Customers have been asking us about a “new” sweetener called xylitol.
In fact, although there’s been recent excitement about this sweetener, xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that has been known since the late 1800s and has been produced commercially since war-time sugar shortages in Finland made its manufacture from birch trees a practical alternative.
Xylitol occurs naturally in many plants that we eat every day. Sources such as berries, mushrooms and lettuce are more practical for most of us than “industrial” sources such as hardwoods and corncobs. It also occurs naturally in us – our bodies produce xylitol from other foods as a normal part of everyday metabolism.
Xyltiol is easy to use because it looks and tastes like sugar and can be substituted measure for measure. Its advantage lies in its low glycemic index – it is metabolized independently of insulin and does not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. This makes xylitol a sweetener well-suited for sugar-free and diabetic diets.
Also in its favour is a demonstrated ability to reduce, arrest and in some cases even reverse dental decay. Studies are also indicating an anti-bacterial effect that may help to reduce ear infections. Look for xylitol-sweetened candies and chewing gum at Foodstuffs.
Google-search “xylitol” and “xylitol recipes” for further information… and sweeten up!