Friday, January 1, 2010

Great sugar substitute -- Xylitol

If I had my way, xylitol would soon replace good ole' white sugar -- for everything!

Xylitol tastes sweet like sugar, dissolves like sugar, and seems to be (so far) the perfect replacement for sugar. I've been baking with it, use it in coffee, puddings, baking, and cannot tell the difference at all. Except that I use about 1/4 as much as sugar, and it tastes great!

Xylitol occurs naturally, in fruits for example, and also is an intermediate step when we metabolize regular sugar. Not exactly new, it was first made about 100 years ago and was used during WWII when sugar was in short supply. It used to be made from tree bark (i.e., birch) but is also now made from non-GMO corn.

One of the big problems with regular sugar -- sucrose --is that it's broken down quickly in the body with a huge increase in blood sugar and therefore insulin. The insulin has to then do something with all the blood sugar and regulate it so it doesn't overload everything -- especially the brain. Mostly, that much sugar is not needed all at once, so it's siphoned off to fat storage. So goes an insulin spike.

Xylitol is being used for diabetics, and here's why. Only one-third of it gets changed into blood sugar -- it gets metabolized much more slowly. So there is no huge insulin spike. Hence, diabetics can eat it without having to take extra insulin.

The other two-thirds of xylitol make it to the colon to be absorbed. It apparently has a candida-killing ability, which I find attractive!

It's also used for dental health, known for bacteria-killing abilities. I've read quite a few studies that showed regular xylitol use (daily) decreased cavities substantially. You'll find xylitol in chewing gum, mouthwash, baby wipes, and a whole assortment of interesting products.

The only downside, which I see as an upside, is xylitol is more costly than regular sugar. But to me, this is merely an incentive to use less of it. I buy it online at for about $6 a pound.

Note: xylitol is harmful for dogs, so don't feed it to pets.


  1. What is xylitol made from? How much does a pound of it cost(not that it's not worth the health value)?

  2. Xylitol is made from corn. I'll post more about this soon. It's a bit expensive actually, but all the more reason to eat less "sweet" things. I order a pound from for about 6 dollars. It's 9 retail.