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Xylitol (Birch Sugar) is a natural sweetener that is a he althy alternative to sugar. In contrast, xylitol contains as much as 40 percent. less calories and has a much lower glycemic index, which is why it is recommended primarily to diabetics and people who are slimming. Check what other properties xylitol has.

What is xylitol?

Xylitol (birch sugar)is a sweetener of natural origin, which, next to sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol and m altitol, belongs to the group of polyols, or "sugar alcohols" - carbohydrates characterized by low energy value and the fact that they do not raise blood glucose levels.

Suchproperties of xylitolmake it recommended especially for diabetics and people struggling with overweight.

Xylitol: occurrence. What does xylitol taste like?

Xylitol is most often obtained from the bark of Finnish birch, although it is also found in:

  • some fruit:
    • strawberries,
    • blueberries,
    • raspberries,
    • plums,
    • pears),
  • corn on the cob
  • mushrooms.

It is worth knowing that the human body also produces xylitol in small amounts.

Birch sugar looks and tastes just like traditional sugar. In addition, when using it, you can additionally feel a very pleasant, minty aroma. Xylitol can be found in many products.

It is most often sold as caramelized sugar, although you can also find xylitol chewing gums, mints, toothpaste and nasal sprays.

Xylitol: glycemic index

Xylitol belongs to the group of polyols. These are carbohydrates that are absorbed more slowly in the gastrointestinal tract, and their metabolism is practically independent of insulin (or with little insulin input), i.e. they do not cause an increase in blood glucose and do not stimulate insulin secretion.

Therefore, the glycemic index of xylitol (IG=8) is several times lower than that of sugar. And the lower the GI, the lower the blood sugar level. For this reason, xylitol is recommended for diabetics, people with impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.

Xylitol: calories

This natural sweetener is perfect for those struggling withoverweight and obese. Birch sugar contains almost 2 times less calories than sugar - it provides an average of 2.4 kcal / g, compared to regular sugar, which provides 4 kcal / g. In addition, it reduces the craving for sweets.


Xylitol (birch sugar) ideal for baking

Xylitol is perfect for all kinds of fruit cakes and preserves because it is resistant to high temperatures and does not lose its natural properties.

Is xylitol he althy?

Xylitol and osteoporosis

Xylitol increases mineralization, i.e. the absorption of calcium by bones, thus restoring bone density lost with age.

For this reason, it is recommended not only to people diagnosed with osteoporosis, but also to children (but only from the age of 3) whose skeletal system is just being shaped.

It is worth knowing that traditional sugar has the opposite effect - it "flushes" mineral s alts out of the body, including calcium.

Xylitol against caries and other dental diseases

The researchers, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, also found that xylitol helps prevent tooth decay and other dental diseases.

Birch sugar quickly restores the correct pH of the saliva, reducing the time of exposure of the teeth to harmful acids. In addition, it inhibits the reproduction of bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay.

This thesis is supported by researchers at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, who state that "xylitol clearly reduces the number of dental cases."

Therefore, children, instead of sugar, which causes tooth decay (as well as periodontitis), it is better to give this natural sweetener. Some people recommend that you mix xylitol with your saliva and rinse your mouth with it before swallowing it. Others make aqueous solutions of it as rinses (not only for the mouth, but also for the throat).

Xylitol supports the body's immunity

Xylitol, unlike sugar, is alkaline, and therefore stabilizes the acid-base balance of the body, and thus - inhibits the growth of bacteria and yeasts.

For this reason, xylitol is recommended for people struggling with bacterial diseases and mycosis, who should give up sugar, because it only "feeds" the bacteria and promotes the growth of fungi.

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Author: Time S.A

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Can xylitol be harmful?

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) researchers concluded that xylitol has no known toxicological properties. A similar opinion is expressed by the Committee of Experts on Food Additives of the World He alth Organization (WHO), which even concluded that there is no daily limit of consumption.

However, you shouldn't overdo it with the amount of xylitol you eat. Its excess in the diet can lead to:

  • excessive gas build-up in the intestines,
  • light diarrhea
  • or contractions.

Fortunately, this is a temporary action, and the body gets used to its increased doses in daily food very quickly.

It is worth knowing that on the packaging of products in which the content of xylitol (and other polyols) exceeds 10 percent. weight of the product, the producer is required to provide information that excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.

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