Monday, January 3, 2011

eXcited About Xylitol

Why are we not hearing more about Xylitol?  It has tremendous dental benefits, including preventing tooth decay and plaque buildup, and repairing enamel damage.  I have been using toothpaste with xylitol for a few years, but I truly didn't know it was this significantly beneficial until I did some research.   In addition to dental benefits, it also heals and repairs the body, unlike sugar which causes problems in the body.  It also builds immunity, protects against chronic disease, and has anti-aging benefits.

Benefits of Xylitol

  • Delicious sweet taste... with no unpleasant aftertaste
  • Helps reduce the development of dental caries
  • Reduces plaque formation
  • Increases salivary flow to aid in the repair of damaged tooth enamel
  • Provides one third fewer calories than sugar
  • May be useful as a sugar alternative for people with diabetes (on the advice of their healthcare providers)

Here are some excerpts from a great site I found while researching.  For the full story, however, I recommend checking out the site at  There is a page of great articles here and a page with product recommendations here.

Medical Benefits - Like sugar, except good for you

Although xylitol tastes and looks exactly like sugar, that is where the similarities end. Xylitol is like sugar, except good for you. While sugar wreaks havoc on the body, xylitol heals and repairs. It also builds immunity, protects against chronic disease and has anti-aging benefits.

 Xylitol has been used as a sweetener in foods since the 1960's.

Xylitol is only slowly absorbed and partially utilized; therefore a reduced calorie claim is allowed: 2.4 calories per gram or 40% less than other carbohydrates. In addition, the body does not require insulin to metabolize xylitol, which has made it a widely used sweetener for the diabetic diet in some countries. In the U.S., xylitol is approved as a food additive in unlimited quantity for foods with special dietary purposes.  

Xylitol has also been shown to provide nasal relief.

The addition of precise amounts of xylitol to saline nasal spray has been shown to make it more effective in moisturizing and clearing the nasal passages. Xylitol helps prevent bacteria from adhering and helps the body’s natural cleansing processes to clear away these harmful bacteria, reducing the risk of infection. In addition, research has shown other medical benefits of xylitol due to its effect on many types of bacteria.   Read more here.

Dental Benefits - The Xylitol difference for teeth

Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars we eat. When you eat food containing ordinary sugar (sucrose), it gives bacteria on your teeth energy, allowing them to multiply and start making acids that can eat away the enamel on the teeth. This "acid attack" causes tooth decay and cavities to begin to form.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. It does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. This is how it protects the teeth from tooth decay. With Xylitol, the acid attack that would otherwise last for over half an hour is stopped. Most people are not aware of this benefit because such a claim makes xylitol into a drug, crossing a boundary not allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.


Less bacteria, less acid – healthier teeth!

Because the bacteria in the mouth that are causing cavities are unable to digest xylitol, their growth is greatly reduced. The number of acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90%. No acid is formed because the pH of saliva and plaque does not fall. After taking xylitol, the bacteria do not stick well on the surface of the teeth and as a result, the amount of plaque decreases.

Repairing damaged enamel

Research has shown that the use of xylitol also helps repair damage to the enamel. Saliva in itself protects the mouth and teeth. Stimulated saliva in particular contains all the components needed to repair early cavities. If sugar is only taken a couple of times a day, the saliva can do the job alone. But most people take sugar so often that the mouth's own defensive tools are not enough.

Saliva that has xylitol is more alkaline than saliva stimulated by other sugar products. After taking xylitol products, the concentration of basic amino acids and ammonia in saliva and plaque may rise, and plaque pH rises as well. When pH is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in saliva start to move into those parts of enamel that are weak. Therefore, soft, calcium-deficient enamel sites begin to harden again.
While reversing a rising trend of negative health and high health-care costs won't happen overnight, improving your own health can begin sooner than later, and xylitol can have a significant influence on that trend.

Nutritional Benefits - How can we combat the sugar epidemic?

The dangers of sugars and refined carbohydrates in the diet have been well documented. Excess consumption of sugar can cause hypoglycemia and weight gain, leading to diabetes and obesity. Sugar also raises blood pressure, triglycerides and bad cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease. Children who consume excess sugar have difficulty concentrating and learning. And that’s just scraping the surface of the havoc sugar causes on our systems!

Considering Americans consume an estimated whopping 68.5 pounds of sugar per person, per year, the nutritional need for a safe, natural sweetener that tastes great and does not lead to health problems is more critical than ever. That sweetener is xylitol!

The "sugar" that won't wreck your body

While Xylitol is just as sweet as table sugar (sucrose), it has about 40% fewer calories and 75% fewer carbohydrates. That in itself can make a big impact on your waistline! Importantly, xylitol is slowly absorbed and metabolized, resulting in very negligible changes in insulin. Xylitol therefore won’t raise your blood sugar like regular sugar, which puts tremendous strain on your system, causing negative health effects.

A healthy choice for many diabetics

Thanks to its insulin-independent nature, xylitol has been used in Germany, Switzerland, Russia and Japan as a preferred sweetener for diabetic diets since the 1960’s. If you do have diabetes, however, it’s important to consult your doctor or diet professional before incorporating xylitol into your daily diet.

A sweet choice for many recipes

Xylitol products are readily available for use in cooking and baking. Xylitol won’t break down with heat like some other sweeteners, so it’s the perfect choice for just about any recipe that calls for sugar. Converting your recipes couldn’t be easier –since xylitol has the same sweetness as sugar, simply use the same amount (1:1)!

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