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What is Xylitol? The sugar alternative that's making me crazy

| On 08, Dec 2012

Who among us doesn’t want to stay slim or fit? None, right? That’s why weight loss programs are fads. But, what more fad are the shortcuts that promises easy ways to lose weight. Some of them are supplements that burns fat, cheap machines that will just hurt your tummy and alternatives to food.

Sugar is a substance that is highly linked to gaining weight, that’s why, many are into alternatives in order to stay healthy. Now, my question is, when you took those “so-called” alternatives, are you really getting healthier? Or, in the long run getting poisoned?

In line with this, one of the most popular sugar substitute is the Xylitol. Let us now go deeper with this substance.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is an alcohol-based sweetener that is called “natural” by the manufacturers and some health experts. This is quite popular as this only contains 1/3 calories of an ordinary sugar and some health organization like the American Dietetic Association said that it can increase absorption of B Vitamins and calcium.

Some of the products that contains Xylitol are gums, softdrinks, mouthwash, toothpaste and many more. So, it pays to check the label.

How Xylitol is formed?

Xylitol is actually found in nature. A large number of fruits contains Xylitol, that’s why it’s dubbed as “natural”. But, in order to extract Xylitol, there is what we called acid hydrolyzing and in order to hydrogenate anything, a catalyst is needed, which is  a substance called Raney nickel can be used which is a powdered nickel-aluminium alloy.

So, let me say that there is a metal in Xylitol?

Despite no direct claims and scientific explanations that taking in hydrogenated sugar can toxify a body, there is also no scientific explanation that taking in such sugar will also do good.

Medical Applications

It’s clear that xylitol can help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in ear canal and sinus cavities from chewing a xylitol gum. There are also some claims that the presence of Xylitol in the body triggers the blood to produce white blood cells that may help in fighting bacteria.

Health Concerns and Revelations

There is a research revealed that a 100-gram rat will be killed by a 1.65  grams of Xylitol. The study also noted that a Xylitol gum contains .7-1 gram of the sugar, meaning two piece of gum can almost a hamster. It is claimed by some health gurus that  a human can consume 400 grams of Xylitol without getting harmed. Let’s check and analyze it, if a 1.65 grams of Xylitol harmed a 100-gram rat, what more a 400 grams of the sugar to humans?

Sarah Pope, the author of The Healthy Home Economist blog also quoted a book that reveals that there are no clear proofs about the epidemiology, effects and many more of Xylitol. Therefor, I concluded that there are no support about that claims that it’s scientifically proven safe.

Other known problems of Xylitol are seizures, stomach ache, gut imbalance and many more.

My Conclusion

It’s proven that Xylitol, because of it’s alcohol content can kill bacteria in body. Therefor, it can also do good something to you. Ok, yeah, medically. But, I will not going to recommend it as a food alternative or substitute.

If you wanted to lose weight lessen your calorie intake as a whole and don’t just easily replace food.  Instead of using white sugar, use brown sugar as it’s quite sweeter with lesser calories. But  if you are really opting to totally stay away from sugar, you can use honey, pure maple syrup or  the wonderful Stevia plant.

You should also remember that there’s no such thing as easy way to control weight. There can be a shortcut, but it will never become easy. We should work our a** out in order to achieve something, come on hit the gym. Remember: No pain, no gain.

Learn more the author of this post:

I am Ringo and allow me to say not an ordinary man. I've been working home base since 2009 and as of now, has no plans of returning to corporate. Web designer. Frustrated chef. Foodie. Good son (ehem!). Good father (to two labrador retrievers). And, a servant of God.


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