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Sugar is one of the unhealthiest things you can put into your body, yet one of the most popular items that people use and cook with daily. For that reason, everyone seems to always be looking for the next healthiest sugar substitute. This is where xylitol comes in. Xylitol tastes like sugar, but it definitely is not the same as its unhealthy counterpart. Here’s the low down on this new and improved sweetener.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol- don’t worry, there’s not actually any alcohol in it- or a carb that’s commonly used as a sweetener. Xylitol occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables in a granular state which means it looks just like sugar. It is mostly found in birch trees or corncobs and this is where it is typically extracted from. Xylitol is just as sweet as sugar but contains almost half the calories that sugar does. It is commonly used as a sugar replacement and is known to have many health benefits.
Adding xylitol to your coffee or cooking recipes can take the toxic out of things that taste so good. Aside from tasting amazing and kicking sugar to the curb, it has also proven to be effective in the following areas:
As opposed to sugar which is full of high fructose corn syrup that can dramatically increase blood sugar and insulin levels, xylitol contains no fructose whatsoever and has an incredibly low glycemic index (calculator of how fast a food raises your blood sugar levels). This means that xylitol is a great sugar substitute for those with diabetes or metabolic issues because it doesn’t raise insulin or blood sugar levels once consumed.
Xylitol is able to fight off harmful bacteria in the mouth than can lead to serious ear infections. These bacteria tend to hide behind the ear drum and cause major ear aches if not caught in time. By chewing xylitol gum or candy, you can get rid of the bacteria before it transfers to your ears.
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If you ever take a look at the ingredients in your mouth care products, you’ll find that xylitol is a common ingredient. This is because xylitol is able to attack bacteria and prevent tooth decay that comes from the development of plaque buildup which breaks down your teeth’s enamel. If not treated, this plaque buildup can lead to severe tooth decay and even gum disease. By adding xylitol to your daily routine and cutting out sugar, you can significantly protect your teeth’s overall health.
There have been no proven harmful effects of xylitol on humans, but if you consume too much at once it might cause you to use the restroom frequently.
Unfortunately, xylitol is lethal to dogs. Their bodies cannot process it correctly and if consumed it can cause liver failure, hypoglycemia, low blood sugar levels, and death. It’s best to make sure that if you cook with xylitol to not give your dog any of the food you prepare and be cautious about the foods you buy with xylitol in them. The sugar substitute is commonly found in peanut butters, a common treat or medicine masker for dogs.
If you’re looking for a risk-free, healthier sweetener to add to your morning coffee, then it might be worth it to give xylitol a try. While many sweeteners contribute to health issues, xylitol acts as a health booster. Next time you’re in need of a sweetener, skip the sugar and reach for xylitol.