What is Xylitol

What is Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. It has the formula CH2OH(CHOH)3CH2OH. Xylitol is categorized as polyalcohol or sugar alcohol, and it has some dental benefits in that it reduces cavities. One gram of xylitol contains 2.43 kilocalories (kcal), as compared to one gram of sugar, which has 3.87 kcal. Xylitol has virtually no aftertaste. Xylitol’s lower effect on blood sugar is a function of its glycemic index(GI); xylitol’s GI is 7, compared 100 for glucose. Xylitol contains zero fructose and has negligible effects on blood sugar and insulin. Therefore, none of the harmful effects of sugar (like diabetes) apply to xylitol. xylitolXylitol has no known toxicity in humans, however, some report heart palpitations after consuming it. In one study, participants consumed a monthly average of 1.5 kg of xylitol with a maximum daily intake of 430 g with no apparent ill effects. Like most sugar alcohols, xylitol has a laxative effect because sugar alcohols are not fully broken down during digestion; however, the effect varies from person to person. In one study of 13 children, four experienced diarrhea from xylitol’s laxative effect when they ate more than 65 grams per day. Studies have reported that adaptation occurs after several weeks of consumption. downloadAgain, Xylitol has some dental benefits in that it reduces cavities. Bacteria feed on glucose from food, but they can not use xylitol. Replacing sugar with xylitol, therefore, reduces the available fuel for the harmful bacteria.But the effects of xylitol go beyond that. Even though the bad bacteria can not use xylitol for fuel, they still ingest it. When the bacteria are full of xylitol, they are unable to take up glucose, so essentially their energy producing pathway is “clogged” and they end up dying. In other words, when you chew gum with xylitol (or use it as a sweetener), the sugar metabolism in the bacteria is blocked and they literally starve to death. In one study, using xylitol-sweetened chewing gum reduced levels of the bad bacteria by 27-75%, while it had no effect on the friendly bacteria. Xylitol could also starve (kill) the bacteria in ear infections which occurs often to children. This could decrease the infection rate by 40%. However, Xylitol is very toxic to dogs. When dogs eat xylitol, their bodies mistakenly think that they’ve ingested glucose and start producing large amounts of insulin. When this happen, the dog’s cells start taking up glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) and be fatal. Xylitol may also have detrimental effects on liver function in dogs, with high doses causing liver failure. But even when your dog only eats 0.1 grams of Xylitol, your dog could still get sick. Again, Xylitol chewing gum can prevent tooth decay.imagesLearn more about Xylitol at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol

More sources: https://authoritynutrition.com/xylitol-101/

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