol gum can help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, reduce plaque formation, and stimulate saliva production, all of which can help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease and freshens the mouth and breath.
Practical Tips for using Xylitol
- A crystallised powder can be used in baking the same ratio like sugar (1:1)
- Adjust liquid proportions: Xylitol doesn’t dissolve as easily as sugar, so you may need to adjust the liquid ingredients in your recipe. You may need to add a little extra liquid to the recipe.
- May cause laxative effects if used in large quantities
- Can be used in combination with other sweeteners like Stevia to perfect the desired sweetness